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Palos Community Hospital has been a fixture in the southwest suburbs of Chicago for over forty years. Jacobs/Ryan Associates was selected for various expansions at Palos Community Hospital, which have provided the opportunity to reimagine the site and landscape. While the hospital continued to grow, its image as a hospital in an oak forest was retained. Preserving continuity around the expansive site was integral to the project design to unify the hospital campus, and themes that developed over the years included preserving a naturalistic landscape and the use of limestone to blend the architecture of the building into the informal landscape.

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At the Ambulatory Building, Jacobs/Ryan Associates was given the challenge of mitigating a significant grade change to connect the parking lot to the building’s entrance. The landscape architects designed a dramatic entry stair and a series of switch back ramps separated by planting beds to soften the visual impact of the structure. The retaining walls for the ramp are clad with beige and russet tones of cultured stone, picking up hues of the masonry and concrete architecture, and naturalizing the massive facilities. A lush landscape flows around the new parking area and entry to the rest of the site, screening the ring road from the parking lot and adding drama to the approach.   JRA_Palos Community Hospital_Entry Drive
JRA_Palos Community Hospital_Entry Canopy   The most recent phase of the project included a multistory facility with an iconic main entrance, where a drop off area is sheltered by a dramatically contemporary canopy facing a line of Regal Prince Oaks that screen a multi-level parking garage. The canopy garden reflects the Regal Prince Oak formal planting of the garage and the arcade of columns with a marching row of upright oaks between the gardens and the canopy. Beyond this, informal gardens of new shade trees and understory plantings of hydrangea, yew, and azaleas are enhanced with ornamental grasses and perennials selected for low maintenance and seasonal interest. The entry garden provides seating, as well as offering a visual amenity from the administration offices of the hospital. The entire drop off and garden areas are paved with a dynamic combination of hardscape materials, including red pavers matching the entry drive and large slate gray tiles wending through the gardens. The new paving adds drama to the entry experience, with banding of complimentary tones to indicate traffic patterns and pedestrian crossings. New site furnishings complete the look, with additional seating opportunities provided with limestone clad, bench-height planter walls.
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Jacobs/Ryan Associates paid special attention to the opportunities that the site’s landscape could provide the occupants of the hospital. Hospitals can be stressful environments for staff, patients, and visitors, and informal gardens with curvilinear pathways provide restful spaces. At the same time, the landscape design takes elements of the architecture and incorporates contemporary furnishings to express the modern methods in practice at the new facilities. In this way, Jacobs/Ryan Associates has designed a landscape for a state of the art hospital that is still grounded in its natural locale.

Architect: Matthei & Colin Associates; Engineers: GRAEF

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  www.jacobsryan.com (p) 312.664.3217 / (f) 312.337.1550   1527 N. Sandburg Terrace, Chicago IL 60610