The Gardens of Asclepius: How Nature Can Heal


Name: Melody Holland

Institution / Company: Kansas State University


–FINALIST of Re-Nature Rome Competition


The Gardens of Asclepius, located on The Tiber Island, seek to restore the island’s ancient associations with healing. By restoring biodiversity and beautifying the space, intimate spaces are created that support the mental health and wellbeing of visitors.

From the ancient temple built for the Greek god of healing Asclepius to a 16th-century hospital, Tiber Island has a centuries-long reputation of being synonymous with medicinal qualities. However, in the present day, the island is failing to create spaces that promote healing activities. The sheer vertical scale of the buildings on-site, as well as the overabundance of hardscape, creates a barren and disconnected space at the base of the island.

In an effort to reintroduce vegetation and increase human comfort, The Gardens of Asclepius utilizes water, vegetation, and vertical elements to create nature-filled spaces for healing. Visitors can inhabit the private spaces created by the pollinator gardens and interact with the tactile vegetative features. Water elements incorporated into the gardens invite visitors to touch and listen to the bubbling streams. Green walls and street trees create a canopy at a smaller vertical scale that provides a safe space for native species and humans alike.


#Ecosystem restoration #Beautification & Public Space #Support to mental health & stress reduction #Intimate spaces #Sense of belonging & Placemaking

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