Fircrest School, a full-service therapeutic community located in the city of Shoreline, is the only state run Residential Care Facility located in the Puget Sound. The Fircrest Healing Garden is adjacent to Fircrest’s nursing home program, which provides care for residents of Washington State with severe developmental and medical challenges. The design of this garden focused on providing accessible garden space for wheelchair users, incorporating sweeping paths with subtle changes in the color of the concrete from one end to the other, as well as pebbles and inlayed leaf patterns in the path bringing users from one end of the garden and back again in an infinite loop of sensory experiences. The garden serves the whole campus including friends and family of clients, the surrounding community, and most importantly the clients, who include the more independent south campus residents and the severely disabled residents of the Y-buildings and is used as the preferred passage between the upper and lower campus and a place for staff to enjoy on a sunny day. Large copper wind chimes reflect the sculptural rail of the bridge giving the garden a consistent language and providing multi-sensory activation for residents. Mosaics, adapted from drawings by some of the patients, provide a colorful touch to CMU garden walls and engraved bricks tell the history of the site. The interactive planting design includes texture and color through non-toxic foliage and flowers, and there are now edibles distributed throughout the garden.
The healing garden was designed and built as a combined effort between the UW Department of Landscape Architecture and Art Department; Audrey participated as a design/build team member in this project.