Rendering of Alice L. Walton School of Medicine by OSD and Polk Stanley Wilcox
The healing power of nature is a universal human experience and has been embraced throughout history in the Gospel of John, by the Greek philosopher Hippocrates, and in several key texts in Eastern and New Age religions. It is one of the guiding principles of the architecture of Islamic hospital designs dating back to the 12th century and will serve as the key to the landscaping of the New York-based multidisciplinary studio OSD for the new Alice L. Walton School of Medicine. in Bentonville, Arkansas.
Scheduled to open in the fall of 2025, pending accreditation of the new school, the campus is to be connected to the Whole Health Institute building currently under construction by Marlon Blackwell and the nearby Crystal Bridges Museum of American Art, which has also been designed (in unison with Safdie Architects) around an uplifting naturalistic experience.
OSD will work with Little Rock-based principal architects Polk Stanley Wilcox to realize philanthropist Alice Walton’s vision to design a network of interconnecting hiking trails surrounding a new 154,000 square foot main university building in what Principal Wesley Walls called the latter “holistic.” link between mental, physical and spiritual well-being.
The school’s curriculum centers on balancing holistic and traditional approaches to medical education, and the OSD says its design will reflect this by incorporating a series of well-placed meditative gardens, outdoor classrooms, an urban agricultural land and a rooftop space that includes an amphitheater and café.
“Designing the Alice L. Walton School of Medicine landscape truly requires an integrative approach that considers nature’s experience, influence, and impact on mind, body, and spirit,” said said OSD Director Simon David of the task at hand. “The project offers an exciting new paradigm of healing and learning environments that holistically blends building and landscape to create a deeply rooted connection to the community of Bentonville, the world-class arts environment of Crystal Bridges and the wider ecosystem and the magic of the Ozarks. .”
The project is still in the design and development phase and hopes to begin construction in the spring of next year. In a recent project announcement, Walton finally said, “The School of Medicine is poised to be an inspiring learning environment that supports well-being, emphasizes innovation, and prepares future physicians to be agents of change.”