Case Studies

Wishingstone Garden – Boston Children’s Hospital

Project Team

The Children’s Hospital Corporation

Landscape Architect:

Mikyoung Kim Design

General Contractor:

Suffolk Construction Company Inc.


Shepley Bulfinch Richardson & Abbott


Xquisite Landscaping

Mechanical/Electrical Engineer:

Bard, Rao + Athanas

As part of a 2015 Master Plan developed by the Shepley Bulfinch architectural firm, Boston Children’s Hospital (BCH) began a multiple years-long effort to transform the facilities and grounds of its main campus in the Longwood Medical District. The transformation is intended to ensure the hospital continues providing world-class experiences for patients, caregivers and families amidst increasing demand and a growing number of complex cases.

The project’s centerpiece is the Hale Building: a new 11-story vertical hospital, most of which is built above an existing hospital, that offers the latest technology in daily care and significantly increases the number of patients who can be admitted. The building is connected to six levels of the existing facility to improve access and flow.

Wishingstone Garden - Boston Children's Hospital

The BCH transformation also includes 28,000 square feet of green spaces designed by the landscape architectural firm of Mikyoung Kim Design, including two outdoor gardens designed to promote the concepts of hope, freedom, play and contemplation. A third healing garden inside the Hale Building provides an indoor sanctuary for the most vulnerable patients.

One outdoor garden, the Rooftop Healing Garden, offers an 8,000-square-foot refuge atop the 11th floor of the Hale Building. Completed in 2018 and surrounded by the Boston skyline with harbor views beyond, the space provides lush landscaping, a knoll for children to play and an array of seating options.

The second and largest of the hospital’s new outdoor green spaces is Wishingstone Garden, located on the ground level next to the Hale Building and completed in summer 2023. The garden includes one main area and two smaller areas that branch from the main, occupying a total of 16,312 square feet.

Wishingstone Garden - Boston Children's Hospital

Coldspring was awarded this project due to the company’s extensive stone resources and reputation for performing complex fabrication work. BCH and Coldspring have also partnered successfully on other high-profile projects in the past, including a 1,200 square-foot main entrance signage wall completed in 2017. Composed of Mesabi Black® granite and featuring an intricately sandblasted design of overlapping animals and foliage, the project won a prestigious Pinnacle Award from the National Stone Institute the same year it was completed.

Inspired by the bedrock located underneath the hospital site, Wishingstone Garden features curving benches and planter walls with striations of colors to simulate geological layering. A combination of Echo Lake® and Golden Brasil textured granite is used for the walls. Textured Echo Lake®, Sierra White® and Charcoal Black® granite are incorporated into the benches. The walls house 26 different species of plants for an immersive and relaxing sensory experience. Terraced lawn areas throughout the garden help to encourage active play.

Coldspring also custom-sculpted a lion, bear, elephant and turtle from Silver Cloud® granite — each 18 inches to two feet in length — for placement among the vegetation. A total of 21 wildlife and “fossil” art installations adorn the garden to spark imaginations and invite conversation.

Along with the feature pieces, Coldspring fabricated and supplied the walkway paving and curbs. The walkways and curb were all fabricated using Silver Cloud, Echo Lake® and Golden Brasil granite in a textured finish. The walkways cover approximately 3,450 square feet and the curb covers approximately 415 lineal feet.

Creating such a unique outdoor space in a dense urban setting presented numerous challenges. The highly fluid geometries of the benches and planter wall required CNC fabrication in cubic formats to form the individual pieces. All the pieces would have to fit together seamlessly to resemble geological layering, so absolute precision was required to translate the overall concept into a workable 3D model for CNC engraving. Tolerances were extremely tight with every cut made.

Wishingstone Garden - Boston Children's HospitalThe animal carvings involved complex geometries of their own. Each piece was rough-shaped via water jet processing on an OMAG machine before being hand-finished by an experienced Coldspring stonecutter.

Coldspring’s ability to share 3D models was instrumental to keeping the BCH team involved and helping them visualize how the final installation would come together. It also made it easy to ensure that all pieces produced would meet the size restrictions for delivery to the site.

The sheer weight of the large stone pieces posed another challenge, which was overcome by carving out hollow areas in the pieces during CNC fabrication whenever possible, as well as by specifying the thinnest stone cladding for certain pieces. Since the granite benches would sit atop an existing structure, their weight was reduced by removing stone from the underside of the pieces and setting it on a metal framework.

With the availability of abundant green space throughout its campus, Boston Children’s Hospital has elevated its quality of care in another essential way: by giving people more places to reflect, connect and find peace during a trying time in their lives. Wishingstone Garden and the other healing gardens will provide a welcoming oasis to all who visit for many years to come.

Photo Credit: Patrick Rodgers

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