David Rubin, principal of the landscape architecture and urban design studio LAND COLLECTIVE, was lead designer for the project, continuing a long relationship with Eskenazi Health that began in 2009, when he was equity Partner at Olin. The plaza includes a trellis structure and café designed by architects Diller, Scofidio, + Renfro and two fountains done in collaboration with Jim Garland of Fluidity Design Consultants. The Commonground is the final phase of a 1.3-million square foot expansion to the hospital which was completed in early 2013 by architects HOK.
Rubin’s design of The Commonground embodies LAND COLLECTIVE’s ethos of empathy-driven design and Eskenazi Health’s commitment and pride in its services to all people—regardless of social or economic standing. On any given day at any given time, the place with the most diversity in the entire city of Indianapolis is the Eskenazi Health campus.
At the opening ceremony, Rubin said of the plaza: “Here, pedagogy and social purpose are integrally woven together. The Commonground models a philosophy that landscape is a democratic environment in which everyone has an opportunity to participate. It is designed to support the ethos of Eskenazi Health and the diverse population of the city it serves in a physically and philosophically meaningful way.”
The Commonground is just over an acre large and located adjacent to a historic Olmsted Brothers’ landscape which is part of Indiana University-Purdue University Indianapolis. As part of the design guidelines which Rubin developed for the entirety of the Hospital Campus, a new Wellness Trail helps connect the new hospital to its community and the City’s cultural amenities and developing Cultural Trail. The new campus, including the plaza and facility expansion by HOK, is now on track to become the first LEED® Silver certified hospital campus in the country.