Sheltering Landscape Series - CODAworx

Sheltering Landscape Series

Submitted by rhiza A+D

Client: Oregon State Hospital

Location: Salem, OR, United States

Completion date: 2013

Artwork budget: $720,000

Project Team


Doug Macy

Walker Macy Landscape Architects


Ean Eldred

rhiza A+D


Located at the Historic Oregon State Hospital
Commissioned for the State of Oregon’s Hospital Replacement Project.
By rhiza A D, Salem, Oregon; 2010-2013.
Materials- Aluminum, Painted Steel, Stainless Steel, Concrete
Size – 13 total sculptures:
Earth – 15’h. X 15’w. X 13’d. – 3 sculptures
Treeleaf – 15’h. X 17’w. X 18’d. – 4 sculptures
Skytree – 16’h. X 12’w. X 16’d. – 6 sculptures


Sited within the secured courtyards of the Oregon State Hospital the sculptures act as frozen moments that recall the transforming nature of earth, sky and vegetation beyond. By echoing the surrounding landscape the sculptures soften and relieve the planar walls of the building. The sculptures become volumetric expressions of animate landscapes.

“Skytree” draws the layered depth and luminosity of the sky into the courtyards. “Earth” and “Treeleaf” imply a lifting of the landscape to form a habitable embracing space- think of childhood forts, blanket tents and tree houses. The undulating and layered roofs imply flowing movement and directionality within the contained spaces of the courtyards. Interior spaces rise to form arches and domes. The sculptures form sheltering spaces to protect patients from the sun and rain while they engage their outdoor surroundings on a tactile human scale. From upper patient windows, the sculptures appear to merge with the earth- becoming a place for contemplative respite.

This series maintains a strong reference to the “emotional grounding” offered by nature and landscape.


We worked closely with the hospitals administration, staff, patients and maintenance department throughout the design, fabrication and installation process. The design process was rigorously developed to meet the multiple psychiatric, safety and security needs of the facility. The Artwork was installed within the inner courtyards after the buildings completion. As a result each sculpture needed to be designed to break down into transportable sections that could pass through 3 foot wide by 7 foot high doorways. Once the individual pieces were moved into the courtyards the sculptures were erected by hand via scaffold and lift without the use of a crane.