Vortices are a compelling phenomena of nature. Forming in liquids and gases through pressure and thermal gradients and influenced by gravity, mass and vibration. They are ubiquitous, fleeting and can seen in the heavens as solar systems and galaxies or on the surface of the Earth as hurricanes, typhoons and cyclones, tornadoes and whirlpools.
Healing Garden is a small but integral part of the Kaiser Permanente Los Angeles Medical Center Rebuild Project. The garden is enclosed within the hospital and open to the sky, it is quiet and accommodating, allowing for unassisted ambulatory and wheel chair access. The focal point of the garden is a small, shallow profile, circular fountain located within a sun-burst, outward radiating, paving pattern.
We were brought onto the Project by SmithGroup/JJR Architects to assist their design team with completing detailed design of the fountain along with providing suggestions and alternatives that would enhance the final design, without added cost burden. A shallow low mass vortex was the unanimous design solution which was replicated through conventional means, for no additional cost, and implemented with minimal encroachment on the hospital's existing infrastructure.
Negra vortex is a passive display that provides a unique visual and acoustic ambiance to the Healing Garden without overwhelming it. The system designed to create the vortex is simple and innovative. The rotation of the vortex is "clockwise" which is counter to the natural rotation that is seen in the Earth's northern hemisphere. This was done deliberately, so when flow is interrupted, to allow the vortex to rapidly slow, through friction aided by the Earth's counter rotation. Doing so, produces a "stagnate vortex" that allows the center eye to remain while the water drains out of the basin.