Monday, July 23, 2012

Cancer-Care Center Focuses On Architecture and Design

Modernist architecture's credo of "form follows function" is something surprisingly undervalued in the world of healthcare. Most hospitals and medical facilities generally function properly, having all the requisite equipment and machinery, but few have been updated to reflect the explosive focus on good design that we've seen in the past 15 years or so. You need not look any further than Apple to understand how influential and life-altering a well-designed product or system can be.

So when I read about the uber-cool patient care center created by London-based architecture firm CZWG for Maggie's Centres on the grounds of Nottingham City Hospital Campus I was not only blown away by the artful, whimsical aesthetic but the smart, considered approach to offering cancer patients and their families a relaxing and functional escape.

The project, completed in 2011, was spear-headed by CZWG partner Piers Gough who is known for his powerful, yet playful and imaginative style. The 360 sq. ft. building is surrounded by trees and nestled between the Oncology Department and the Breast Institute on the hospital's campus.

Gough describes the space as follows:
"The light, peaceful and non-institutional design of Maggie's Nottingham will be a sanctuary for all those who walk through the door. Sheltered by trees, the centre will be a homely, comfortable space next to the busy hospital, where anyone affected by cancer can come to relax. The centre is a safe space where visitors can engage with nature while being sheltered from the elements. From the outside the playful appearance will entice people to take a look through the door, once they do the harmony of light and space will create a uniquely welcoming environment."

Maggie's has always had an eye for great design and has previously commissioned work to other notable architects such as Zaha Hadid and Frank Gehry.

With interiors designed by British fashion powerhouse Sir Paul Smith, himself a Nottingham native, patients and their families are able to fix themselves a cup of tea in the large, open kitchen and take refuge in one of several private rooms decorated in Smith's happy and colorful signature style.


I'd love to see Graves collaborate on a project like this for Memorial Sloan Kettering in NYC with say, Donna Karan to create a sublimely zen environment or Marc Jacobs for something quirky and cool.  Then again Franciso Costa or Calvin Klein himself might be more along the lines of Graves' modernist aesthetic.

Think of the possibilities....

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