The first prize winning proposal in the competition for a new cancer counseling center by EFFEKT, in collaboration with Hoffmann and Lyngkilde, is designed as a cluster of seven small houses around two green outdoor spaces. Each house has its own specific function and together they form a coherent sequence of different spaces and functions such as a library, kitchen, conversation rooms, lounge, shops, gym, and wellness facilities. More images and architects’ description after the break.
Located at Næstved hospital in Denmark, the house offers a wide range of different rooms for informal advice, therapy and interaction with a focus on the users’ comfort and wellbeing. A varying roof height and materials used means that the building will have its own unique architectural character that clearly distinguishes it from the surrounding hospital buildings. With the location of the cancer counseling centre close to the hospital’s cancer ward, it is set for a closer collaboration between hospital staff and the Danish Cancer Society.
Leif Vestergaard Pedersen, CEO of the Danish Cancer Society is excited about the new project, which architecturally has managed to strike a tone in which well-being and openness is at play. “The house will feel homely and comfortable and provide room for all forms of activities. The center will be located quite close to the hospital, this will make it easy for cancer patients and their relatives to come by for a cup of coffee and maybe a talk between treatments “says Leif Vestergaard Pedersen.
The simple but carefully laid out plan shows interlocking rooms that wrap around two central courtyards. The entire effect is calm and reflects the sensitive design of the ideas of healing architecture. Livsrum can be seen as redesign of a standard hospital environment. The residential scale buildings focus on the beneficial qualities of light, open spaces, privacy, and views of and access to outdoors. Although the buildings are designed by the ambitious architects at EFFEKT, the focus is on making nurturing spaces, not making huge design statements.
The Livsrum Centers are inspired by the Maggie’s Centers that are based on the belief that architecture can make people feel better and that innovative spaces can inspire. The Centers were founded by architect Maggie Keswick Jencks, who had firsthand experience of the depressing if not depleting qualities of typical treatment facilities, and her husband, architectural theorist Charles Jencks. Maggie Jencks died from cancer in 1995 and left a legacy of innovative buildings that offer places for patients to feel cared for and at ease. Charles Jenck’s book, The Architecture of Hope, presents his case for the impacts of architecture on healing.
These principles of healing architecture have been fundamental in the design of the project.The concept represents the vision that architecture affects human well-being, and that the architecture can therefore help to strengthen or promote the healing process in individuals.
The basic idea is not that architecture alone can heal, but that the architectural design in terms of daylight quality, the room’s mood, color, sound and the ability to be private and secure to support the healing that takes place both physically and psychologically.
Construction is scheduled to begin in August 2012. Already in the spring of 2013 the Danish Cancer Society staff and volunteers in Næstved expects to offer cancer patients and caregivers a warm welcome in the new cancer counseling center.