EFFEKT's prize-winning cancer facility design takes inspiration from The Architecture of Hope
Livsrum is EFFEKT's first prize project in the competition for a new cancer counseling centre at Næstved hospital in Denmark in collaboration with Hoffman and Lyngkilde. The centre 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.
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.
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 centre.
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 wellbeing and openness is at play: "The house will feel homely and comfortable and provide room for all forms of activities. The centre 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." Hans Peter Svendler, director of Realdania explains: "The winning project shows a very compelling vision of how a counseling centre can be arranged and we look forward to seeing the finished house."
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 Centres are inspired by the Maggie’s Centres that are based on the belief that architecture can make people feel better and that innovative spaces can inspire. The Centres 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.