RMA Architects latest project, a new Cancer Care centre in North London was completed last month. RMA were first approached about the project two years ago by Chai Cancer Care, a unique charity who offer a range of support to Jewish cancer patients, their family and friends at all stages of their treatment.
Their brief was clear; they wanted to extend their existing range of facilities to provide a new outpatient clinic for patients, a calm and friendly environment to go to for blood transfusions and to visit their consultant. This new service would complement the services they already offer which range from physiotherapy and counselling to financial advice and allow a refreshing, holistic approach to the treatment of cancer.
As well as the outpatient clinic, Chai wanted flexible spaces to use for administration, volunteer training rooms and a new Art Room and Music Room to enable them to extend the type of therapies currently offered.
Chai's current facilities are spread across two, 3 storey late Victorian buildings with an adjoining third building currently not linked internally to their existing facility and not utilised by the charity. This empty building was to be the new facility; to do this RMA had to reconfigure a rundown series of small, dark and awkward rooms to provide accessibility to all floors which linked internally with the existing facilities.
A vision was developed through an innovative layout to pull natural light deep into the middle of the building with a new skylight and void which cut through the middle of the building, and relocated relocating the existing staircase. This allowed a new lift to be installed which connected all floors of the new and existing facility. Carefully considered openings were then punched into the existing blank gable wall to correspond with the new links into the existing facility allowing a connection to the outside.