Cancer Support Meets World-class Design
The promise of empowering the patient and his or her personal support network within the healthcare setting is more than just a selling point for the healthcare design industry—with the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act, it’s a mandate to everyone who makes a living in the health universe. We’re all eager to see and learn from facilities that get high marks on this front already, especially (in our case) when the built environment provides a particularly positive and healing backdrop.
For a lovely example of an organization that’s taken this promise to heart for almost two decades, we can look to the U.K.’s Maggie’s Centres. Maggie Keswick Jencks, with her husband Charles Jencks, conceived of an atmosphere where cancer patients like her would not have to “lose the joy of living in the fear of dying.” The first facility opened in 1996, one year after Maggie Jencks’ death, in Edinburgh, Scotland—a charming, cottage-like structure designed by Richard Murphy and featuring traditional Scottish stonework alongside more modern architectural touches. There are now 17 Maggie’s Centres and counting, all built on the grounds of cancer hospitals and designed to provide free informational, emotional, and social support to cancer patients and their loved ones. They’ve been designed by such luminaries as Frank Gehry, Rem Koolhaas, Steven Holl, and Zaha Hadid.
Beginning next week (on March 7) and running through April 25, New York School of Interior Design (NYSID) will present an exhibition titled “Maggie’s Centres: A Blueprint for Cancer Care” at its gallery in Manhattan. The show will focus on five of the facilities, demonstrating “how each one combines aspects of practical, emotional, and social support that are often separated into a single hybrid building type; a space that is part-hospital, part-church, part-museum, and part-home,” according to NYSID.
Click on the photo above to cycle through images of the beautiful centres that will be discussed in depth during the exhibition. (I personally can't stop looking at the serene, green Maggie's Gartnavel, designed by Rem Koolhaas.) For more information on the show in general, click here.