Hospitals can often be bleak settings, awash in florescent lighting and beige hues that do little to bolster the mission of healing and recovery. However, Maggie’s Centre— an organization that provides free support and services for people living with cancer and their families—has made great strides in elevating the healthcare environment (and experience) through design, making it an uplifting, welcoming, and aesthetically-pleasing place to heal. This has been accomplished by tapping some of the most well-known talent in the field—Zaha Hadid, Frank Gehry, Snohetta, Norman Foster, Rem Koolhaas, and Richard Rogers—to design centers at NHS cancer hospitals, which boasts 18 facilities and several more in the process of being built. Now Heatherwick Studio is on board with a garden-inspired center on the campus of St. James’s Institute of Oncology, one of the largest cancer hospitals in Europe.
Planned to be one of the largest centers, according to Heatherwick Studio, the new building is made of a series of different-sized containers, resembling “a collection of garden pots,” enclosed by flat sheets of glass that protect against the elements. Intended for both visitors and passersby to enjoy, the building’s exterior will overflow with greenery as trees and plants sprout from the roofs and flora grows in and around the structures. Wallpaper reported that the center will be built adjacent to the hospital’s oncology unit and sit among several gardens designed by Marie-Louise Agius of the landscape design firm Balston Agius.
“Surrounded by the huge and complex medical machine for healing we wanted to capture the positive and therapeutic experience of plants and see if it could be possible to make a whole building out of a garden,” explained Heatherwick Studio on their website.
The center will open its doors in 2017.