Copenhagen Centre for Cancer and Health
People are opening their eyes to the healing effects of architecture. The Centre for Cancer & Health has been designed as an entirely new type of hospital environment for this very purpose.
There can be no greater reason for architecture to be designed especially for its users, than in a centre where people recover, rehabilitate or find support in grief from the effects of cancer.
Sitting in a leafy reach of De Gamles By park, the Copenhagen Centre for Cancer and Health neither looks nor smells like a hospital, and is designed on a human scale as an example of healing architecture.
The centre is an anomaly in its Nørrebro neighbourhood of red brick residential blocks – both for its light-refracting aluminium façades, and as a cluster of individual houses connected by a sculptural roof.
Grouped as a welcoming whole, they total 1,885m² and house a café, gym and rooms where the Danish Cancer Society hosts activities, patient groups and psychologist sessions. There is also a kitchen in which to learn about nutrition as vital to healing.
At the centre of this is a monastery-style inner courtyard clad in warm wood. It’s a private sanctuary where patients, relatives and those in recovery can grow vegetables, exercise or spend time contemplating in the sun. In both this and the building as a whole, the architects have thought deeply about those who will occupy its spaces – young and old, in remission or extremely sick – to make it a comfortable, comforting place to visit and to stay.