Facing cancer is one of the most difficult challenges of all. We’ve been working closely with Macmillan Cancer Support for over 30 years, and were thrilled to design the Cove, a new cancer support centre at the Royal Cornwall Hospital, Truro.
The building needed to provide a welcoming, supportive, and healing environment for those affected by cancer. Macmillan appointed us to design the landscape and interiors in addition to the building itself; we needed to respond to the surrounding architecture and scenery, while designing a range of spaces for visitors to reflect, relax, socialise, and find support or information.
We looked to the Cornish coastline for inspiration, using timber and curved forms to evoke local shipbuilding techniques, and giving the overall building the appearance of a friendly, welcoming beach house. Inside, visitors can find information, attend support groups, receive counselling and complementary therapies, and relax in the café.
Staff, managers, fundraisers and patient groups all had an input into the design. We were careful to avoid a clinical environment and used artwork throughout the building to achieve this – including wall graphics and fixed furniture created by a local craftsman.
Around the perimeter of the building, we created four linked outdoor rooms with therapeutic gardens, giving visitors a number of private spaces. Our landscape team chose local and native plants to help make patients and visitors feel more comfortable in their surroundings, and to improve biodiversity.
The result is a valuable haven for the people of Cornwall and the Isles of Scilly – helping to make sure that no one faces cancer alone.
“On average 1,000 people are physically visiting the Cove every month now, accessing the building and services, which is fantastic. There are now waiting lists for benefits services and psychological and counselling services, so all services are very much needed and being used by people affected by cancer in Cornwall.”– JACQUI HODGE, MACMILLAN PARTNERSHIP MANAGER FOR DEVON, CORNWALL, AND THE ISLES OF SCILLY