Funded by The Royal Marsden Cancer Charity, the ‘state-of-the-art’ research and treatment facility will help accelerate the development of new cancer treatments, ‘offering hope for cancer patients worldwide’.
Named after the Oak Foundation, which donated £25 million to The Royal Marsden Cancer Charity’s £70 million Oak Cancer Centre appeal, the new facility will enable clinicians to diagnose cancers earlier, and has also been designed to enhance patients’ experience. It has been designed as ‘a signature building’ at the world-renowned hospital and research hub in Sutton, located adjacent to The Institute of Cancer Research (ICR), and is an ‘integral component’ of the new London Cancer Hub – an emerging ‘knowledge cluster’ which the Royal Marsden says will become ‘a global leader’ for cancer research, treatment, and innovation.
‘Carefully considered’ clinical design by BDP has created ‘a blend of world-leading cancer research spaces’, bringing together researchers in the Kuok Research Centre, and outpatient activity – including 63 chemotherapy chairs in the Olayan Day Care Unit and the new Charles Wolfson Rapid Diagnostic Centre. BDP said: “Provision of areas where staff and patients can interact with nature’s healing qualities is central to the design – creating a contemporary environment, and a peaceful atmosphere, with easy access to natural daylight, views, and fresh air.
The architects continued: “Over six floors, the architecture has integrated multiple, easily accessible external terraces with a striking pergola on the top floor. Each terrace provides crucial breathing space for respite for staff and patients. All 63 chemotherapy bays are oriented towards a newly landscaped garden, providing views of green space. The westerly aspect, full-height glazing, and external vertical shading fins, deliver a filtered, dappled sunlight effect to further enhance feelings of tranquillity.”
‘Using the very latest technology’, the new Charles Wolfson Rapid Diagnostic Centre and the Kuok Research Centre will – BDP explains – provide spaces for ‘world-class scientific research and development’. They bring together at the building’s heart over 400 scientists and researchers into a space designed specifically to encourage collaboration.
BDP’s Architect director, Dominic Hook, said: “Cancer centres are where some of life’s most stressful moments happen, so throughout the design process we wanted to ensure patients would receive treatment in the best possible environments. Every part of the architecture here is considered, so that anxious patients are not further stressed by being disorientated or struggling to find their way around. They will be able to enjoy great views, peace, and quiet, while receiving chemotherapy. A legible and accessible design means those attending the outpatient department will be able to undergo blood tests, see their consultant, and collect a prescription, all on the same floor.”
Andrew Wilson, Operations director at main contractor, ISG, said: “The Oak Cancer Centre represents a significant advancement in bringing together clinicians, researchers, and patients, in an environment that positively supports collaboration. Technology has been a key facilitator during the construction phase, with cutting-edge visualisation tools used to spatially plan and maximise patient and clinician outcomes, and this will then follow through into the operation of the building, and the use of ground-breaking diagnostic and treatment technologies.“
Dame Cally Palmer, CEO of The Royal Marsden NHS Foundation Trust, added: “The Oak Cancer Centre will help the hospital to go faster and further in the delivery of research and cancer treatments, and provide the very best environments for our patients. We are extremely grateful to everyone who supported The Royal Marsden Cancer Charity’s £70m fundraising appeal. The Oak Cancer Centre would not have been possible without generous charity support from individuals from across the world, demonstrating what can be achieved when global philanthropy works in partnership with the NHS.’’