Maggie’s Centre is a charity well-known for tapping big-name architects, like Rem Koolhaas and Steven Holl, to design beautiful healthcare and support facilities for cancer patients and their families across the U.K. Its latest facility, attached to a hospital in Oxford, England, is no exception. Maggie’s Oxford Centre, designed by Wilkinson Eyre Architects, is the polar opposite of a sterile, fluorescent clinical facility–it’s a treehouse.
Located on the grounds of Churchill Hospital, the facility is raised up on timber stilts to nestle among the trees, giving visitors the feeling of disappearing into nature. Three wings, built with the goal of leaving the existing trees undisturbed, jut off the central facility, which houses a kitchen and dining area. Each wing is reserved for a separate purpose: providing people with cancer and their friends and family with information, emotional support, and somewhere to relax.
Designing more comfortable healthcare environments isn’t a matter of secondary importance when it comes to healing. Evidence has shown that green space and natural light can have tangible health benefits for patients. In fact, every hospital could use a treehouse retreat in the back yard.