I am a hardworking and passionate student who always strives for success. I’ve always had an affinity for creativity and I believe that interior design is the perfect way to balance that creativity with practicality. The last four years at Humber have been an incredible learning opportunity and I’m very proud to have finished it all off with this final thesis project. Thank you for taking the time to read through my work. Enjoy!
The Wellspring Cancer Community Centre is a facility for cancer patients and survivors to come to relieve the mental and physical stress of daily life by creating meaningful connections to their community and the nature around them. The central Atrium suits any preferences with open social areas or smaller, private zones to relax. Members can choose from an array of programs and non-medical treatments to help relieve their mental and physical fatigue. With direct access to a park across the street and to Lake Ontario, this facility will become a haven for the cancer community.
Rationale and Design Narrative
The floor plan is structured in a very geometric, logical way. The design contrasts the organic elements to the structure of the space because healthcare designs are often difficult to navigate and this design aims to reduce that difficulty as much as possible. By keeping the floor plan organized in zones and with clean, straight lines, this becomes a much easier space to understand from the users perspective. This design also aims to blur the line between indoor and outdoor. The users walk right into the Atrium when they enter the building, creating a threshold that eases the transition between the outside and the inside. The design also features an outdoor area which acts as an extension of the cafe and faces the lush park across the street.
Design Connection to Research
The main focus of my research was the mental and physical impacts of biophilia on users in a space. The research showed that having a connection to nature reduces anxiety and depression symptoms, as well as improves respiration, circulation, and overall stress levels; issues that are common with cancer patients and their families. It was important for the design to feature all kinds of nature, including water features, sunlight, views to outside, indoor trees, flowering plants, and more. The space has many skylights and windows providing natural light and warmth which serves the double purpose of being eco-friendly and creating biophilic connections. The main atrium has a grassy turf floor which is fully accessible and allows a fully immersive experience into the grand design of the space. The benefits of the programs that are offered at this facility were also extensively researched and 6 of the 14 programs are broken down below.
Character of Space
The purpose of this facility is to be compassionate and thoughtful to the struggles that the users go through, so the design had to have these qualities as well. After visiting the existing Wellspring locations, it became clear that the spaces were not designed for a specific purpose but rather designed to fit their low budget. This facility was carefully and thoughtfully designed to suit this specific demographic and their tailored needs, and will in turn create a much richer and more beneficial user experience.
This space is roughly divided in half; the front area where members are greeted is open community space, and the back spaces are all treatment and private areas. The space was divided this way because these treatments and activities often put members in a vulnerable and/or emotional position, so it was very important for the design to be compassionate to this. The research showed that people going through cancer treatments spend hours sitting in dreadful waiting areas, creating lots of discomfort and anxiety. This inspired a complete deconstruction of the traditional waiting area and the creation of something completely new (see diagram below). The Atrium is structured in a way that creates a series of small, intimate niches for 1-2 people to sit and await their program. If the members prefer to socialize while they wait, they also have the option to wait at the cafe where they can grab a snack and wait with other members of the community.