The Rutherford Cancer Centre North East was named as Building Project of the Year at the Constructing Excellence North East (CENE) Awards on Friday 14 June.

Designed by ourselves for specialist developer Rutherford Estates, the £38m Rutherford Cancer Centre North East, opened in August 2018 and is the first privately owned state-of-the-art cancer treatment centre offering Proton Beam Therapy to be constructed and operated in England. The facility offers world leading technology including CT, MRI, Linac Radiotherapy, Infusion Therapy and Proton Beam Therapy.

The layout for the centre is essentially based upon optimising the journey that the patients make within it at a time of potential illness and stress and takes full advantage of the rural setting at Bomarsund by capitalising on the lakeside views to help reduce patient and family stress and avoid an institutional ambience.

The Centre comprises two storeys of accommodation including a concrete-lined underground vaults to house the Cyclotron which produces the proton beam used in the innovative technology. JDDK’s design reduces the overall scale of the building at the public point of arrival through the introduction of a projecting entrance lobby and the use of external pergolas. Once inside the building, the absence of any formal reception desk further helps to avoid the apprehension induced by traditional institutional healthcare waiting rooms.

The Cancer Centre benefits from a bright and airy, double height reception space which is extensively glazed, and helps to connect the patient, and their families, to the wider environment. Wayfinding from the entrance waiting area is simple and clear, patients being either directed towards the consultation rooms or the treatment areas which are accessed via a spine corridor running the length of the building. Diagnostic and planning facilities are included on the ground floors, which include CT and MRI scanning equipment and behind which sit the treatment areas: proton beam and linear accelerators. Infusion therapy lounges are positioned on the first floor, so that they can benefit, not only from individual treatment cubicles, but also access to a first floor terrace area which provides an area for outside seating.

The CENE citation read :- “The winning project is a game-changer and the first privately funded centre of its kind in the UK. This project demonstrated excellent teamwork and collaboration leading to it being delivered on time, within budget and with exceptionally high levels of safety. Focusing on the end users needs throughout the project, the finished building settles into a quiet lakeside location to provide an overall feeling of calm, putting the patient at the heart of the process and optimising their journey at a time of illness and stress. The project team effectively managed an international team to deliver an excellent project for a client with no experience of the new build construction process.“

Further exciting healthcare opportunities exist on the Earth Balance site in Bomarsund where the Rutherford Cancer Centre, North East has been constructed; this area is earmarked to become an innovative ‘Health Village’ with other projects planned including a physiotherapy centre, dementia care and palliative care facilities in addition to support housing. JDDK have worked closely with each of the healthcare providers to help develop an exciting masterplan that it is hoped will be progressed over the coming years to create a unique healthcare hub where wellbeing is a primary consideration.

JDDK Architects Director, Kevin Turnbull, commented “We’re delighted that the Rutherford Centre has been recognised by this prestigious award. Proton Partners are an extremely valued client who enable us to mix the design complexity of spaces for their cutting-edge technology with a patient-centric design for their facilities.”

John McIntosh, General manager, Rutherford Estates Ltd, added, “This was Rutherford Estates’ first collaboration with JDDK as part of the DFJ Design Team. From the outset they proved to be adept at capturing the client’s wishes and concepts, interpreting them with skill and meld them with the surroundings to create a superb result.  Our experience of working with JDDK on this project was so good that we’ve partnered with them on three more.”

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