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Designing the Cancer Centre



Cancer Centre at Guy'sThe new Cancer Centre at Guy's has been designed by award-winning architects to put patients at the heart of what we do.

The building brings most of our cancer services under one roof and provides a hub for specialist cancer services, training, development and research for south east London.

The design brief

In 2010, the Trust launched a RIBA international design competition to find design partners to develop a new Cancer Centre at Guy’s Hospital. Architects were invited to submit their proposals to meet three key goals:

  • patient centred design
  • research-driven care
  • clinically-led innovations in cancer management.

Award-winning architects Rogers Stirk Harbour + Partners and specialist healthcare architect Stantec were chosen for their innovative design based around a series of ‘villages’ that give the 14-storey building a human scale.

The architects also had to deal with a unique challenge – how to protect the remains of a Roman boat found beneath the site of the Cancer Centre. The Roman boat was found in 1958, 4.8m beneath the site and is protected as a scheduled ancient monument. The building design, with minimal basement area, allows the Roman boat to remain in situ.

Villages of care

The building is designed as a series of 'villages', each offering a range of clinical and complementary care spaces. Each village has its own distinct identity and a colour theme inside and out to help patients find their way around.

  • Welcome Village

    The Welcome Village is the heart of the building and offers a welcoming space where patients and visitors can access the Dimbleby Cancer Care, rehabilitation gym and other drop-in facilities. There’s also plenty of space to relax and a café and shop.
  • Outpatients Village

    The Outpatients Village brings together most of the services that a patient might need. These include outpatients clinics, minor procedures and imaging facilities. With more space and improved facilities, the outpatients village will help us to offer shorter waiting times to patients. An outside terrace and balcony offer space to relax and reflect.
  • Chemotherapy Village

    The new, flexible environment in the Chemotherapy Village allows patients to choose from either a large communal area or a more intimate and private space when receiving chemotherapy.
  • Radiotherapy Village

    Lcated on the second level, the Radiotherapy Village is flooded with natural light and fully integrated into the normal life of the centre.
  • Innovation Hub

    Located on the ninth floor and visible through a glass ceiling, the Innovation Hub is home to our research facilities. Fully integrated into the Cancer Centre, our research and clinical trials help us to lead the way in discovering new and improved treatments for cancer.

Working with patients and staff

Diana Crawshaw, Chair of the patient reference groupPatients and staff have been at the heart of the design process since early 2011.

Patients who have used our cancer services have been involved through the Patient Reference Group. This group has worked closely with the Guy’s Cancer project team, architects and builders to ensure that the new building provides the best possible care and patient experience.

Patients have influenced key decisions. For example, they asked us to put the radiotherapy room – traditionally found in the basement because the room needs a protective lining – on a higher level. We found a way to do it. Now our patients receive treatment in the sunlight.

The Patient Reference Group continues to meet to help us to improve services in ways that are important to them.

Group chair, Diane Crawshaw (pictured), says: "Chairing the Patient Reference Group has come as an unexpected privilege. I value and enjoy the role of ensuring that all patient voices are heard."

Throughout the building phase of the project, Essentia (Guy’s and St Thomas’ estates, facilities, and capital directorate) also hosted regular drop-in events, giving the public an opportunity to hear about progress and speak with members of the project team.

There have also been regular tours of the building – for staff, patients and their families and others with an interest in the architecture, design or construction – as part of events such as Cancer Survivors’ Day and Open House London in 2016.

(Photo at top of this page: Morley Von Sternberg.)



Architects focused on patient care

"Our aim has been to create a place equally focused on patient care and treatment, a welcoming building of human scale that does not feel like a hospital but delivers state-of-the-art treatment in an uplifting environment for visitors and staff."

Ivan Harbour, Rogers Stirk Harbour + Partners