Jonathan Hyde

Jonathan Hyde, who is currently studying at Brighton University, UK, entered the Architects for Health’s First Student Health Design Award (2007) with the following submission. For contact please email:

A Hospice for Peckham, London

To provide a soothing, calm atmosphere to come to terms with death and pass away with comfort and dignity, a hospice must posses a sympathetic balance between privacy and exposure. The architecture to contain this must neither be too bleak and melancholy as to magnify the obvious or too concealed and distracting as to pretend there is no sorrow at all.

The Hospice as a Body

This project has been conceived as a body of spaces, all crucially complementing and aiding one another. Administration and primary work spaces act as the brains and central nervous system, whilst the internal corridor forms a clear flow of circulation. The two main limbs of the hospice divide after the reception forming the living wing and a mixed use section that unfolds into the main garden. This garden along with a series of exterior and flexible spaces serve as lungs to help the whole complex breathe, both literally through ventilation and visually through the inclusion of natural light and views of nature. The utilities arm is located at the western end with its own entrance, doubling up as the ambulance bay. The Chapel located within an existing railway arch will be available for use by the local community. The two occupied arches each have a light canon cutting through the masonry above. Light funnels down into this dark space instantly creating a deeply soulful atmosphere that reverberates within. It is in these spaces that the most solemn of activities occur.

Room with a View

Patients are encouraged to bring their own possessions to the hospice – a favourite painting, books or chair. A projector above the bed can be used to cast images and sounds around the room. Natural light flows in through a large window on the southern wall and also above the screened commode, through the solar cells. A familiar home-like quality is achieved through the use of natural materials as well as a domestic, humanistic scale.

Emotionally Durable Design

The shared sun ‘room’ between the private rooms will become the patient’s favourite place. Neither too enclosed or too exposed too quiet or too noisy. With views into the backlit garden it acts as a sheltering corner to sit and contemplate, whilst being a calming presence on the genius loci. The philosophy of a transitional space is essential in the creation of flexible, unrestricted living, far removed from the institutional atmosphere of a hospital.

The Architects for Health
First Student Health Design Award
was sponsored by


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