Right next to the new Amphia Hospital in Breda, which we also had the pleasure of designing, is the Verbeeten Institute, built in 2010. As a leading specialist centre for radiotherapy and nuclear medicine, this institute wanted to be close to people.
As we designed the new building, with its two radiation bunkers, our guiding principle was the healing environment. People who come here for treatment are gravely ill; they enter the building full of fear, sadness and hope. That is why everything, down to the smallest detail, is aimed at rest, wellness and well-being. When patients come in for treatment, they should feel at ease for as long as possible.
The undulating “shell” around the location forms a filter between the building and the outside world. And, once inside, it creates several sheltered patios near the waiting and treatment areas. This creates a sense of openness but also privacy. Patients experience daylight throughout their treatment process, in an environment that is both intimate and open. The building feels like a pleasant home, a soft environment on a human scale. This extends to the radiation room, where patients can choose the light colour and music.
Second-hand furniture from previous decades enhances the feeling of intimacy and security. The chairs and sofas have been beautifully refurbished and given a second chance. The symbolism of “a second chance” appeals to the feeling that many patients experience, before and after their treatment.