I have actually experience my late father dying due to cancer a few months ago, and what I can say after that is, "How can I help, to make it better?" .
I came up with the idea of, what if we have a place for the dying and their supporters (friends, family & carers) to go, for a time-out. I know it first hand; of how emotionally and spiritually hard it is for everyone to go through this stage of their life. And by having a place for a time-out or just to let it all go, would be so beneficial for everyone.
Thus, the idea of the island pop up and how actually architecture and nature can really help in making that experience better.
Do not under estimate the power of healing through nature, it can work wonders. The main principle of design for the island would be VEGETATION, WATER, SUNLIGHT & VIEWS. The concept of end of life care is basically to provide a better quality of life. The sensory delights, spirituality, mediation of the mind, body and soul, and how the social effect of it towards the patient and the people around, are taken into account when designing the island. It is all for wanting to provide a positive experience.
The emotional and spiritual support is what is needed the most, and having a place to find comfort can help to make the end of life experience better.
The island would have a few therapy and healing pods scattered around, with the main "Care Pod" at the center and a variety of gardens and sunflower field, in between. The "Care Pod" is design to have a day care for patients who need rest for a few hours or an overnight stay at most. The island is community driven, due to the emotions and understanding of all the people who is going through the end of life journey together.
Other than the nature elements of healing and comfort, the architecture of the place is also important. Thus, the materials use should be something that would remind you of home - BRICKS, TIMBER, CONCRETE, GLASS & MUTED COLOUR MATERIALS - it would gives out calm and comfort to the people looking and using the space. A welcoming and full of natural lit space is designed for each pods and pavilions. The interaction of water is also important, as it would gives out a nice feeling when walking around the island.
It is common that the patient would feel discourage, loss of hope and belief and the feel as if they have lost the battle with the illness. So, having a positive surrounding to lift up their spirit is crucial. The sensory experience would truly help in making them feel stronger, the patient and their supporter (family, friends & carers).
As a whole, the idea of the island, is to provide a support and care environment for the patient and their supporters to get through this difficult stage of their life.
- A place, where they can actually chill, relax and take a time-out.
- A place, surrounded by positive energy and beautiful surroundings.
- A place, to let it all go, when it is hard to contain and compose oneself after so long.
- A place, for solace.