Krakow Oxygen Home is a community centre in Krakow for lung cancer patients, their friends and their families.
The key function of the building is to provide a comfortable and supportive environment in difficult times, using architecture to create something to help heal a hurting community.
Krakow is Poland’s second largest city as well as one of the oldest, now established as one of the leading centres for Polish academics, culture and art.
Even though Krakow is a major tourist destination, its popularity fades in colder months, not due to the weather but due to the smog. Air pollution is an ever-present threat to those living in Krakow, causing alarmingly high numbers of asthma, chronic lung diseases and lung cancer cases. The cause of these high levels of pollution is the city's dependence on coal-burning furnaces to heat their homes and water.
Hospitals and clinics, though vitally important, are often not the most comforting of environments. While they efficiently fulfill a need, they often fall short when it comes to supporting the emotional needs of the patient.
We feel architects have an opportunity to help the healing process by allowing patients to spend their energy fighting the disease, not the healthcare environment.
The centre is a fairly small building that includes a community room with facilities such as a small library, play zone and kitchen. There’s also an office where psychiatrists and counsellors can help those dealing with lung cancer as well as a first aid room to provide medical support when needed.
The care centre provides comfort and a sense of community, with open spaces, sunlight and elements of nature in its design. It is not a hospital or treatment centre and it does not have a clinical atmosphere. It creates a cozy and homely environment in which to offer practical, emotional and social support to those fighting lung cancer as well as their families and friends.
The site is the Bror Hansson Park, located in the heart of Krakow just across from its largest oncological research centre. This park is mainly used by patients from the oncological centre and the residents of the surrounding buildings.
The park’s layout and functional zones are rearranged, proposing new functions and improving circulation and accessibility, increasing the park’s overall performance as a successful public place. The building takes full advantage of the location’s positive traits.
Krakow Oxygen Home presents itself as an emerging geological feature, a welcoming crystalline beacon amidst a garden.