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Back in 2015, Bee Breeders launched the Krakow Oxygen Home architecture competition which tasked participants to create designs for a lung cancer care center in the heart of one of the most-polluted cities in the world.
Krakow’s terrible air quality has lead to high levels of lung cancer in the Polish city, and project submissions created a space within the city where those suffering could rest, recover, and socialise with others while receiving support during their treatment.
Second-prize winners Paul Jones and Chris Brown from the UK were recognised by the jury panel for their sensible siting and materiality. They designed a care center situated along a street between existing oncology center buildings, connected by a lattice roof structure that unifies the activity and function of the building while mediating environmental conditions.
“We participate in competitions primarily to test ideas, and challenge ourselves against others through the competition format. We also use them to help hone our drawing and communication skills; this is important when teaching our students. The architecture vision organisation sets provocative and engaging briefs that are interesting to undertake.”
Krakow Oxygen Home architecture competition 2nd prize winners - Paul Jones and Chris Brown from United Kingdom
But it wasn’t just the jury panel that took notice. After having their designs published as winners on the competition website as well as several industry publications such as Dezeen and ArchDaily, Paul and Chris started to receive some favourable attention for their work.
The pair were contacted directly by an organisation called Project-C who arranged a meeting with representatives from the Barbados government.
Paul and Chris presented their project designs to the Barbados Cabinet, including the health minister, who were very keen to develop a health tourism project for cancer patients based on the ideas they explored in the Krakow Oxygen Home architecture competition.
The Cabinet were especially interested in how Paul and Chris saw the architectural environment as medicine in itself, promoting wellbeing through thoughtful and inventive design.
Unfortunately, after some exciting momentum for the £400 million project, there was an election which resulted in a change of government, effectively putting all previously-approved projects on-hold.
The Bradley Lowery Foundation was founded in 2017 by Gemma Lowery after she lost her son to a rare and aggressive form of childhood cancer. The charity has raised over £1.3 million, as well as raising awareness for neuroblastoma and childhood cancer in general.
Paul is currently collaborating with Richard Marsden, Director/Owner of Building Design North, to design a new “holiday home” for the foundation, looking to provide a state-of-the-art holiday-home for sick children who have life-shortening or life-threatening illnesses.
Paul presented his entry for the Krakow Oxygen Home competition when interviewing for the project, and in fact based the plans for the project on the same wellbeing principles and design concepts as his competition entry.
“This project will be influential in the UK, as the medical environment and the effect it has on patient wellbeing is growing in importance. Bradley’s battle with Neuroblastoma was shown on TV programmes across the UK, and high profile celebrities, footballers and large companies endorsed the project. Sadly, Bradley died last year of the illness. His legacy will live on in the house, so that other families can benefit.”
If you’re inspired by Paul and Chris’ story, you can take part in any of our open architecture competitions and potentially impress future clients when you win!
About the project authors: Paul and Chris currently teach together and run a live project office out of the university. The projects that they are working on include: the design of 10 bespoke eco-houses in the North East of England (the construction of which begins in Feb 2016); the refurbishment of 28 World War II bunkers, outside of Durham (again in the North East of England; construction is likely to be in Autumn of 2016); and a visitor and information centre in a historic landscape, for Gateshead Council, also in the Northeast of England. Check out Paul and Chris’ Krakow Oxygen Home architecture competition submission here.
Did you get a job interview, a commission or got into better university because of the publicity that was generated by your competition entry?
We want to know about it. Get in touch and tell us your story so that we can share it with the world and get you and your upcoming projects even more well-deserved media attention.