Cancer Care Centre Entrance & Courtyard

I’ve been promising for a while now to write a post about the wonderful Cancer Care Centre project I’ve worked on this year for York Hospital and share some photos of the space, so finally here it is!  It was such a special project which started with the first meeting about a year ago.  Following that first meeting I felt really excited about the possibilities for the project but also extremely privileged to have been asked to contribute to something that would make a difference to the patients and visitors experience of the space.

I won’t go into full detail about the actual project as I’ve previously written posts about that which you can read here and here but for those of you who haven’t already followed the project, it was made up of a brand new Courtyard for the patients and visitors to use and a re-vamp of the dark external walkway which made up the entrance to the Centre.  The actual Courtyard itself was designed by Sue Lindley from Gardens Green Designs and you can read more about that side of the project and her involvement in an interview I did with Sue recently here.

This is how the walkway entrance looked before any of the work was carried out and any of my artwork was installed.

As you can see it wasn’t particularly inviting or welcoming and all of us working on the project agreed it was in desperate need of brightening up!  I was asked to create designs for vinyl that would be attached to the windows of the offices you can see to the left of the photo and also some metal wall panels that would be installed in between the windows and link the design along the left side of the walkway.  The plan was that it would create a ‘visual flow’ that would help lead visitors into the space.

Walkway metal work & windows

The design was inspired by the name of the building and the flower it is named after, “The Magnolia Centre”.  I had previously designed some metal wall panels that have been installed inside the building based on the same theme which you can see here. Here are some more detailed photos of the vinyl and metal work.

Magnolia Windw VinylMagnolia Window Vinyl detail

The flower heads were laser cut out of steel, arranged into the wall panel designs and then powder coated.  All the actual metal fabrication was carried out by Pat Earnshaw of York Ironworks.

Magnolia Metal WorkMagnolia Metal Work_detail

In addition to the metal wall panels, I was asked to contribute to some gate designs – one to replace an old industrial looking gate leading to a bike store and also the main gates and fencing around the actual Courtyard.  We decided to keep the design along the same theme as the wall panels and with the help  and advice of Pat Earnshaw we came up with suitable designs for both sets of gates.

Bike Store GateBike Store Gate

Courtyard GatesCourtyard Gates

Gate detailDetail of metal work in the gates

I was really pleased with how the whole space looked and I felt the different pieces of artwork and design all linked up well.  The space is so much more brighter and inviting now don’t you think?  It looks less like a tunnel and more of an inviting entrance area, especially with the addition of the plants and benches.

Cancer Care Centre entranceMagnolia Centre Entrance

I even designed a brand new entrance sign for them!

Magnolia Sign

The new space and Courtyard was officially opened by the Lord Mayor of York at a vibrant yet moving ceremony.

Courtyard Opening

And this is the beautiful Courtyard designed by Sue Lindley

Cancer Care Courtyard

This is how the  Courtyard space looked before!

Courtyard space beforeAn amazing transformation wouldn’t you agree?

As well as all the celebrations that day, we took time to remember the real reason why we were all there and the important meaning behind the project – to enhance and hopefully improve the experience of the Cancer Care patients, their family and friends and any visitors to the Centre.  Patients both current and previous were remembered with poignant readings and the releasing of balloons.

Opening ceremony

It was such a lovely afternoon of celebrations and reflection that I came away feeling so fortunate, not only and most importantly for my own health but for the wonderful opportunities that I have had over the last few years to work on such meaningful and rewarding projects at York Hospital. Much appreciation and thanks for these opportunities go to Kat Hetherington, Gill Greaves, Jane Archer, Jen Bennsion and Debbie Brian, all of whom are an amazing team to work for and with .


If you have enjoyed reading about this project and are interested in reading more about the design and installation of the actual Courtyard, then you can read an interview I did with the Courtyard designer Sue Lindley here.  We talk about her aspirations for the project, how she came up with the design and how it was implemented.  Sue also talks about her role as a garden designer and the types of projects she works on.

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