Prinses Máxima Centrum, Utrecht

Designed by: MMEK'
For client: Prinses Máxima Centrum voor kinderoncologie Floor area: 44000.00 M² Year of completion: 2018
Submitted for: Healthcare Centre of the Year

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© Chris van Koeverden

The day-care rooms are divided into smaller units in which children can do their homework or play

About the Project

In May 2018, the Princess Máxima Centre in Utrecht opened. From that point onwards, all healthcare, research and training in the Netherlands related to children with cancer is concentrated in one place.

Every year 600 children aged anywhere up to 18 are diagnosed with cancer. Fortunately, the treatment options are getting better all the time and more than 75% of patients can now expect to be cured. Nevertheless, there is still room for improvement. The proportion of patients cured must be raised to 100%, the side effects and late effects of treatment need to be reduced and by 2020 the Princess Máxima Centre aims to be one of the world’s top five paediatric oncology research institutes in the world.

The Princess Máxima Centre will offer development-centred healthcare. Despite their illness, young patients are still growing and it is important to encourage their cognitive, socio-emotional and motor development. This means that the hospital’s organisation, interior layout and facilities must meet high standards. MMEK’ involved all stakeholders, such as patients, parents, interest groups, healthcare professionals and building management in the design process to ensure that these standards could be fulfilled.

The brand identity of the Princess Máxima Centre is expressed in all elements of the interior. Its rooms, furniture and toys form part of an integral design. The result is a strong, harmonious design centred on patients, their families and healthcare professionals.

What’s unique about it

MMEK’ is an innovator, taking a different approach to healthcare. MMEK’ puts the end user front and centre, and allows patients to receive care that exceeds their expectations, in an environment where they immediately feel at home, and where they can continue to develop. Similarly, healthcare professionals can focus on their primary task without the limitations of the space. After all, this is not about imposing healthcare on end users, it’s about involving them in it. The innovative perspective on this healthcare, the careful design process and its transformation into the complete interior for the Princess Máxima Centre are why MMEK’ deserves the Frame Awards.

MMEK’ was involved in the development of the hospital at an early stage and worked intensively with children, parents, care professionals, staff members and the construction management team. Not only the development of the hardware (building) and the software (the care process) were important, but also the development of the mindware. The vision developed by MMEK’ fits seamlessly with the objectives and identity of the Princess Máxima Centre and meets all the requirements and wishes of the many important stakeholders.

The design includes a number of unique elements like a Science & Discovery Centre, Park, Building site and more. In creating these, the special working method of MMEK’ has guaranteed a holistic and widely supported result.

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© Chris van Koeverden

A muted room that is screened off from external stimuli, giving people the space to reflect

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© Ewout Huibers

It contains play elements and relaxation corners that stimulate patients to move around

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© Ewout Huibers

Another space is the Park which meanders like a landscape and in which there is plenty to discover

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© Ewout Huibers

The Building site with its giant crane is where children can continue to develop and play

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© Ewout Huibers

Two practice areas with a MRI scanner and a RT accelerator let children prepare for treatment

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© Ewout Huibers

It offers children and parents what needs to gain a deeper understanding of cancer and treatment

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© Ewout Huibers

Children are always eager to learn and Science & Discovery Centre focuses on that eagerness to learn

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© Chris van Koeverden

The design gives the place a friendly look and feel, emphasising the character of the building

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© Erik van 't Woud

The entrance serves as a central reception area for visitors and residential function

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