September 14, 2012

The Kinghorn Cancer Centre at Sydney’s Saint Vincent’s Hospital is a fine example of a community pulling together to attain an extraordinary outcome. Cancer treatment at Saint Vincent’s has always had a reputation for excellence and the Garvan Institute is world-renowned for its pioneering research. Bringing those two battalions in the fight against cancer together under one roof is an initiative that must be applauded. Acknowledged, too, must be the extraordinarily high level of philanthropy activated to make this fine building a reality. There are many things we may not like about American culture, but the initiative taken by private individuals in supporting charitable causes is one thing we should admire. In the case of the Kinghorn Centre, private individuals contributed a total of $50 million. The government better than matched that, chipping in $70 million.

As for the building itself, by BVN (among the most prominent ‘big’ architectural firms, since absorbing James Grose’s practice some years ago), it is impressive, although perhaps for its harshness – a lot of off-form concrete and metal mesh. But then a bold statement is possibly more appropriate for such a culturally significant structure. And once the landscaping – orchestrated by the very talented Daniel Baffsky of 360 Degrees – matures, the hard, defined lines of BVN’s building will be softened into a more, let’s say, “charitable” mood.

Author: Nick tobias