How’s This Position?

In Narratology, by Mieke Bal,[1] Bal proposes that, any given art work provides a narrative, with each viewer, depending on their own socio-cultural history, reading a different story.

I would like to propose, that any given urban site does the same. One space, in this case 81 Fort Street, offers different narratives to different people – depending on their own story. Where one sees a dark and dangerous corner site, another sees warmth and a place to safely hide.

These multiple narratives intrigue me and have become a driver within my design.

A hospice tells so many stories. Not just the stories of those that have arrived as patients for palliative care and everything that involves, but also of families who just need a little respite.

Cynthia Leibrock[2] alludes to another side of the dual dialogue hospice offers. Referring to patients whose death is drawing near, she says, “Each moment takes on greater importance, each sensory experience a special meaning. A window is not just an opening for light and air; it frames a vista of the last sunrise. A door is more than a functional entrance; it brings in friends and family members.”

And so this hospice is designed with all these things in mind. There is plenty of light but then there are shadows to retreat to. There are communal spaces for sharing food and supporting each other but then there are private spaces for a little time out.

Any hospice is a large facility and palliative care has very specific requirements. This presentation concentrates on just a few of those requirements. I have focussed my design on the family room, the gardens, a contemplation place, and most importantly, the bedrooms.


[1] Bal, Mieke. Narratology: introduction to the theory of narrative. 3rd ed. Toronto: University of Toronto Press, 2009. eBook.

[2] Leibrock, Cynthia. Design Details for Health: Making the Most of Design’s Healing Potential. 2nd ed. Hoboken: John Wiley & Sons, 2011. eBook.

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