Architecture that cares: how 12 firms put people into the heart of their design

Will global sustainability targets affect construction? What makes an environment feel safe? How does it feel to move through spaces with a disability? 

As part of this year’s London Festival of Architecture, 12 practices were challenged to answer these questions and more by connecting their projects to a central theme: care.

To do this, the architects needed to consider what it meant to design with people in mind—whether that involved helping children feel less like patients at a hospice, or producing the low-carbon neighborhood of the future. 

To make each idea feel more real, Twinmotion’s archviz tools were used to turn BIM and CAD data into powerful visuals complete with animated humans, gorgeous greenery, and weather effects. The resulting concept films are now displayed as part of a new architecture exhibition, Architects x Epic Games: A revolution in visualization.

Watch each film in the exhibition below to see how human-centered design can revolutionize how we live, work, and learn in the future.

1. Foster + Partners | Magdi Yacoub Global Heart Center Cairo

This hospital provides free, state-of-the-art medical care in Egypt. Set in a lush landscape against striking views of the Pyramids of Giza, Foster + Partners designed the building to optimize the overall patient experience and create a calm and caring environment.

2. Carlo Ratti Associati | Hot Heart Helsinki

Helsinki’s Hot Heart is a system that uses seawater pumps to convert renewable energy into heat. Stored in 10 cylindrical basins or ‘islands,’ the heat is then drawn into the city’s distribution channels when needed—helping Helsinki to reach carbon neutrality by 2030.

3. BDP | Oak Cancer Centre, Royal Marsden NHS Foundation Trust

The Oak Cancer Centre will blend 63 chemotherapy infusion bays with a state-of-the-art Rapid Diagnostic facility. Space dedicated to cancer research is also given public visibility: a much-needed positive reminder of the ongoing progress in this field.

4. CSK | Phoenix House

Phoenix House is a net-zero building that reimagines an existing ruin. The new masonry structure is built almost entirely using the remains of historic buildings on the site, making it a practical contribution to the contemporary debate on re-use.

5. Squire & Partners | The Ark, Noah’s Ark Children’s Hospice

The Ark is a highly sustainable facility that supports children with life-limiting or life-threatening conditions, and their families. Situated within a 7.5-acre nature reserve in north London, the Ark helps children live life as children, rather than just as patients.

6. Wimshurst Pelleriti | Somerville House

Somerville House has been designed to deliver a new model of care for older people’s housing needs. Community integration and individual ownership are key to the project, as is the desire to create something aspirational around a traditional street layout.

7. Proctor & Matthews | Vaux, Riverside Sunderland Masterplan

Vaux is a low-carbon neighborhood designed for a future where local communities are central to city life. The 132 homes in the neighborhood are connected through a series of green communal spaces, emphasizing the importance of caring for the environment.

8. Morris+Company | Aylesbury Health Centre and Early Years Nursery

This public building in London comprises Primary Healthcare that supports staff facilities, and an early-years nursery. With open spaces and neutral tones, the design creates a calm and welcoming environment for its full range of users.

9. DSDHA | Exchange Park

Exchange Park is a public space in London that was previously characterized by hard landscaping, steps, and monocultural planting. DSDHA has designed a far more accessible landscape that will see a four-fold increase in the amount of green space on offer.

10. Tonkin Liu | Butterfly Courtyard House

Butterfly Courtyard House offers accessible accommodation closely connected to nature. Tight circulation and dado rails help with walking, and a therapy pool provides access to low-impact exercise. New biodiverse planting and a wildflower green roof create a relaxing atmosphere.

11. Architecture for London | Re-wilding our homes

Situated in a woodland, the concept for this fairy tale-like new build home prioritizes care for its surrounding environment. The design, while modern, highlights the house’s relationship with the protected mature oak trees around it.

12. You + Pea | Everyone is Architecture

Everyone is Architecture is a proposal for new forms of public participation on live sites using augmented reality. The concept sees technology used to create a more caring and inclusive environment, and people coming together to help shape public space.