Living wall to welcome patients at UK’s first high energy proton beam therapy centre
A 104m2 living wall has been unveiled at the UK’s first high energy proton beam therapy centre to signify life, strength and hope.
The wall has been installed at the Rutherford Cancer South Wales, a revolutionary new cancer centre in Newport which recently opened its doors to treat cancer patients with conventional treatments. High energy proton beam therapy, a treatment which is not currently available in the country, will be operational early next year.
The centre is owned by the world’s largest developer of high energy proton beam therapy centres, Proton Partners International Ltd.
The wall has been designed and installed by leading landscape supplier Scotscape. It has been created with biodiversity at its core and the species included the installation were chosen due to their year-round pollinating capabilities, air cleaning qualities as well as their function as a habitat for wildlife.
Some of the plants installed in the living wall include:
- Mahonia spp: one of the few winter pollinating species that often flowers from November to February. These are one of the most important sources of winter food for winter active bumblebees.
- Hedera helix: late flowering ivy is a valuable source of nectar, it provides year-round shelter for birds and small animals that use it to hide, roost nest and hibernate and it can act as a winter lifeline for wildlife with its abundance of berries. Ivy is also shown to have excellent air filtering traits, removing dangerous toxins from the air such as benzene and xylene (found in vehicle exhausts and tobacco smoke).
- Heleborus niger: an excellent late winter/early spring flowering plant that is a good source of food for bees and other insects.
- Persicaria bistorta: a native plant to UK shores producing long lasting dense spikes all summer and autumn long, perfect pollinators.
Angus Cunningham, managing director at Scotscape, said: “We combined these important species with other distinctive plants of architectural and aesthetic quality. The wall is also a visual feature that will attract attention and create a pleasant sense of nature in an urban setting.
“The idea behind the planting design outline is to emulate the Celtic tree of life design, an apt representation for a lifesaving centre such as the Rutherford Cancer Centre, South Wales. Reddish hued planting (Leucothoe, Mahonia) forms a distinctive central stem that spreads out over both wall facades, creating a distinctive elliptical form that merges back onto itself. As spring emerges, new life comes and with that, planted daffodils bulbs emerge to turn and raise the mood, and of course the national flower of Wales is not forgotten here in Newport.
“After combining all elements of this design brief, we are looking forward to seeing an end result that is worthy of its initial conception and we hope that it brings a sense of belief to all who come to the Rutherford Cancer Centre in South Wales.”
Mike Moran, chief executive officer of Proton Partners International, said: “I wanted our patients to arrive at our South Wales centre with a welcoming wall of life. It was important to have something that changed with the seasons as a reminder to everyone that they are arriving somewhere where life thrives. This will also be the last thing they will see when leaving the centre following treatment, again in bloom and living.
“We hope this leads the way for other healthcare providers to embrace the power of plants to enhance buildings, both inside and out, to benefit the health of building users. I am very proud of the Scotscape installation team who have provided such a considered design for the Rutherford Cancer Centre, South Wales.”