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Healing in the physical and spiritual realm

Part 2 Project 2009
John Patrick Feeney
Queen's University Belfast | UK
My title refers to the mind, body, building and site.
Demand: On the 12th of June 2006 cancer services in Sligo were downgraded due to a government centralisation plan. Under this plan patients from the north-western City of Sligo would be required to travel undue distances for diagnosis and treatment procedures. To this day, the people of Sligo continue to demand an accessible service.
Proposal: A building which not only facilitates the provision of physical healing, but also provides accommodation akin to 'Maggie's Centres' seen across the United Kingdom. The aim is to create a space less institutionalised, more identifiable and spirit strengthening. A range of health care facilities and supporting services have been integrated.
Identity: Healing is a process that can only be initiated from within ourselves; this process can be triggered by the spaces we inhabit. We find ourselves in spaces we can associate with; in this act we direct all our energy back to our body and spirit.
Site: Sligo’s Dominican Abbey is 760 years old and has for centuries been identifiable to the people of Sligo as the oldest free-standing building in the City. Today, high-density residential development and single story lawnmower repair shops to the perimeter of the enclosure severely damage the visual integrity of the spaces within and around the abbey. Much could be done to enhance the setting of this nationally recognised heritage site. Historically monasteries have had close links to medicine and the body, many of which contained herb gardens and infirmaries within their enclosures.
Influence: The proposal is influenced by the body, building and landscapes life cycle. Its form draws on the abbeys composition and is detailed with respect to the identifiable marks of past craftsmen lingering throughout its fabric. The abbey, once echoing the footsteps of friars, now becomes an antiquity in a secret garden. The landscape once cultivated, now becomes built form. The proposal is composed as a series of compartments arranged around contrasting courtyard gardens. An enclosing wall surrounding the proposal ushers in a period of positive transcendence.

John Patrick Feeney

This scheme is a carefully measured insertion of a much needed medical facility into a historical site in Sligo, Ireland. The proposed building encompasses the philosophy of the ‘Maggie’s Centres’ to enable physical healing and spiritual wellbeing. This project is an outstanding piece of low-rise urban intervention that proposes to regenerate the area by removing poor quality housing and workshops. The student’s CAD and hand drawing skills made this project emerge as an authentic piece of architecture that blends with nature and the surrounding fabric without competing with the Sligo Abbey.


Mr Alan Jones

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