Following core renovations to the entire building, Platz Associates designed 5th Floor renovations to the historic Knapp Shoe Mill in Lewiston, Maine for the Patrick Dempsey Center for Cancer Hope & Healing. The organization offers free support, education, and integrative medicine services to anyone impacted by cancer, and includes; a healing garden, a yoga room, a demonstration kitchen, offices, and more. The design team encouraged the center’s staff to use the design process as an opportunity to explore and clarify its mission and values, and this reflection greatly informed the final design of the center’s new home.
It became clear that the Dempsey Center aspired to express hope, healing and realistic optimism in the new facility. It also became evident that the two outstanding physical features of the new space – the exposed rich wood of the ceiling and beams and the wealth of natural light and dramatic panoramic day and nighttime views provided by the large windows - could be at the heart of expressing this sense of hope and healing. A design goal emerged: to convey a sense of openness and connection to the natural world through the use of views, natural color scheme, natural materials, and repeating thematic elements. Nurturing curving wall forms and repeated motifs of alternating wood and metal elements in the detail feature points, such as the reception desk, a demonstration kitchen island, and healing garden planters.