The Princess Máxima Center for Pediatric Oncology is the largest pediatric cancer center in Europe. As a reference center for pediatric and adolescent oncology, it sets new standards in care, research and education in the field of cancer medicine and care. At the heart of the architectural design task is the desire to achieve these new standards by incorporating the care concept in the architectural design. In the course of this assignment, Kopvol adopts the core concept of a medicine supporting the child development and transforms it into a building concept supporting the development of families: “The development-oriented building”. This so-called QS (Qualitative Space Concept) serves as a basis for the later building design. One aspect of this concept determines 42% of the families’ inpatient environment today: the OKE. OKE refers to a new and innovative patient room typology consisting of a classic patient room, an age-adapted children’s or adolescent’s room and a parental bed- and study room.
OKE, or parent-child room, is the abbreviation of the Dutch term Ouder-Kind-Eenheid (Parent-Child Unit). The individual zones convey a feeling of security and trust, they support the feeling of control and the development of autonomy. Depending on the well-being of the child, parent and child room can be separated acoustically and/or visually. Parents are the strongest emotional partner of the sick child and the decision-makers in the medical process. The architecture of the OKE recognises this dual role and optimally protects the health of the parents. In addition, the OKE has an important influence on the entire hospital architecture: it defines the grid structure of the building construction and 15% of the hospital area. The parent-child unit, OKE, sets new standards in pediatric hospital architecture worldwide. In 2012, it receives the Innovation Award of the Association of Dutch Health Insurers.