The Endeavour Unit

The Endeavour Unit is a standalone oncology treatment centre located at The James Cook University Hospital in Middlesborough. The unit houses three state-of-the-art £1.5 million linear accelerators (LINAC) machines, used to give accurate, high-dose radiation treatment to cancer patients. Picto partnered with Interserve and P+HS Architects on the £35 million award-winning NHS project.

Working with:

Client: South Tees Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust
Architect: P+HS Architects
Contractor: Interserve


The project timeline:

January 2011:

Appointed by Interserve
March 2011:

Signs for refurbished chemotherapy unit in main hospital
June 2011:

Internal signage for The Endeavour Unit
August 2011:

External signage for The Endeavour Unit

A wayfinding sign showing directions to various locations within the Endeavour Unit
A way out sign above a doorway showing the way
A slider sign on a door showing whether the room is occupied
A sign for the lift showing a wheelchair icon to highlight the location

Large format pictograms are used to define key areas off the central waiting area.

A coffee cup with steam plaque above a doorway depicting the entrance to the café
Icon plaques on a wall showing the direction of bathroom access
A staff room label sign on a door
A wheelchair logo on a door depicting the use of the bathroom
A small sign showing instructions for bathroom use
An externall wall sign highlighting the name of the building - The Endeavour Unit
An external wall sign with a cycle logo showing the directions to the cycle store
The external main sign showing the name South Tees Hospital NHS Foundation Trust

What our client said:

“We wanted to achieve something that had a bit of a ‘wow factor’ and improved the patients’ environment drastically. What we wanted was something that was really good for cancer patients, so it improved their experience. We visited other places, looked at what we liked and what we didn’t and pulled those ideas together. We got the architects to go with us, so our ideas didn’t lose anything in translation. Now, we have something as calming as possible.”

Fiona Milnes | Radiotherapy Services Team Leader

The Endeavour Unit

At the planning stages of the project for The Endeavour Unit, South Tees Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust invested time in researching other healthcare facilities to create a clear idea of what was needed. Their vision was to create a non-institutional, light and tranquil environment for patients receiving radiation treatment.

Sensitive signage for a healthcare setting

Working with the client’s vision for The Endeavour Unit, we developed a wayfinding and signage system based on the standard NHS specification, and softened to create a non-institutional, non-clinical result that was sensitive to the needs of both patients and visitors.

Careful placement prevents visual overload

The design of the building is based around a central waiting room area, which makes it easy to navigate the space and reduces the number of signs needed.

We developed signage that included easily recognisable pictograms to identify key facilities and used clear and concise language.

The display of contemporary artwork both inside and outside The Endeavour Unit creates a feeling of calm, which is enhanced by the natural light that floods the building and improves the patient experience.

Advanced treatment represented by a high-quality finish

The choice of materials specified for this project was critical as the client emphasised the need for us to use long-lasting, high-quality finishes within the interior.

Externally we sourced a special bronze finish for the signage, which ties in with the external detailing of the building.

Turning a problem into a solution

The building elevation chosen for a large Trust feature sign was backed up by an integral part of the unit’s radiotherapy bunkers: a solid concrete wall. The impenetrable concrete created a problem when planning how to install the necessary wiring and transformers needed for the halo illuminated letters. We overcame this by adding an underline to the NHS Foundation Trust’s title, turning a potential problem into a practical design detail.