The vision of late Hawke's Bay doctor Jim Tyler is being realised in a NZ-first development.
Hawke's Bay cancer wellness centre building project was launched with help from his 102-year-old widow Betty Tyler on Tuesday night.
The $6.5 million Orchard Rd development is being bankrolled by the Hawke's Bay Cancer Society with the aim of helping those struggling with the impact of cancer on their lives.
"What a long way we have come ... from our sitting room to this wonderful new project that will make such a difference to so many," Betty Tyler said.
"Jim would have loved to see this project happening."
The centre's executive committee president, Melissa Horsefield, said it would enable the Cancer Society to grow and extend its supportive care services to the region.
She said statistics indicated there will be a 50 per cent increase in the number of New Zealanders affected by cancer in the next 15 years. But unlike in the past, "cancer no longer means a death sentence".
The proposed building will provide care and support for the mind, body and spirit. It has been modelled off similar services overseas and will be a first in the country.
Invited guests were given the opportunity to have a virtual walk through of the new premises.
Paris Magdalinos Architects associate and project architect Ezra Kelly said the main focus was to create a "safe space" which did not have the feeling of going in for an appointment.
"It has got to feel like a house ... to help break down that formality."
Unlike most health-related buildings, it will not have a reception, rather echoing the design of a house.
"Along the edge of the building, there are a series of nooks where you can be alone, be with others, and have privacy but not feel isolated. It draws a balance."
Central Districts divisional lead and supportive care co-ordinator Pauline Farquhar said it was the place to be with people who know what you are going through.
"A place to reflect, take a breathe and try to make sense of what is happening."