In Britain, the Maggie's Cancer Caring Centres are residences built near oncology hospitals where cancer patients can get information, comfort and support. The centres are run by a British non-profit organisation in memory of architect Maggie Keswick Jencks, deceased in 1995. All the centres have been designed by famous architects amongst whom Frank Gehry, Zaha Hadid, Richard Rogers and OMA whose examples show how good architecture can also be a valuable part of care.
For the Maggie's Centre in Airdrie, Scotland, the architectural studio Reiach and Hall Architects were asked to create a place that offers temporary respite and shelter from the outside world but at the same time still be a part of it. The key element is an apparently simple architectonic structure: a wall.
The wall, designed by Reiach and Hall Architects, defines an enclosure that contains, protects and hides from the external world yet does not completely separate it from reality. The outside world and the hospital is just on the other side of it, visible through the masonry filter made from Danish hand-made bricks. Inside the enclosure, the Maggie's Centre is a low building made up of a succession of comfortable rooms, both private and shared, which receive natural light thanks to two small internal courtyards.
Project: Reiach and Hall Architects
Location: Airdrie, Scotland UK
Images courtesy of RIBA, photo by David Grandorge, Tricia Malley Ross Gillespie