Zaha Hadid's striking design for cancer centre
The Maggie’s Centre Fife provides a resource and counselling centre for people with cancer. It is domestic in scale but unique in execution. The design is Zaha Hadid’s response to a brief set by Maggie’s, which challenged her to create a relaxed and aesthetically uplifting environment, where additional support outside of the more clinical hospital environment could be provided for those affected by cancer to build a life beyond cancer.
Externally the form of the Centre derives from a folding surface and a connecting ground slab. The folding surface articulates a
directional emphasis of moving the visitor into a different space from the rest of the hospital grounds. By cladding the visible roof and
two opposing walls with the same material and making the remaining elevations a mix of translucent and clear glass, the directional
nature of this form is reinforced. Large overhangs of the roof are used to extend the building into the landscape on both sides. These
overhangs protect the entrance doors on the north side whilst on the south side they provide solar shading to the glass elevation and
partially cover the terrace.
Internally the arrangement of rooms is centered on an open plan kitchen with offi ces on the north elevation adjacent to the entrance. To
offer privacy, the rooms to the east have a semi opaque façade. Visitors to Maggie’s Fife will have an unobstructed view through the
centre to the south facing glass elevation to the hidden natural landscape of the hollow.
The internal central space is kept as open and column free as possible. A ramp connects the main space to a lower platform containing
the fl exi-hall. A system of shutters and sliding doors allows this space to be separated from the rest of the centre.
The southern facing façade is floor-to-ceiling glazing with windows and doors allowing direct access to the terrace. The extension of the
roof beyond the glazing and terrace gives a continuity between the inside / outside spaces. Triangular roof and wall skylights are scattered
over the building to allow views, light and continuity of form into the space.