Maggie's inspires Danish design

Wednesday 14 Oct 2009

Spread of Maggie's Centre concept adds weight to architecture's part in health improvements

The Municipality of Copenhagen has been inspired by the renowned Maggie's Cancer Care charity, which highlights architecture's role in healthcare and rehabilitation, choosing a similar concept for a Centre in Copenhagen.

Maggie's was the brainchild and legacy of Maggie Keswick Jencks, writer, landscape designer and late wife of architect Charles Jencks. In her final 18 months before she died from breast cancer, Maggie, holding a profound belief that architecture and environment can affect the way you feel, highlighted a need for a kind of care and support for people living with cancer and drew up a blueprint for a centre in a stable block near where she was being treated. She also took this time to work with Frank Gehry on a landscape project he was conducting in California and on her passing, he designed the first new-build Maggie's Centre in Dundee, in her honour, which gained many awards and inspired interest from a host of architecture's greatest talent to continue the good work throughout the UK.

Using this model as inspiration, Copenhagen dedicated €5.4million and outlined a design competition to build a Healthcare Centre for cancer patients in the city to be run in collaboration with the Danish Cancer Society. NORD Architects have just been announced as the winners with a design that utilises, space, natural light and outdoor gardens to encourage a positive mind. Deyan Sudjic had said of a Maggie's Centre, "This is a place that feels as if it's about life, rather than death…it's a place of reassurance and respite," and this is the principle of the design.

At 1,800 sq m the building in the Nørrebro district of Copenhagen will provide a relaxed and homely space where patients with cancer and their families canreceive counselling and rehabilitation. Concept images show sun terraces, courtyard gardens and surprisingly, even a rock climbing wall. NORD Architects is renowned for user involvement processes and the development of visions, strategies andinnovative designs so it is expected the designs will develop with primary research.

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