Support in Scotland

03 Oct 2011

OMA-designed Maggie's Cancer Centre opens at Gartnavel Royal Infirmary, Glasgow

OMA and the Maggie’s charity today open a new centre on the grounds of Gartnavel Royal Infirmary in Glasgow. Maggie’s is designed to provide emotional and psychological support to those affected by cancer in the greater Glasgow area.

A ring of loosely arranged interconnecting spaces contains counselling rooms, a large multipurpose space, a kitchen, dining room and offices. By avoiding a familiar configuration of insular rooms, the fluent spatial sequence at Maggie’s Gartnaval fosters the sense of empathetic community central to the Maggie’s philosophy. Lily Jencks, the daughter of Maggie’s founders Charles Jencks and Maggie Keswick Jencks, designed the landscaping for the internal courtyard and the surrounding wooded knoll with HarrisonStevens. Construction of Maggie’s was completed in under a year, and was funded by the sponsorship of the thousands who participated in sponsored Walk the Walk events.

The project was led by OMA Partners Rem Koolhaas and Ellen van Loon with Associate-in-charge Richard Hollington. Rem Koolhaas commented: “We were touched to be asked to design a Maggie’s Centre, and invigorated by the opportunity to work on a completely different scale, with different ambitions, and in a different environment. Maggie's is so unique and urgent among the projects we are working on.” Ellen van Loon added: “I enjoyed designing such an exceptional environment with this very dedicated and inspired team of designers and contractors. The sequence of spaces is an interplay of openness, retreat and support to underpin the Maggie’s programme.”

The fundamental precept that exceptional, conscientious architecture makes people feel better underpins the design of Maggie’s all across Europe. Conceived on a small scale but with high ambitions, the design of Maggie’s supplants the sterile and often alienating architecture of hospitals with an individual and warm environment for people suffering from cancer and their families. The charity celebrates its 15th birthday in 2011 and will open three new Maggie’s during the course of the year.

Maggie’s Gartnavel is OMA’s first completed work in the UK since the Serpentine Pavilion in 2006. Today’s opening is followed by the public unveiling on Thursday of OMA/Progress, a major exhibition of OMA’s work at the Barbican in London, curated by Rotor. A full-scale plan of Maggie’s will be located in the Barbican’s sculpture court during the exhibition. The OMA-designed New Court Rothschild Bank headquarters in London will also open later this year.

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