Today marks the official opening of the latest Maggie’s Centre in Nottingham, UK. A string of successful and considered units, Maggie’s Centres are designed to offer cancer patients and their families much needed support and understanding during their hospital stay and afterwards, separate from the institutional feel of many hospital complexes.
This is a landmark year for the Maggie’s charity which is celebrating its 15th year in operation in parallel with the completion of a 15th centre before the end of 2011. Maggie’s Nottingham has been designed by CZWG Architects Partner and WAN Juror Piers Gough in collaboration with interior designer Sir Paul Smith.
Each centre is unique in its architectural style yet retains the underlying concept of Maggie’s: “conventional comfort and rooms with a ‘home-like’ feel.” Gough’s now fully-functioning unit is comprised of four oval facades clad in green glazed ceramic tiles which help the building settle into its wooded site on the Nottingham City Hospital campus.
Gough explains: “The idea was to make a refuge, something slightly hidden away, nestling into the trees and away from the hospital. The building is almost perverse in its symmetry. The requirement of the brief seemed to me exactly symmetrical and it seemed intriguing to do a building that wasn’t free-form; the landscape around it is quite loose and free so the building could become symmetrical. The conceit is that the elevations are all ovals and they interlock like a Canadian log house. I hope that people will find it charming, something like a surprising home.”
This green-hued form incorporates two levels of internal space and a basement area with mature foliage, is square on plan and is set diagonally on a sloping site. In the majority of Maggie’s units visitors will enter the building directly into a social space or kitchen facility however Maggie’s Nottingham has the added bonus of a central lobby space reached by a bridge through the onsite trees and plants.
Internally there is a double-height kitchen, staff office, library, two communal sitting rooms, multiple consultation rooms, a day bedroom, two lavatories, and a sizeable meeting room. Many of these rooms also feature private balconies which offer intimate areas for quiet reflection whilst looking out over the quiet wooden surroundings and interior design of the entire building has been completed by talented designer Paul Smith with his signature stripes, tartan and floral printed fabrics.
Mandy McMahan, Centre Head Maggie's Nottingham details: “Design and architecture are very important to Maggie’s centres and to visitors because from the outside the buildings are striking and stunning, when people enter they come with a certain curiosity and what they’re met with is this beautiful light and this openness and beautiful lines.”