BlogTour London 2012 charity partner Maggie’s Centres have made a mission of providing care and support to people and families affected by cancer. The co-founder and inspiration behind the organization, Maggie Keswick Jencks, became aware of architecture and design’s affect on a patient’s mentality when she herself was suffering from cancer and had only the dismal corridors and bleak rooms of the hospital to retreat to. Thus Maggie’s Cancer Caring Treatment Centres were conceived – beautiful and peaceful spaces that offered an escape from the hospital while providing support and information. Maggie’s cancer treatment centre by Piers Gough of CZWG with interiors by Sir Paul Smith is inspirational. Now that’s an over used word but I defy anyone with an interest in design and its impact on people’s lives to look at these pictures and watch the video without a sense of the passion behind this project and the knowledge that talented people have used their undoubted ability to improve the lives of our fellow human beings. And that goes for everyone at Maggie’s Cancer Caring Centres as well.
The building, which is just by the main Nottingham City Hospital is light, playful and welcoming. The upper structure of green ceramic tiles perches over a basement and is surrounded by plants and trees. From the inside the views are calm and relaxing. From the outside, although the building is striking and memorable if offers no windows for the curious bystander to gaze through. All of these details have been thoughtfully considered.
Sir Paul Smith’ vision for the interior picks up where the buildings exterior leaves off. The near symmetrical design and generous height of Maggie’s Nottingham allows the building to have a sense of space and balance. Balconies extend from the kitchen and sitting rooms and provide places from which to look out onto the surrounding landscape. Scent and texture within the landscape help to create a secluded and uplifting area for people to enjoy. Volume ceilings add to the sense of calm and space and light, airy and cheerful interior colors paired with soft, natural wood tones define these spaces as friendly, soothing and anything but institutional.
Many physicians agree that in working with cancer patients the treatment of the condition is as important as the treatment of the psyche to allow the body to fight the disease and this is a wonderful example of the impact interior design and architecture can have on physical and emotional well being to an extent even that can save lives.
Our utmost respect and admiration to everyone involved in the project. All images are by Martine Hamilton Knight and the following video which, like its subject, stands head and shoulders above so much that we are sent, is by Living Projects.