Will Wimshurst of Rogers, Stirk, Harbour + Partners explains the design of Maggie’s Centre, Hammersmith
Interview: Ivan Harbour, project director, Rogers Stirk Harbour + Partners
A two-storey cancer support centre in the heart of London, this building aims to provide information and support as well as a sense
of peace and seclusion for visitors. In the grounds of Charing Cross Hospital, it was designed in a ‘non-institutional’ style and features internal courtyards and landscaped gardens.
What was the inspiration behind the design of this building?
The creation of a building to form its own distinct spaces – both internally and externally – coupled with the need to address the challenges of a difficult corner site on a busy London road which is dominated by the huge Charing Cross Hospital located immediately behind it.
What was the relationship like between yourselves and the client?
Inspirational. Maggie’s were very appreciative and encouraging. In terms of the practicalities of the relationship, for a time Maggie’s staff were occupying our offices in Hammersmith, so regular meetings were easy to arrange!
Describe your experience of the jury visit. Were there any nerves or tricky questions?
It was a very pleasant, positive experience. Jury members genuinely wanted to understand the design and the nature of our collaboration with Maggie’s.
What would it mean to you and your practice if this building was to win the Stirling Prize?
It would be a great recognition. However, it would also provide a positive endorsement for what Maggie’s is doing to help provide people with cancer and their families and friends with places which are the antithesis of the conventional hospital environment.
Which other project would you pick to win?
Bodegas Protos. It’s brilliant that the judges have recognised an agro-industrial building as a contender for this year’s prize.
Where do you stand on the debate over whether architecture has the power
to improve health?
Architects often talk about how buildings impact on the people who visit them; in this case, I have witnessed the impact myself
on many occasions and it has been both extremely moving and encouraging.
Start on site October 2006
Completion date April 2008
Gross internal floor area 370m2
Form of contract JCT98 without quantities
Total cost £2.1 million
Cost per m2 £5,676
Client Maggie’s (Laura Lee)
Architect Rogers Stirk Harbour + Partners
Structural engineer Arup
Services engineer Turner & Townsend
Main contractor ROK
Landscape architect Dan Pearson Studio
Lighting consultant Speirs and Major
Access consultant Vin Goodwin
Annual CO2 emissions Not supplied