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First look at EMBT’s Barcelona Maggie’s Centre plans

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Work has started on a 400m² Maggie’s Centre in Barcelona, designed by Benedetta Tagliabue, the head of Spanish practice EMBT

The project, known as Kàlida Sant Pau, aims to ‘create a warm and welcoming environment’ for cancer patients at the Spanish city’s Hospital de la Santa Creu i Sant Pau.

The new building, due to complete next year, will provide a unique supportive and welcoming environment for up to 15,000 cancer patients every year.

The facility will sit between the hospital’s current operational buildings and its old campus.

The two-storey structure – intended as a garden pavilion – will feature an open and flexible ground-floor space, blurring the boundaries between inside and outside.

The building will also contain a central kitchen, library and large multipurpose room, with a paved area leading to the hospital’s oncology department.

It will be the third Maggie’s Centre to be built outside the UK, with centres already open in Hong Kong, designed by Frank Gehry, and Tokyo, designed by Cosmos More.

The Barcelona project will complete 18 years after Tagliabue’s husband, Enric Miralles, died of a brain tumour during construction of EMBT’s Scottish Parliament building.

Tagliabue said: ‘I remember Enric’s cancer period as a beautiful time in spite of everything. We had a very active life from the professional point of view, two small children and suddenly you come across the unexpected, what you never thought you would find, something that stops you in your tracks: A cancer diagnosis.

‘The philosophy behind Maggie’s is that a warm and welcoming environment full of light and space can help to lift the spirit. Maggie Keswick Jencks understood the importance of feeling cared for in a warm and welcoming environment.

‘That’s why we, the architects asked to realise her vision, must try our best to create a environment different from the stress of the hospital; a place where you feel at home. That will be Kàlida Sant Pau.’

Hospital de la Santa Creu i Sant Pau was founded in 1401, and later occupied a 19th-century Art Nouveau complex designed by Lluís Domènech i Montaner and designated a UNESCO world heritage site in 1997.

New hospital buildings were constructed in 2009 and the old site, known as the Modernista complex, was transformed into a research centre.

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