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Heatherwick: ‘A Maggie’s centre is one of the hardest briefs’

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Thomas Heatherwick has spoken out about his plans for a new centre for Maggie’s in Leeds

Speaking at a sell-out talk held in aid of the cancer care charity at the Royal Geographical Society last week, Heatherwick gave the first glimpse of his proposals for the centre in the grounds of St James’s University Hospital in Leeds.

Heatherwick, who said he ‘had always wanted to build a Maggie’s centre’ said the studio was working on ‘making the building as unbuildingy as possible’.

His plans will bring greenery to the urban site, and will connect the centre to the hospital’s existing oncology wing with a landscaped walkway.

Speaking about his plans, Heatherwick said: ‘We are exploring how something can have meaning, understand the scale of the space around it, and add value to the hospital.’

‘These buildings have a phenomenally intimate relationship.’

He added: ‘Gardens have become more and more important to Maggie’s. We want to bring nature into the site.’

The centre will be built next to the hospital’s £220 million Bexley Wing and sit among a number of multi-storey buildings on a sloping site with a height difference of around 6m.

Maggie’s chief executive Laura Lee, said the infill site was ‘one of the most challenging sites we have ever built a Maggie’s on.’

Heatherwick has visited the Richard Murphy-designed Maggie’s centre in Edinburgh as part of his preparation for the project.

The Yorkshire Maggie’s Centre is set to open in 2016.

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