Construction has finally started on a new Maggie’s Centre designed by Heatherwick Studio, in the grounds of St James’s University Hospital in Leeds
The Maggie’s Yorkshire centre will be one of the cancer care charity’s largest so far, and will feature a series of ‘stepped planters’ which will provide both shared and private spaces.
The building was approved in 2015 and originally planned to open in 2017, but is not now expected to complete until early next year (2019). The budget is understood to be around £6 million.
The scheme will be built next to the hospital’s Bexley Wing among a number of multistorey buildings. It will replace a small island of grass within the built-up site.
Practice principal Thomas Heatherwick said: ‘We’re delighted to work with Maggie’s to bring a centre to Yorkshire and to have the opportunity to create a positive environment which will help calm minds and foster a sense of well-being.
‘The building will combine the qualities of a garden with shared and private spaces.’
To complement Heatherwick’s design, the surrounding gardens are being created by award-winning landscape designer Marie-Louise Agius of Balston Agius.
Agius said she intended to create ‘an oasis in the concrete desert’ through planting a woodland of trees and creating planted roof spaces.
Heatherwick is the latest in a long line of high-profile designers commissioned by Maggie’s. Others who have designed centres for the charity include Norman Foster, Frank Gehry, Richard Rogers, Zaha Hadid and this year’s Jane Drew Prize winner Amanda Levete.
Interior visual of 2015 iteration of the scheme
The designer’s view
The building’s innovative design consists of a series of contained gardens that will capture the therapeutic effect of plants and contrast with the more formal surrounding hospital buildings. The design will create a warm, informal interior space as well as an inspiring exterior to encourage positivity among centre visitors and passers-by.
The building will take the form of a collection of stepped planter elements, each holding a piece of garden, bringing the planting into and over the building itself. Shared and private internal spaces will be playfully created between and within the planters.