Heatherwick Studio’s center for Maggie’s, the charity that provides free practical and emotional support for people with cancer, was unveiled earlier last month. The 462 square meter center, located within the campus of St. James’s University Hospital in Leeds, is the charity’s 26th center in the UK and the first completed healthcare project designed by the studio.
According to the designers, Maggie’s Leeds is designed as a group of three large-scale planters, built on a sloped site, that each enclose a counseling room. These surround the ‘heart’ of the centre – the kitchen – as well as more social spaces for group activities including a library and exercise room.
Drawing upon the philosophy of Maggie’s and the belief that great design can help people feel better, Maggie’s Leeds uses several ‘healthy’ materials and energy-saving techniques. The building’s structure is built from a prefabricated and sustainably-sourced spruce timber system. Porous materials such as lime plaster help to maintain the internal humidity of the naturally- ventilated building, which has been achieved through careful consideration of the building’s form and orientation.
Thomas Heatherwick, Founder of Heatherwick Studio, said: “It’s been a tremendous experience and honor to design the Maggie’s center in Leeds. Our aim was to build a home for people affected by cancer that would be soulful and welcoming, unlike other typical clinical environments. By only using natural, sustainable materials and immersing the building in thousands of plants, there was a chance for us to make an extraordinary environment capable of inspiring visitors with hope and perseverance during their difficult health journeys.”