Looking out over the Tay estuary from the comforting atmosphere of the Maggie’s tower, a feeling of calm and tranquillity embraces cancer patients.
Maggie’s Centres provide a response with trained staff and other patients to offer support in positive surroundings.
World-renowned American architect, Frank Gehry, took the brief to design the Maggie’s Centre at Ninewell’s Hospital, Dundee, as a very personal project to pay homage to Maggie Jencks who was a close family friend. As his first building in Britain, Gehry encompasses his style of the Bilbao Guggenheim into a smaller scale for the Maggie’s Centre. Appointed as Associate Architects, James F. Stephen Architects worked with Gehry to produce the working drawings and run the project through to completion. The building itself has a domestic feel and the open plan of the lobby, reception, office and library space also allows for the adjacent relaxation room and dining/kitchen area to be part of the open plan. The new Maggie’s Centre occupies an elevated site located to the south west of the Oncology department at Ninewell’s and the occupants can enjoy views over the Invergowrie Bay towards Fife and along the Carse of Gowrie.
The finishing details were carefully chosen for their specific qualities. The ceiling of the lower level of the building reveals an exposed plywood vertebrae of the roof beams. These are formed of laminated multi-plywood which is bent in two directions, essential for the curves in plan and section.
The Maggie’s Centre responds excellently to the brief and its location and in the words of Charles Jencks, “is inspiring and risk-taking, like we ask our patients to be”.