Heatherwick Studio design given the green light
Maggie’s has been granted planning permission to build a new cancer support centre in the grounds of St James’s University Hospital in Leeds.
Designed by Heatherwick Studio, and to be run in partnership with Leeds Teaching Hospitals NHS Trust, the new facility will provide free support to anyone living with cancer and their families and friends, enhancing the services already offered by Leeds Cancer Support at the Sir Robert Ogden Macmillan Centre.
Laura Lee, chief executive of Maggie’s, said: “We’re absolutely thrilled to have been granted planning permission to bring a Maggie’s Centre to Yorkshire.
This is a significant milestone on the way to bringing this superb facility to complement our existing cancer services for patients from across the region
“Creating a calm and uplifting environment to enable us to be able to provide our programme of support to people living with cancer is incredibly important and Heatherwick Studio’s wonderful design will allow us to do just that.
“The Leeds Cancer Centre sees over 12,500 people newly diagnosed with cancer every year and we will aim to provide the highest quality of cancer support to the patients of St James’s University Hospital and their families.”
Dr Linda Pollard, chairman of Leeds Teaching Hospitals NHS Trust, added: “I am delighted that the plans for the new Maggie’s Centre here in Leeds are progressing so well. This is a significant milestone on the way to bringing this superb facility to complement our existing cancer services for patients from across the region.
“There is much work still to do but the signs are extremely promising and we are greatly looking forward to working with the team from Maggie’s to make their vision a reality.”
And patient, Sara Elhassani, from Chapel Allerton in Leeds, told BBH: "When I was first diagnosed with secondary breast cancer, there was an overriding sense that I was no longer in the land of the living, that I had been dismissed, almost pushed to the edge of the living world. It’s a horrible, scary feeling.
"After visiting the Maggie's Centres in Newcastle and Nottingham I felt a very strong need for the support the charity provides for all cancer types – somewhere you can just drop in and don’t have to book. The more your condition deteriorates, the more support you need.
“As cancer patients we spend much of our lives at the oncology department, so it’s important to have support closeby on the hospital grounds. It’s lovely to have somewhere to drop in whenever you choose.
"Maggie’s Centres are wonderful places for making you feel that you’re still part of the human race, that you belong, and are able to be yourself. I'm so pleased to hear there will be one in Yorkshire providing vital support for those who need it across the region."
Although Maggie’s Yorkshire is to be one of the largest Maggie’s Centres, the brief was to create a space that felt domestic.
To capture the calming experience of being among plants, the studio’s design developed as a collection of large garden planters, defining a building by enclosing a series of spaces between and within them. Their differing volumes draw the planting from the surrounding garden into and over the building itself.
Architect, Thomas Heatherwick, said: “We’re delighted to be working with Maggie’s to bring a centre to Yorkshire and to have the opportunity to create a positive environment for users and staff.
“The site is a small patch of green surrounded by the huge volumes of the existing hospital buildings. Instead of taking away the open space we wanted to make a whole building out of a garden.”
The site is a small patch of green surrounded by the huge volumes of the existing hospital buildings. Instead of taking away the open space we wanted to make a whole building out of a garden
To complement Heatherwick Studio’s design, the surrounding gardens are designed by award-winning landscape designers Marie-Louise Agius and Michael Balston of Balston Agius.
The external design is generated from the topography, building form, access and views, as well as roof usage. The external environment sets out to be in sympathy with the organic form of buildings. It seeks to provide both physical and psychological shelter.
A development of low-key woodland will be welcoming, grounding, and will celebrate the cycle of the seasons. It creates a familiar natural ambience with no intellectual challenge. Furthermore, it helps re-establish a lost landscape even though at a miniature scale. <,p>
At present the site is a tiny island of green, sterilised by mowing and located within a comprehensive blanket of building. But, with the enriching ecology of woodland as a prime generator of the overall design, and with new planting at both ground level and roof, the site becomes an oasis in the concrete desert.
The centre is due to open in 2017.