Heatherwick’s design for cancer center branch has ‘healing power’

All Maggie’s Centres are “the antithesis of drab and oppressive,” writes Matt Hickman for the Mother Nature Network

June 16, 2015 |
Heatherwick’s design for cancer center branch has ‘healing power’

Heatherwick will work with landscape designer Marie-Louise Agius of Balston Agius to complete the verdant plan and take advantage of the therapeutic effect of plants. Renderings courtesy of Heatherwick Studio. 

Last week Thomas Heatherwick unveiled his design for a Maggie’s cancer-care center in Yorkshire, England, Dezeen reports.

The design resembles a collection of plant-filled pots, aimed to take advantage of the therapeutic effect of plants. Once completed, which is scheduled for 2017, the Yorkshire location will join 18 other Maggie’s Centre branches that have been designed by prominent architects including Snøhetta, OMA, and Richard Rogers.

"Instead of taking away the open space, we wanted to make a whole building out of a garden," Heatherwick told Dezeen about his plan. "The design developed as a collection of large planters defining the building by enclosing a series of shared and private spaces between them."

Though all centers are drastically different, they all have “healing power” in common. Architecture columnist  Matt Hickman writes in the Mother Nature Network, “Maggie's Centres provide ‘practical, emotional and social’ support to cancer patients and their families in joyously non-clinical environments that could easily be described as architecturally stunning: bold, beautiful, uplifting, challenging, welcoming, the antithesis of drab and oppressive." 

Hickman adds that the well-designed buildings “[instill] patients and their loved ones with a sense of optimism and positivity,” instead of inducing boredom and dread.

The Yorkshire location is planned to offer psychological support, benefits advice, nutrition workshops, relaxation and stress management, art therapy, tai chi, and yoga.

To complete the verdant plan, Heatherwick will work with landscape designer Marie-Louise Agius of Balston Agius. 

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