frank gehry completes another branch of maggie's center in hong kong frank gehry completes another branch of maggie's center in hong kong
mar 11, 2013

frank gehry completes another branch of maggie's center in hong kong

‘maggie’s center’ by frank gehry, hong kong, SAR, chinaimages courtesy of frank gehry and lily jencks



in an effort to preserve the joy of living, the charity ‘maggie’s centers‘ have created a series of buildings since the mid 1990’s dedicated to providing free emotional, practical and social support for cancer patients. this is an enlightened task of creating uplifting environments for cancer care, borne of an idea of maggie keswick jencks, wife of renown architectural theorist and landscape sculptor charles jencks. while maggie passed away after a battle with breast cancer in 1995, her legacy remains, with some of the world’s foremost architects continuing to build these hopeful, palliative structures. the latest of these intimate drop-in centers is a frank gehry-designed building in hong kong, the first complete international maggie’s center. this is gehry’s second design for the charity, a labor of personal investment both in his friendship with maggie and in his experience with the loss of his own daughter to cancer while completing the design. gehry hoped to create something ‘respectful and hopeful’ that speaks to the classical chinese gardens of suzhou, characterized by delicate water features and strategic pagodas.


targeted at the newly diagnosed, recently relapsed and terminally ill cancer patients, the architecture operates under the principal that people can take an active role in their treatment and that their immediate environment has a direct impact upon their well-being. sited nearby, but separate from the tuen mun hospital oncology unit, maggie’s center hong kong is a calming refuge separated from the dense city by a grove of mature delonix trees and a bamboo fence. the site strategy is that of a series of interconnected pavilions composed to encourage movement between the comfortable interiors and the quiet garden exterior. rooms open out to the surrounding pond and contain private terraces. the building becomes a bridge, dividing the pond into a component of the program. one side orients spaces toward the mountains, while the other sequence of private counseling areas directly overlooks the water. a public living and dining room is the focal point of the building, while the three meditative counseling spaces are accessible only by a short bridge. the paths lead to protected gardens filled with native flowering plants and trees. maggie’s daughter and landscape architect lily jencks took care to interpret her mother’s ideas in the intimate greenery, bringing an awareness of man’s place in nature with two walled garden rooms where families can gather in the shade of plumeria trees. landscape and the built form were integrated from the inception of the building; gehry’s playful rooftops complement an array of lush plants that, according to jencks, ‘represent the macrocosm of the universe within the microcosm of the landscape.’ in addition to providing free opportunities for relaxation, stress and symptom management, as well as emotional support, the architecture aims to facilitate the stages of healing in an informal, non-institutional context while allowing patients and families to discover and develop strength within themselves.




the center is surrounded by an ample grove image courtesy of frank gehry



playful rooflines complement two ponds and shaped greenery image courtesy of frank gehry



the quiet complex is close to but separated from the oncology unit at the hospital image courtesy of frank gehry



rooms face a pondimage courtesy of frank gehry and lily jencks



the architecture and landscape work to create shady, meditative areas for patients and families images courtesy of frank gehry



the center of the building is a public living and dining room images courtesy of frank gehry



consultation rooms face a second pond images courtesy of frank gehry and lily jencks



landscape was integral to the project images courtesy of frank gehry and lily jencks



site viewimages courtesy of frank gehry and lily jencks



construction view of the angled roof images courtesy of frank gehry and lily jencks



images courtesy of frank gehry



plan view of the landscape strategy image courtesy of  lily jencks




project info:


location: hong kong, SAR, china.type: cancer support centerstatus: opened march 7th 2013architect:  gehry partnerslandscape architect: lily jencks architecture + landscape with urbis HK

  • Looks like the Biomuseum in Panama.

    Bleisy says:

have something to add? share your thoughts in our comments section below.

comments policy
designboom's comment policy guidelines
generally speaking, if we publish something, it's because we're genuinely interested in the subject. we hope you'll share this interest and if you know even more about it, please share! our goal in the discussion threads is to have good conversation and we prefer constructive opinions. we and our readers have fun with entertaining ones. designboom welcomes alerts about typos, incorrect names, and the like.
the correction is at the discretion of the post editor and may not happen immediately.

what if you disagree with what we or another commenter has to say?
let's hear it! but please understand that offensive, inappropriate, or just plain annoying comments may be deleted or shortened.

- please do not make racist, sexist, anti-semitic, homophobic or otherwise offensive comments.
- please don't personally insult the writers or your fellow commenters.
- please avoid using offensive words, replacing a few letters with asterisks is not a valid workaround.
- please don't include your website or e-mail address in your comments for the purpose of self-promotion.
- please respect jury verdicts and do not discuss offensively on the competition results
(there is only one fist prize, and designboom usually asks renown professionals to help us to promote talent.
in addition to the awarded designs, we do feel that almost all deserve our attention, that is why we publish
the best 100-200 entries too.)

a link is allowed in comments as long as they add value in the form of information, images, humor, etc. (links to the front page of your personal blog or website are not okay). unwelcome links (to commercial products or services of others, offensive material etc. ) will be redacted. and, ... yes, spam gets banned. no, we do not post fake comments.

architecture news