steven holl architects has partnered with jmarchitects to design the newly opened ‘maggie’s centre barts’, a three-storey healthcare facility sited in central london. the building serves as a public community center, providing free practical and emotional support for people living with cancer as well as their family and friends. with light-filled rooms and a community garden, the venue offers a series of meditative and tranquil spaces.


the three-storey healthcare facility has been conceived as an ‘urban townhouse’
image © iwan baan (also main image)

 

 

designed by steven holl architects in collaboration jmarchitects, the maggie’s centre allows natural light to enter the building freely, facilitated by a translucent glass façade. the structure is a branching concrete frame, the inner layer is bamboo and the outer layer is matte white glass. ‘the exterior glass with colored glass fragments is organized in horizontal bands like a musical staff, recalling ‘neume notation’ of medieval music of the 13th century,’ explain the architects. ‘the word neume originates from the greek pnevma, which means ‘vital force’. it suggests a ‘breath of life’ that fills oneself with inspiration like a stream of air, the blowing of the wind.’

steven holl maggies centre
the exterior glass with colored glass fragments is organized in horizontal bands like a musical staff
image © iwan baan

 

 

sited next to st. bartholomew’s — the UK’s oldest hospital, which was founded in 1123 — the building has a historically charged location. the new building is distinctively modern, yet allows for a seamless integration with the adjacent square by providing fluid access to the long-standing garden and courtyard. the glass façade follows the geometry of the main interior stair along the north façade, while lifting up with clear glass at its corner.

steven holl maggies centre
the building is sited next to the oldest hospital in london, which was founded in 1123
image © iwan baan

 

 

a second entry leads to the extended garden of the adjacent church. interior lighting is organized to allow the colored lenses — together with the translucent white glass of the façade — to present a new, joyful, glowing presence on the corner of the great square. the building tops out with a roof garden open to patients, staff, and the public. a large room for yoga and other activities will be joined to a lush open-air garden maintained by the center. 

steven holl maggies centre
the venue serves as a public community center, providing free practical and emotional support
image © iwan baan

 

 

‘the centre helps us to extend maggie’s vital practical and emotional support to more people across the capital,’ says laura lee, maggie’s chief executive. ‘steven holl’s design is a perfect blend of old and new and sits beautifully next to the historical hospital site. with its colored glass and peaceful roof garden, designed by darren hawkes, I am sure the centre will provide a safe haven for people living with cancer and their family and friends across the east of london’.

steven holl maggies centre
meditative and tranquil spaces have been designed for cancer patients as well as their families
image © iwan baan

 

 

see designboom’s previous coverage of other maggie’s centres here, and for more information visit the official website

steven holl maggies centre
carefully positioned apertures provide external views
image © iwan baan

steven holl maggies centre
rooms are organized around a central atrium
image © iwan baan

steven holl maggies centre
bamboo has been used throughout the scheme
image © iwan baan

steven holl maggies centre
the building tops out with a roof garden open to patients, staff, and the public
image © iwan baan

steven holl maggies centre
the project was designed by steven holl in collaboration jmarchitects
image © iwan baan

steven holl maggies centre
see designboom’s previous coverage of other maggie’s centres here
image © iwan baan

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