11 June 2020

Completion of Maggie’s Leeds

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Heatherwick Studio’s centre for Maggie’s, the charity that provides free practical and emotional support for people with cancer, was unveiled today. The 462 sq metre centre, located within the campus of St. James’s University Hospital in Leeds, is the charity’s 26th centre in the UK.

Maggie’s Leeds is designed as a group of three large-scale planters, built on a sloped site, that each enclose a counselling room. These surround the ‘heart’ of the centre – the kitchen – as well as more social spaces for group activities including a library and exercise room. 

Drawing upon the philosophy of Maggie’s and the belief that great design can help people feel better, Maggie’s Leeds uses several ‘healthy’ materials and energy-saving techniques. The rooftop garden is inspired by Yorkshire woodlands and features native English species of plants, alongside areas of evergreen to provide warmth in the winter months. Inspired by Maggie Keswick Jencks’ love of gardening, visitors are encouraged to participate in the care of the 23,000 bulbs and 17,000 plants on site.  

Thomas Heatherwick, Founder of Heatherwick Studio, said: “It’s been a tremendous experience and honour to design the Maggie’s centre in Leeds. Our aim was to build a home for people affected by cancer that would be soulful and welcoming, unlike other typical clinical environments. By only using natural, sustainable materials and immersing the building in thousands of plants, there was a chance for us to make an extraordinary environment capable of inspiring visitors with hope and perseverance during their difficult health journeys.

Maggie’s Leeds has been a very special project for me and my team because we are convinced that there are kinder, more empathic ways to design places that can have powerful impacts on the way that we feel. This is particularly important in the design of healthcare environments, but is so frequently overlooked.”

Laura Lee, Chief Executive of Maggie’s, said: It is fantastic to be bringing Maggie’s to Leeds at a time when people with cancer need our support more than ever. The centre has been designed beautifully on a challenging plot of land. We were so pleased that Heatherwick Studio were able to incorporate plenty of green space into their design, as we know that a connection to nature, as well as great architecture and design can have a huge impact on people’s health, both mentally and physically. We hope that people visiting the centre enjoy the planting and gardens by Balston Agius and feel comforted by the design and layout of the centre.”

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