Copious biophilic elements abound in the most recent Maggie’s centre located in the campus of St James’s University Hospital, Leeds. The charity provides support to people suffering with cancer and was the brainchild of Margaret Keswick Jencks and her husband Charles Jencks.
This is the first healthcare project completed by Heatherwick Studios and the 26th Maggie’s Centre in the UK (previous collaborations have been with the architects Zaha Hadid, Richard Rogers and Frank Gehry). The centre provides counselling rooms, a library, an exercise room and social spaces, all surrounding the heart of the building; the kitchen.
The interior spaces ooze biophilic design with the plethora of plants in wicker covered pots, arching fins of natural spruce wood and glazed outer walls overlooking tree filled gardens. Balston Agius, the landscape architects who designed the gardens have used trees native to Yorkshire, together with evergreen plants to provide interest during the winter months. Visitors are encouraged to help look after the plants, the charity recognising the restorative affects of nature.
‘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.
We sincerely hope users of the space will feel Heatherwick has achieved this goal.