Maggie's St Bart's Opens to Patients
The Maggie’s Centre Barts, designed by Steven Holl Architects in partnership with JM Architects, celebrates its opening today. Maggie’s Barts, sited in central London, will provide free practical and emotional support for people living with cancer and their family and friends.
Conceived as a three-story “urban townhouse,” the new Centre has been designed to be full of open space and light. The exterior works in harmony with the interior, allowing natural light to wash over the floors and walls, ever-changing through the natural daylight pattern of the seasons. The building is envisioned as a “vessel within a vessel within a vessel.” 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 organised in horizontal bands like a musical staff, recalling “neume notation” of Medieval music of the 13th century. The new type of polychrome insulating glass was developed especially for the Centre in close collaboration with glass manufacturer Okalux.
The glass facade geometry follows the geometry of the main interior stair along the north facade, while lifting up with clear glass facing the main square. Inside, the open curved staircase is integral to the concrete frame with open spaces vertically lined in bamboo. There is a second entry on the west opening to the extended garden of the adjacent church. The building tops out in a public roof garden open to a large room for yoga, Tai Chi, meetings etc. The garden will be open to patients, staff and the public and will be maintained by Maggie’s. The interior character of this building is shaped by colored light washing the floors and walls, changing by the time of day and season. Interior lighting is organized to allow the colored lenses together with the translucent white glass of the facade to present a new, joyful, glowing presence on this corner of the great square of St. Bartholomew’s Hospital.
Laura Lee, Maggie’s Chief Executive said, “It is with great pride that we can announce the opening of Maggie’s Barts. The Centre helps us to extend Maggie’s vital practical and emotional support to more people across the capital.” She added, “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.”
A short film from the opening of the centre can be viewed here
For more information on the project and to see photographs by Iwan Baan visit the website of Steven Holl Architects