World renowned architect Richard Rogers has used a principle recognised as an aid to wellbeing since Roman times in a new, free, drop-in centre for anyone living with cancer.
Just as today, the ancient civilisation saw the kitchen as the heart of the home. It also believed that internal, daylit courtyards were healthy. Rogers has applied such thoughtful, domestic ideas in the first London Maggie’s Cancer Caring Centre, which opens 29 April in Hammersmith.
At a modest 4,000sq ft, the building keeps a homely scale. People are drawn in through airy spaces and indoor and outdoor gardens, towards the kitchen, where it is possible to sit around a table and chat.
Other modern principles of healthy building include natural ventilation, underfloor heating and light. A flow of indoor-outdoor spaces helps promote relaxation, enhanced by scented gardens and glades by designer Dan Pearson.
Since 1996, five Maggies have opened in Scotland, but this is the first of seven for England and Wales. On a busy triangular corner site on Fulham Palace Road, the cheerful red building with its raised, glazed roof is a calm and green walk-in place surrounded by trees.
Maggie’s are walk-in. They were the idea of Maggie Keswick Jencks, are funded by donation, and designed by architects such as Zaha Hadid and Frank Gehry.