The new Maggie’s Lanarkshire Centre has been designed by Reiach & Hall Architects to be a peaceful place for people to drop into during and after treatment. The Centre can be found close by the main hospital building at Monklands Hospital and close to the site of the new state-of-the-art radiotherapy satellite centre currently being built.
In 1964 Airdrie House was demolished to make way for the Monklands District General Hospital. The new hospital is typical of its time, a stratified economic diagram of concrete and glass. While the tree belt survived the demolition of the old house, over time the hospital’s insatiable car parking needs spread, invading the once verdant northern edge, leaving it eroded and vulnerable. The site for the Maggie’s Cancer Caring Centre is located on one of these Northern car park areas.
The new Maggie’s centre is a light, spacious, calming environment. Set in a wooded area to the north of the hospital grounds the building, designed to ape a dappled woodland glade, provides many calm and peaceful spaces where people can seek advice from expert staff. There are also larger areas where visitors can enjoy greater access to a more comprehensive programme such as Tai Chi and relaxation. The building is enclosed by a large walled garden that slopes down to the east where generous terraces give way to a lawn.
The building plan is perforated with four small sheltered courts. The two central courts at the very heart of the building are animated by two highly polished gold perforated metal light catchers. They hover over the two central courtyards reflecting sunlight onto the floor of the courts.
A simple steel framed structure disciplines the plan, defining and creating an intimate scale. The plan configuration and the detailed design of the timber partitions allows more private spaces and rooms to either open up to the central sequence of public rooms or close down to create confidential moments. The steel frame is in-filled in timber. The overall material palette is muted and soft, blonde Finnish birch to walls, limed oak to floors and white stained pine to ceilings.
The journey through the building emerges out into a large walled garden made from Danish hand-made brock that slopes down to the east; generous terraces give way to a richly planted garden that in time will create its own pockets of space for quiet reflection or conversation.
The wall is designed to offer a degree of separation from the hospital grounds but through its pierced nature, its human scale and the haptic quality of its materiality this break is subtle and in places even marginal. The architects aim to create a sense of groundedness and rich material quality in the making of the garden walls with their irregular handmade brick, patterned coursing and thick mortar joints.
The landscape around the Maggie’s Lanarkshire building has been created by RankinFraser Landscape Architecture.