Foster and Holl selected for next Maggie’s Centers

Courtesy of

Steven Holl and Norman Foster have been chosen to design the next two Maggie’s Cancer Caring Centers in the United Kingdom. As reported by bdonline, Foster will design in his hometown of south Manchester at the Christie hospital, while Holl will design at the St. Bartholomew’s (Barts) hospital in London. This will be Holl’s second UK project, following the Glasgow School of Art.

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Courtesy of Architects

Foster has not yet started working on the designs; however, Holl has started the schematic phase with his iconic watercolor studies. They reveal a spacious bamboo interior and yoga garden for the London center. These watercolors are currently on display at the Royal Academy’s Summer Exhibition.

There are ten completed Maggie’s centers in the UK. CZWG’s center in Nottingham and OMA’s center in Glasgow both opened in mid 2012, while Kisho Kurokawa’s at the Singleton Hospital in Swansea opened last December.

In 2009, Rogers Stirk Harbour & Partners won the Stirling Prize for its Maggie’s center Charing Cross Hospital.

Reference: BD Online, Steven Holl Architects

Cite: Rosenfield, Karissa. "Foster and Holl selected for next Maggie’s Centers" 13 Jun 2012. ArchDaily. Accessed 23 May 2015. <>
  • Andrew

    I don’t understand Holl’s watercolors. They don’t really convey a sense of the space in an intangible way. They’re not process or material explorations (because they’re literally drawings of a building). They’re not even particularly GOOD watercolors…he’s not particularly good with the medium. Why are they held up like manna from heaven?

    • sara

      yup. what andrew said.

      arch daily needs a discussion board. comments seem to have gotten lost in the facebook and tweeter feeds. Andrew is pointing to a larger delusion in our profession especially “post” recession. I fear any really dialogue will be lost and this post will have only 2 comments since no one wants to know “who did the rendering”….

      great comment andrew

    • H-J

      Whatever works…

    • Robb

      Thats just his shtick. It’s all about branding. Just like Libeskinds’ “Chamberworks” sketches.

  • Zsolt

    Andrew, you are wright – Holl’s watercolour technique is not particularly good. However, I’ve seen many of his sketches and can say firmly they do convey a sense of space. In fact, many of his finished buildings express exactly the same space and light effects he determined through his “clumsy looking” sketches.
    I don’t think that the above mentioned “iconic studies” are meant to be interpreted as manna from heaven, they are simply characteristic for Holl’s workflow and are immediately recognized as his own. He explores space with their help and he makes them for his own (design team’s) purposes.
    Bottom line, sketches and studies can look like a 5-year-old’s doodles if they hold that specific information that will allow the project to step in the next phase. All that said, I really do enjoy his style, I sense some relaxed thinking process in them with a very personalized set of rules.

    • Andrew

      I don’t mean to criticize the clumsiness of the sketches because I want to see beautiful photo-realistic watercolors. I’m just unfamiliar with his process…how many of these watercolors does he produce for each project? I could imagine the above watercolors being 2 of 100 pages he created while exploring the spatial possibilities…is that the case?

      Anyway, I think I’d have more faith in the them if they were simply hard-lined drawings of architectural form with splashes of color meant to convey some depth or lightness. If they conveyed some more emotional intensity, or some more intangible quality of the space, that’d be one thing. But he draws the furniture!

      • sf

        yeah..but he does not need to work nor take advice from you…so there is that as well.

  • helios AD

    I saw in an interview that he draws those watercolour sketches every morning, first thing after he wakes up. He said he just draws pretty loosely and they may or may not relate to the project(s) he’s working on at the time.

    • David Basulto

      He evens sketches while traveling, and captures the drawings with his iPhone to share them with his office.

      • simon

        doesn’t everyone sketch ? why is this so unique, because he breaks out the water color? okay its his process or done while looking at a render or finished photo… who cares. the sketch just shows what he literally wants…its not poetic and its not art.

  • Kyle

    Why is everyone getting all up tight about his watercolours? If your expecting photo realism then you will have to wait until renderings are made. I’m guessing he does the sketches to form ideas and simply because he enjoys it. They don’t have to be pretty, they just have to be good enough to get an idea across.

  • Elizaveta Trofimova

    If he be a professional I would expect his sketches to be better(it has nothing to do with photorealism) however well ideas are expressed or however good these ideas are.

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  • Allan

    I think it’s intuitive automatic sketching with no mind active, like in a sleep, getting ideas from the “under”. With no mind included the hand is supposed to write it’s own story and the result may be messy.