A legal challenge against Steven Holl's design for the new Maggie's Centre at St Bart's Hospital in London has been dropped, after Holl and Maggie's agreed to change the design. The challenge was brought by the Friends of the Great Hall, a group that has been campaigning against Holl's design and arguing that it would have a detrimental effect on the adjacent Great Hall designed by James Gibb in the 18th century.
The changes involve opening access to the Maggie's Centre via the Great Hall, allowing people in the Great Hall to use the secondary staircase of the Maggie's Centre for circulation and a set of toilets that will be added to the previously unused basement in Holl's design. According to BD Online, the Friends of the Great Hall say these changes take the best ideas from a rival scheme by Hopkins Architects, which the Friends commissioned and controversially won planning permission for in April, months before the official scheme.
According to the Architects' Journal, the changes to the design will not be substantial enough to require a new planning application, however BD Online reports that they will have to be approved by the City of London Corporation before construction can go ahead. The changes will also have an effect on the design of Donald Insall Associates' renovation of the Great Hall.
"Barts is again showing its ability to balance innovative modern care and medical treatment in a richly cultural healing environment, and the Friends are proud to be a part of this," said Chairman of the Friends of the Great Hall Marcus Setchell to the Architects' Journal. "This agreement provides a golden opportunity to get the James Gibbs architectural gems fit for purpose and bring them to life for all to enjoy and treasure."
"I am absolutely delighted that we have found a solution that works well for all parties and that we can move forwards with the important work of supporting people with cancer across north east London," added Maggie's Chief Executive Laura Lee.