Steven Holl Architects (SHA) has broken ground on London's newest Maggie's Centre across from the large courtyard of St. Bartholomew’s (Barts) Hospital, the city's oldest hospital. The structure, a branching concrete frame lined with perforated bamboo and matte white glass, was inspired by its historic site, which also neighbors the St. Bartholomew the Great Church. It was envisioned as a "vessel within a vessel within a vessel" embellished with colored glass fragments that recall "neume notation" of Medieval music in the 13th century.
"The word neume originates from the Greek pnevma, which means 'vital force.' It suggests a 'breath of life' that fills oneself with inspiration like a stream of air, the blowing of the wind. The outer glass layer is organized in horizontal bands like a musical staff while the concrete structure branches like the hand," describes SHA.
A video of Steven Holl detailing the center's design, after the break.
"The three story center has an open curved staircase integral to the concrete frame with open spaces vertically lined in perforated bamboo," continues SHA. "The glass facade geometry, like a musical 'staff' is in horizontal strips 90cm wide, which follow the geometry of the main stair along the north facade, while lifting up with clear glass facing the main square, marking the main front entry. There is a second entry on the west opening to the extended garden of the adjacent church.
"The interior character of this building will be shaped by colored light washing the floors and walls, changing by the time of day and season. Interior lighting will be 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. Barts Hospital. The building tops out in a public roof garden with flowering trees open to a large room for yoga, Tai Chi, meetings, and more."
The opening of Maggie’s Barts will allow Maggie's to extend its support even further across London which sees over 28,000 cancer diagnoses a year. There is currently only one Maggie's Centre in west London, built within the grounds of Charing Cross Hospital. Opening is slated for late 2016.
LocationSaint Bartholomew's Hospital Museum, London EC1A, United Kingdom
Design TeamSteven Holl, Chris McVoy, Dominik Sigg (design architects), Chris McVoy (partner in charge), Bell Ying Yi Cai, Gemma Gene, Martin Kropac, Christina Yessios (project team)
ClientMaggie Keswick Jencks Cancer Caring Centres Trust (Maggie's)
Landscape ArchitectBradley Hole-Schoenaich
Associate ArchitectsJM Architects
Civil, Climate, Mechanical EngineerArup
Historic Building AdvisorDonald Insall Associates
Lighting ConsultantL'Observatoire International
CDM CoordinatorFloor Projects LLP
Code ConsultantButler & Young
Cost EstimatorGardiner & Theobald
Construction ManagerSir Robert McAlpine
PhotographsSteven Holl Architects