The entrance to the Centre is approached from within the hospital grounds. The building is made up of four components: a wall that wraps around four sides, providing protection from its exposed location; the kitchen - a double-height central space which will be the main focus and heart of the building; annexes off the main space, conceived as meeting, sitting and consulting rooms; and a 'floating roof' that appears to ‘hover’ over the outer wall and acts as the enclosure to the heart of the building.
A key design challenge for Maggie’s Centre London lies in creating a sequence of internal and external environments cocooned from its inhospitable surroundings. The aim is to make the Centre a welcoming retreat in this busy London streetscape.
The sense of the building having a heart – reflecting the traditional notion of a home with a hearth – is manifested in the Centre’s kitchen area, and also through the inclusion of three fireplaces in the design of the building. The Centre will be a retreat that is open to everyone.
A key element of the design is the flexibility of the space, which is intended to encourage the Centre’s users to feel at home anywhere in the building, giving them ownership of the building rather than the sense that they are merely visitors. The design was conceived to make the building accessible; homely; personal and comfortable, with a layout that is open but which incorporates varing degrees of private space.
The external wall surrounding the building will form both a weather seal to the internal rooms and a shield to the internal garden spaces. The wall will have a colour rendered finish with glazed openings. The Centre will have a ‘floating roof’ that ‘hovers’ over the external wall and acts as an enclosure for the building below. The roof also serves to obscure the view of Charing Cross Hospital, which is a dominant feature of the surrounding area.
The raised roof allows natural light to enter the whole of the building. Partitions divide up the open structure, placing the kitchen at the heart of the building.
A wall of fast growing birch trees along the edges of the Centre will filter traffic noise from the busy street beyond.
The landscaping will integrate the Centre into the larger hospital site: mature plane trees indicate a route from the hospital to a public courtyard surrounded by white flowered magnolia trees.
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