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Maggie's London: The Charing Cross Hospital, Hammersmith, London.


Maggie's Centres are cancer care centres honouring the memory of Maggie Keswick Jencks, landscape designer and writer on Chinese gardens, who died in 1995. The new Maggie's London, designed by Rogers Stirk Harbour & Partners, is located in the grounds of The Charing Cross Hospital at Hammersmith, squeezed into a tiny former car park area, but bridging the space between the rather monolithic tower-block of the main hospital building and the tree-lined Fulham Palace Road. The new centre is already surrounded by trees, which provide an attractive approach from the main hospital entrance area. The building--painted in a colour similar to Falun Red, with larchwood door and window fittings--and the surrounding silver birches now contribute a small slice of rural Sweden to a dense and often grid-locked London quarter.

There is a Japanese influence too. This was confirmed by landscape gardener, Dan Pearson, when I interviewed him about his firm's involvement in the design of the landscape in and around the building. The careful interpenetration of inside and outside spaces both at ground level and on the first floor--with some fine part-covered terraces and balconies--allows visitors and users to advance or retreat from the outside world as and when they wish. Pearson's design also emphasises the importance of commissioning and placing sculptures and artworks in such gardens, as they also give cause for open-ended stimulation and reflection. The carved stones by Hannah Bennett announce a solidity and grounding of the building in the approach pathway. Maggie's London is a triumph for the thoughtful co-operation of architect and garden designer in creating a calm sanctuary for people who are having to cope with very difficult personal circumstances.

Project details

Architect: Rogers Stirk Harbour + Partners Landscape Architect: Dan Pearson Studios Completed Spring 2008
COPYRIGHT 2008 Landscape Design Trust
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Title Annotation:REVIEW OF THE YEAR
Author:Worpole, Ken
Publication:Green Places
Article Type:Brief article
Geographic Code:4EUUK
Date:Dec 22, 2008
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