London-based architecture firm Heatherwick Studio unveiled designs for a new facility for Maggie’s Centres—an organization in England that provides free, unlimited support for cancer patients. The new site will be built on the grounds of the St. James’s University Hospital in Leeds, England. The 90-year-old hospital, commonly referred to as “Jimmy’s,” is one of the Europe’s largest cancer hospitals. Following suit, Heatherwick's center is expected to be one of the biggest out of the already 18 built for Maggie’s.
As part of its mission, Maggie’s pushes for bright, unconventional buildings that will enhance public gatherings while integrating the natural environment, rather than the coldness often associated with most hospitals. To achieve this, Heatherwick Studios aims to “make a whole building out of a garden,” according to the project page on their site. The new facility design emulates the look of multiple potted plants placed in proximity to one another, with foliage billowing over the top.
To form a cohesive site, transparent awnings and a rooftop deck link the separate “pots” on the outside, made at varying sizes to have vegetation spread beyond the building. Just as the patients should be comfortable within the building, the designers also believe that the exterior should offer a sense of positivity to those passing by. Internally, private spaces are within the separate containers. Flat sheets of glass provide weather protection between the volumes.