Maggie’s applies for planning permission for new Southampton Centre designed by AL_A

Maggie’s, the charity which provides free practical, emotional and social support for people with cancer and their family and friends, has applied for planning permission for a new Maggie’s Centre to be built at Southampton General Hospital. The Centre has been designed by internationally-renowned practice AL_A.

Maggie’s Centres are warm and welcoming places, built in the grounds of NHS hospitals, where qualified professionals are on hand to offer a programme of support that has been shown to improve physical and emotional wellbeing.

The new Centre will be built in partnership with University Hospital Southampton NHS Foundation Trust whose oncology unit at Southampton General Hospital is a leader in cancer research and recognised as a global centre of excellence. The hospital sees around 5,000 people newly diagnosed with cancer each year and provides specialist cancer services to a population of around 3.2 million people covering south Wiltshire, Hampshire, the Channel Islands, the Isle of Wight and parts of West Sussex.

Maggie’s Southampton will be built close to the hospital’s oncology unit on a site large enough to develop tranquil green spaces to further enrich the environment of the new Centre.

Through Maggie’s evidence-based programme of support, visitors to the new Southampton Centre will be able to access support services including psychological support, benefits advice, nutrition workshops, relaxation and stress management, art therapy, tai chi and yoga. The Centre is scheduled to open in 2017.

Laura Lee, Chief Executive of Maggie’s said:

“We’re delighted to be working with the University Hospital Southampton NHS Foundation Trust and Amanda Levete to bring a Maggie’s Centre to Southampton.

“Maggie’s is here for anyone and everyone affected by cancer. A cancer diagnosis and treatment is a hugely challenging experience, which brings with it tough questions and difficult emotions ranging from anxiety to feelings of isolation and loneliness. Applying for planning permission to build a Maggie’s Centre in Southampton brings us a step closer to supporting the physical and emotional wellbeing of people with cancer in Southampton and the surrounding areas.”

Fiona Dalton, Chief Executive of University Hospital Southampton NHS Foundation Trust said:

“The emotional and practical impact of a cancer diagnosis is devastating and we’re committed to providing the highest standards of care for our patients. The new Maggie’s Centre in Southampton will provide cancer support of the highest quality which will complement the excellent clinical care that the hospital already provides. We look forward to being able to make a huge difference to all our patients and their families.”

The new Centre will significantly enhance the excellent cancer care and support already offered at Southampton General Hospital.

The Centre by AL_A will be set within the haven of a garden with echoes of the New Forest into the midst of the hospital’s built up landscape. Imbued with lightness, the Centre’s design is subtle and understated, intended to lift the weight off the shoulders of all who will visit and work within.

Amanda Levete of AL_A said:

“It’s a wonderful privilege to design a Maggie’s Centre and to be involved in a project that will help so many in the South of England. I wanted to create a place that is warm, welcoming and full of light, one that dissolves the boundaries between building and garden. It will be a sanctuary where people feel safe and valued, lifting the spirits of all who enter.”

Amanda Levete is the founder and principal of AL_A, an award-winning architecture and design studio. Recent commissions include the highly anticipated Exhibition Road project at the Victoria & Albert Museum in London, Central Embassy, a 1.5 million sq ft mixed-use hotel and retail development in Bangkok on the former grounds of the British embassy, and a cultural centre in Lisbon commissioned by EDP, one of the world’s foremost energy companies. Levete trained at the Architectural Association and worked for Richard Rogers before joining Future Systems as a partner in 1989, where she realised such ground-breaking buildings as the Stirling Prize-winning Media Centre at Lord’s Cricket Ground and the Selfridges department store in Birmingham.

AL_A’s building design provides the setting for the surrounding gardens which will be created by award-winning landscape designer Sarah Price, co-designer of the 2012 Gardens at the Olympic Park in east London.

There are already 18 Maggie’s Centres across the UK, online and abroad and all are designed by leading architects. Each architect offers a unique interpretation of the same brief, based on the needs of people living with cancer, to create the calm environments so important to the people who visit and work in the Centres.