Maggie’s applies for planning permission for new Yorkshire Centre designed by Heatherwick Studio

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 in the grounds of St James’s University Hospital in Leeds. The Centre has been designed by the acclaimed Heatherwick Studio, founded in 1994 by Thomas Heatherwick.

Working in partnership with Leeds Teaching Hospitals NHS Trust, the new Maggie’s Yorkshire Centre will be built adjacent to the Leeds Cancer Centre, in the Bexley Wing, at St James’s University Hospital. The Leeds Cancer Centre sees over 12,500 people newly diagnosed with cancer per year and provides specialist cancer services to a population of around 2.7 million people across the Yorkshire region and beyond.

The new Centre will enhance the cancer support already provided through Leeds Cancer Support at the Sir Robert Ogden Macmillan Centre, through Maggie’s evidence-based core programme of support 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.

Maggie’s Chief Executive, Laura Lee said:

“A cancer diagnosis and treatment brings with it tough questions and difficult emotions which can leave many feeling isolated. The programme of support that we will be offering at Maggie’s Yorkshire will help to improve the physical and emotional wellbeing of people with cancer across the region.”

“We’re absolutely thrilled to be working with the Leeds Teaching Hospitals NHS Trust and Heatherwick Studio on this project – submitting our planning application is an exciting step forward in bringing a Maggie’s Centre to Yorkshire.”

Dr Linda Pollard CBE, Chair of the Leeds Teaching Hospitals NHS Trust said:

“The emotional trauma of cancer can be just as difficult as the physical effect so we’re delighted that we’re now a step closer to making a huge difference to our patients and their families.”

As one of Britain’s most innovative design practices, Heatherwick Studio was selected to conceive a Maggie’s Centre at St James’s University Hospital on a site which demands a high degree of ingenuity to create the calm, uplifting environment so important to the people who visit and work in Maggie’s Centres. Heatherwick Studio’s work includes the award-winning UK Pavilion at the Shanghai World Expo 2010, the Olympic Cauldron for the London 2012 Olympic Games, and the New Bus for London.

The Centre’s innovative design consists of a series of contained gardens that will capture the therapeutic effect of plants and contrast with the more formal surrounding hospital buildings. The design will create a warm, informal interior space as well as an inspiring exterior to encourage positivity among Centre visitors and passers-by.

The building will take the form of a collection of stepped planter elements, each holding a piece of garden, bringing the planting into and over the building itself. Shared and private internal spaces will be playfully created between and within the planters.

Thomas Heatherwick comments:

“We’re delighted to work with Maggie’s to bring a Centre to Yorkshire and to have the opportunity to create a positive environment which will help calm minds and foster a sense of well-being. The building will combine the qualities of a garden with shared and private spaces.”

Heatherwick Studio’s building design provides the setting for the surrounding gardens which will be created by award-winning landscape designer Marie-Louise Agius of Balston Agius.

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 a person living with cancer, to create the calm environments so important to the people who visit and work in the Centres.