More than 300,000 people are diagnosed with cancer in the UK every year. Maggie’s cancer care charity was founded in 1995, following the death of Magie Keswick Jencks, the wife of renowned Architectural writer Charles Jencks. Maggie's centres are a network of drop-in centres across the United Kingdom and Hong Kong, which aim to help anyone who has been affected by cancer. They are located near, but are detached from, existing NHS hospitals.

The centres are designed by some of the world's leading Architects, including Zaha Hadid, Frank Ghery, Rogers Stirk Harbour + Partners, Amanda Levete, OMA, Thomas Heatherwick and Foster &Partners.

In Maggie’s words the goal for those living with cancer is to try not to “lose the joy of living in the fear of dying”. Manifest in Maggie’s Centres is the rejection of the artificial in favour of the natural, the everyday, the familiar.

For many, particularly in times of crisis and reflection, the garden is where solace can be found at home. Often our only sanctuary from the urban clamor they are a retreat from the attention of concerned relatives and provide the connection to nature we crave.

Some Maggie’s Centres look out to the landscape, some bring nature indoors. We re-imagine the building as a garden itself. People, drawn together around a camp-fire to talk, to comfort one another and to re-kindle their love of nature. A nature from whose crucible all life originates, and in which we can all find sanctuary.

Our entry to the competition received a high commendation from the judges.

Judges comments:

“Strong concept of camp-fire conversation, surrounded by vegetation as rich as a botanical winter garden. Scientific logic to wayfinding and programme, the plan submission is a complex graphical textbook diagram that warrants multiple views, but clearly articulates the vision for an organic sanctuary, re-imagining the Maggie’s Centre primarily as an inhabited garden. The design intelligently responds to flexible space requirements with shared, transitional areas and ‘clearings’ within cocoon-like curtains and natural enclosures of planting, conveyed with evocative renders.”

Paul Swaddle

“In a rectangular garden this building gracefully defines the north boundary and creates individual places within it.”

Ted Cullinan

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