Maggie's London wins the Stirling Prize
Maggie’s Cancer Caring Centre at Charing Cross Hospital in London has been announced as the winner of the 2009 Stirling Prize, the UK’s most prestigious architectural award.
Maggie’s is honoured to announce that their London Cancer Caring Centre, designed by Lord Rogers of Rogers Stirk Harbour + Partners, has been chosen as this year’s winner of the Stirling Prize by the Royal Institute of British Architects (RIBA).
Maggie’s Chief Executive Laura Lee said: “Maggie’s is absolutely thrilled that Rogers Stirk Harbour + Partners have won the Stirling Prize for their remarkable design of our London Cancer Caring Centre and would like to say a huge thank you to Richard Rogers for generously gifting the design to support people affected by cancer. The Stirling Prize recognizes buildings that significantly influence the evolution of architecture and Richard Rogers’ design is changing the understanding of how environment impacts on health and wellbeing.“
“People come into Maggie’s in a state of trauma, some have just been diagnosed, others have been struggling to cope with the vast impact that cancer has on their lives. It is hard to ask for help. And it is impossible to overstate how much the building design encourages people to take that first step into Maggie’s. I hear over and over from people that they started to feel better the moment they walked through the door. The informal, homey space subtly and powerfully supports all of the practical and emotional services we provide. When people feel at home, they feel safe to open up and talk about what is happening to them in a way that they will not do in the clinical environment of a hospital. Although Maggie’s London is in the grounds of Charing Cross Hospital, Richard Roger’s design makes it feel like another world. The oversized kitchen is the heart of the centre, an informal meeting place that breaks down the isolation so common for people affected by cancer. The quiet corners and meeting rooms are private spaces to see a psychologist or get help from the benefits adviser. And the living rooms with cosy fires provide a wonderful place for group classes like Tai Chi or art therapy.
“We have a constant stream of visitors to Maggie’s London from all over the world, who come to see how a building can actually be an intrinsic part of the care provided within it. Since its opening in May 2008 Maggie’s London Centre has had almost 20,000 visits, twice what we expected. Richard Roger’s stunning design of Maggie’s London is making a huge impact on people with cancer and their family and friends, who all come in for help.”
Speaking at the Stirling Prize awards ceremony, RIBA President Ruth Reed said: “The shortlist for this year’s RIBA Stirling Prize was of an exceptionally high standard, and I would like to congratulate each of the shortlisted entries. In the Maggie's Centre we have a much deserved winner, and I am delighted to award Rogers Stirk Harbour + Partners with architecture’s highest accolade.”
In a statement from RIBA, the Stirling Prize jury said: “The latest in a line of Maggie’s Centres designed by distinguished architects is the one that stands on a hectic corner on the Fulham Palace Road in Hammersmith. A deep orange rendered wall puts a protective arm around it, making it a place apart without denying it is a part of the city. This antithesis of a hospital provides an open house in the city. Rogers Stirk Harbour + Partners' quietly confident building has created a completely informal, home-like sanctuary to help patients learn to live with cancer.”
“The architects, led by Ivan Harbour, considered placing the entrance on the street corner, but that would have meant turning its back on the hospital. It would also have denied the centre an approach, which is done beautifully thanks to landscaping by Dan Pearson. Conceived as a two-storey pavilion, the centre’s positive spirit is signalled with a bold roof canopy that hovers high above the walls to sail protectively over a series of intimate internal gardens, courtyards and roof terraces – also by Pearson.”
“This Maggie’s Centre demonstrates architecture’s power to shape our experience and has led to a fitting memorial to Maggie Keswick Jencks. Rogers Stirk Harbour + Partners has produced a timeless work of architecture that not only distils the intentions of this brief but expresses, in built form, compassion, sensitivity and a deep sense of our common humanity.”
People who use Maggie’s speak about how the building has impacted on them:
“Coming through the door I just felt the building itself enveloped me in love … it’s bright, it’s light and the first thing you do is smile, the whole building makes you smile, we share the joy of this building” - Trudy McLay.
“Having been to the hospital for an oncology appointment I come into Maggie’s and it allows me to reconnect myself” - Gordon Kirk.
“Maggie’s Centre feels cosy and like home. It is very light and airy and feels like walking into Mediterranian sunshine…” - Marie Luke.
Today’s announcement follows the May 21 announcement that Maggie’s London was awarded RIBA London Building of the Year. The jury commented about the building: "It is not normally in the power of architecture to move onlookers to tears, but this extraordinary building has inadvertently proven its ability to do just that. How is it possible that a building can generate an immediate and pervasive sense of welcome, warmth, serenity – and even love – in the context of a frantic Hammersmith thoroughfare – and in the shadow of a dauntingly huge NHS hospital? This is the poetry that Rogers Stirk Harbour have worked at the Maggie’s Centre in Fulham Palace Road."
On November 13, 2008 RSHP's design for Maggie's London was named Winner of the 2008 Building Better Healthcare Judges' Special Award for Best Primary Care Design. The Building Better Healthcare Awards have been recognising, rewarding and celebrating best practice and world-class architecture, design, facilities and estates management in the healthcare built environment for a decade. Judged by leading experts in the field of architecture, design and build – and chaired by the special advisor for health at the Commission for Architecture and the Built Environment (CABE) – the awards are well respected and considered the benchmark in industry best practice.
Maggie’s is also very honoured that RIBA jointly named our Chief Executive, Laura Lee, Client of the Year, during the Stirling Prize awards.
Laura Lee said: "Maggie Keswick Jencks, the founder of Maggie’s, held a profound belief that architecture and environment could deeply affect how you feel. The way that the architectural community has responded to Maggie’s vision has been truly remarkable. It is so exciting for Maggie’s to be the client of so many incredible architects. We would like to thank Richard Rogers, Frank Gehry and Zaha Hadid for so generously donating their time to design some of our existing centres. Rem Koolhaas, Sir Richard MacCormack and Wilkinson Eyre are just a few of the amazing architects that we are working with to design future centres. As a client it is thrilling to see how each architect interprets the Maggie’s brief. Each building is wonderfully unique, and yet they all create a space with the incredible atmosphere that is Maggie’s. They are buildings that make people feel valued and supported through one of the most difficult experiences of their lives."
In a statement from RIBA, the Stirling Prize jury said: “All good buildings need good clients. As a cancer-care nurse Laura Lee (the client) promised her patient Maggie Jencks that she would carry out her dying wish: to see cancer sufferers and their families and friends offered humane facilities in which they could learn about the illness and receive support. In just 12 years from Richard Murphy's first centre in Edinburgh, six centres by the world’s leading architects including Frank Gehry and Zaha Hadid, are now open, with eight more planned or under construction. For the latest, and the first in London, Charles Jencks turned to his old friend Richard Rogers, whose practice is just around the corner.”
This award follows the news in February 2009 that Laura Lee was made an honorary member of RIBA. This lifetime honour is in acknowledgement of the contributions both she and Maggie’s Cancer Caring Centres have made to the world of architecture.
For further information please contact Anna Marriott on 0141 341 5675 or 07825 362097.