/ Maggie's center in the Great hall /
[ St Bartholomew’s Hospital, London ]
“Our centres are here for anyone with any type of cancer and their families and their friends offering the practical, emotional and social support that people with cancer need” Laura Lee chief executive Maggie’s centre.
St. Bartholomew’s Hospital has led the provision of healthcare in London for almost 900 years. Founded in 1123 by the monk Rahere to give free medical care to the poor of the City of London. The Great Hall is the central jewel in the crown of this magnificent if yet unrecognised Heritage Site.
Exploring the brief of marrying the great hall and a Maggie’s facility created an interesting juxtaposition of a historical architectural language and a contemporary health service. The principle of the design concept was to take the formal setting of the great hall and manipulate its scale to a more domestic level by framing views within the space.
In turn this creates a dialogue between the former heritage and contemporary language at play. Secondly developing a poetic nature through the transcendence of the space, its use as a library, and a place of respite. Elements such as ‘snug’s’ in the wall, yoga space and qualities such as its perspective entrance and hidden sliding doors to further space are moments which reflect that nature.
The core design derives from the principle of a living wall where everything is contained. From the entrance there’s an emergence of indoor space connecting with its exterior. Library ‘snug’s’ offset in the walls provide views onto the square and its gardens.These pockets of space allow users to escape by stepping in to a place of calm, meditation to distract and provide a sense of privacy and relief.
The gallery at the living walls center creates a continuity of framing the great hall with openings that puncture into the different spaces. views through the journey of the gallery provide a canvas in which one can meditate or contemplate on at a human scale.
The therapy rooms provide a feeling of sanctuary whereas the social kitchen space connects the centre of the hall with its large table and views onto the stainless glass feature through the library. The end of the gallery draws open onto a workshop space continuing the principle of framing, the two pieces of furniture provide pivoting divides which can be occupied and offer a flexibility to the space and the views they select. Finally offset above the ground floor is the yoga mezzanine. When using its staircase the framed view opens to a concentration on the beautifully ornate ceiling. The space is at one with the above, a simple floor which curves to form its sides. A hidden studio of relaxation and meditation discovered in the mist of the great hall.