Tom McDonald Avenue
Dundee DD2 1NH
Architect: Frank Gehry
Structural Engineers: Ove Arup
Construction: HBG Construction
Opened: 25th September 2003
Maggie's Centres are cancer support centres located around the UK, for anyone who has, or has had cancer, as well as their families, friends and carers. The charity is named for the late Maggie Keswick Jencks who founded a cancer patient care service in Edinburgh. She was a close friend of Frank Gehry, who waived his design fee for this building. It is Frank Gehry's first building in the U.K.
The Maggie's Centre in Dundee is located in the grounds of Ninewells Hospital, overlooking the Tay estuary. The architecture is central to the concept of Maggie's Centres, they are a reaction against the institutional environments of hospitals, and are a product of the charities' determination to create a friendlier place in which to help people affected by cancer.
The building contains many of Gehry's signature features - none of the walls are straight, and it is finished off with a hugely elaborate concertinaed roof made from timber and stainless steel. The house has been described as a "gingerbread house with aluminium foil over the top, pressed down irregularly by somebody's fingers".
The style was inspired by Scottish traditional architecture, with whitewashed walls and irregular massing, but it works extremely well with Gehry's elaborate roof.
At the building's opening, Frank Gehry said,
"It's very difficult for people to go through experiences like this, and I wanted to create a building that would be calming and accommodating, and one that would be a fitting tribute to Maggie. I think it's an inviting building, I think people will want to come inside and spend time there, and I really hope that in some small way it might contribute to a sense of rejuvenated vigor for moving forward and living life."
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