Maggie’s Royal Free by Studio Libeskind brings curves to an ungainly London plot

by Editorial Team
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A clumsy website in north London is the house of Maggie’s Royal Free – the most recent within the rising household of UK-wide, design-driven most cancers help centres. The newly accomplished constructing was designed by New York’s Studio Libeskind – a fee that got here naturally, as its founder, Daniel Libeskind, isn’t solely a world-famous architect with landmark schemes comparable to Berlin’s Jewish Museum below his belt, however was additionally a private pal of the Jenckses (the Maggie’s charity was arrange by the late Charles Jencks and Maggie Keswick Jencks).

(Picture credit score: Hufton + Crow)

Maggie’s Royal Free by Studio Libeskind

‘I used to be one of many first, if not the primary architect to be requested to do [a Maggie’s],’ Libeskind recollects. The chance offered itself with this website in 2017, and the agency was engaged formally for the design. 

Maggie’s chief government Laura Lee says: ‘Daniel was an incredible pal of Maggie’s and we at all times wished to work with him. We knew he was the suitable architect for this website’s situations.’

timber cladding close up of exterior of Maggie's Royal Free

(Picture credit score: Hufton + Crow)

The Maggie’s community contains over 20 buildings in its arsenal, all composed by main names in modern structure – OMA, Steven Holl and Zaha Hadid have all performed one, and up to date collaborators embrace Ab Rogers, who did Maggie’s Centre on the Royal Marsden, and Heatherwick Studio, the observe behind the centre at St. James’s College Hospital. 

curved staircase seen from above in Maggie's Royal Free

(Picture credit score: Hufton + Crow)

Right here, Libeskind needed to sort out a difficult plot – a small website tucked behind the principle constructing of the Royal Free Hospital in Hampstead, virtually unseen from the road and proper subsequent to a workers automobile park on one aspect, whereas bordered by taller blocks on the opposite. A steep incline on the terrain added additional issues.

blue sofas inside Maggie's Royal Free

(Picture credit score: Hufton + Crow)

Libeskind was unfazed: ‘[It’s an] unlikely website however that is what makes it attention-grabbing.’ Maggie’s extra compact constructing typology offered its personal challenges, however the architect embraced them. ‘The smallest ones are sometimes tougher. Mies van der Rohe mentioned that it is tougher to design a chair than a metropolis, and it is true,’ he continues. 

kitchen area in Maggie's Royal Free with people sat around table

(Picture credit score: Hufton + Crow)

Studio Libeskind’s strategy was to craft a quantity that sits on its slender plot and ‘blossoms upwards’, rising its quantity with each storey. Stated quantity, a metal construction, is clad in Nordic spruce pine LVL panels hooked up to the body by way of timber cassettes. It curves exterior and in, which promotes an inner stream and helps carve a way of area and generosity within the in any other case, comparatively modest (at 4,886 sq ft) floorspace. 

white interior of consultation room in Maggie's Royal Free

(Picture credit score: Hufton + Crow)

Inside, a kitchen hugging a big desk is on the coronary heart of the design, as is commonly the case with Maggie’s centres. Off this central area is an association of session rooms, workspace and versatile areas that may be multifunctional and separated as wanted by drawing curtains that add color and softness to the entire. 

white consultation room in Maggie's Royal Free

(Picture credit score: Hufton + Crow)

The primary inside spans three flooring with {a partially} planted inexperienced roof and a terrace – accessible for occasions in addition to on a regular basis use by its workers and guests – that opens to the sky. This top-level creates a quiet escape, which the Studio Libeskind staff hopes will present additional sanctuary for Maggie’s company – highlighting the centres’ give attention to wellbeing and a human-centric strategy. 

‘Structure isn’t about making a drawing,’ Libeskind says. ‘It is about capturing the spirit of the constructing. That has to return first.’

workspace clad in timber inside Maggie's Royal Free

(Picture credit score: Hufton + Crow)

libeskind.com

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