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Designed for wellbeing: Steven Holl unveils London's luminous Maggie's Centre

21 Dec 2017
By Anna Marks

Located at Bartholomew’s Hospital, northwest of the City of London, New-York based architect Steven Holl has designed a healthcare centre for cancer patients. With its misty white facade with colourful patterns, ‘Maggie’s Centre’ is designed to exert a calming effect on its inhabitants, promoting wellness and wellbeing.

Maggie’s Centres are dotted around the United Kingdom and are organisations which offer emotional and social support to cancer patients. Although each centre had a unique design, Holl’s construction differs from the other buildings in that it has a vertical rather than horizontal layout.

Maggie's Centre mirrors the old hospital’s medieval heritage; the lines upon the facade are spaced at vertical intervals, reflecting the medieval technique of documenting music.


The translucency of the glass facade allows a copious amount of light to flood throughout the building's interior while at night enables the light from within to illuminate the outside.The matte aesthetic provides privacy and creates a neutral presence, contrasting with the shiny reflective glass displayed upon the buildings beside the centre.

The beauty of Maggie's Centre is not limited to its exterior and inside features a stylish dining area, counselling room, library, and a roof garden.The main interior feature is the curved staircase, constructed of light brown bamboo.


Lining the stairs with bamboo promotes health and wellbeing, as research has proven that constructing interior spaces with wood reduces rumination and stress. In addition, the centre's curved staircase fosters wellbeing by enhancing social interaction- inhabitants can view others above and below them in the building.

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