Quotes from Frank Gehry

“Someone who is suffering from cancer does not want to come to a great architectural, polemical statement; they would be put off by it…they have better things to do than be part of [the architect's] ego.”
Photo © arcspace.com

“I hope the architecture won't override the purpose of the building, but complement it and take it to a higher plane of comfort and beauty.”

Quote from Sir Bob Geldof, musician, who officially opened Maggie's Dundee:

“Hospitals are there to keep you alive, but this building explains why life is worth living. It has been made for people, and the architecture never dominates—it's a work of art.”

Still in the early stages of development, Maggie's Nottingham promises to be one of the more geographically interesting Maggie's Centres once completed. The site is one of the hilliest yet chosen for the Centres, as well as one of the most densely wooded.

“It's absolutely thick with trees,” says Piers Gough, founding partner of CZWG Architects. “This Centre will look more like a tree house, located on a very steep, sloping, wooded part of an existing healthcare campus.”

Gough had a helping hand in choosing the site, deciding that this particular piece of land “served no great practical purpose for the other parts of the existing hospital”—the existing hospital being Nottingham City Hospital. He also liked the fact that it contrasted with the rest of the hospital.

The hilly terrain has some drawbacks, though. Building the foundation will take extra work, which will mean there will be add-on costs. But Gough feels it will be worth it in the end. “Once done, there will be a lovely outlook and tremendous sense of place,” he says.

With so much to look at on the outside, one would think Gough has lots of windows in mind. But that's not necessarily the case. “You don't necessarily want to be looked at in a Maggie's Centre. You want privacy,” Gough says. “So we'll have windows within reason—a lot of upwards and sideways looks at the foliage.”

Gough says the project so far has not been exceptionally challenging, due to the fact that a good number of existing Maggie's Centres have already shown the way. But there is one major change the Nottingham Centre will try to incorporate: “I've heard through the grapevine that an entrance desk in one of the Centres is harsh and looks heavy and isn't welcoming enough,” he says. “I guess it looks more like a hotel reception area instead of friendly and easygoing. So I expect there will be feedback that will go into my scheme before we start.”

“The other architects have set such a terrific standard,” Gough says. “It's so much easier now for the architects coming behind them because we can explore what's already been done and react to it. It's exciting to be part of that continuum.” HD