No. 449 . 21 October 2009 
ArchitectureWeek
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Maggie's Centre gets Stirling Prize

by ArchitectureWeek

On a difficult corner site along a busy street, Maggie's Centre in London provides an uplifting sanctuary in which cancer patients and their families and friends can receive support and information. The building's bold orange masonry wall beckons visitors into daylit spaces shielded from the street beneath a floating roof canopy.

This humane health support facility designed by Rogers Stirk Harbour + Partners has received the Stirling Prize for 2009.

The project "exceeds at every level in fulfilling the most demanding of briefs," said the Royal Institute of British Architects (RIBA) in its October 17 announcement, adding that the firm "has produced a timeless work of architecture that not only distils the intentions of this brief but expresses in built form compassion, sensitivity and a deep sense of our common humanity,"

This is the second Stirling Prize for Richard Rogers's firm, which was also so honored in 2006 for Barajas Airport in Madrid, Spain.

Spirited Haven

To create a welcoming retreat on the grounds of Charing Cross Hospital, next to a congested main road, the architects conceived of the London Maggie's Centre as a homelike two-story pavilion, centered on a kitchen, with indoor and outdoor space interwoven within the bounds of a tall, orange perimeter wall.

The building entrance faces the hospital grounds. Visitors are funneled through a forecourt of trees and benches into an outdoor corridor formed by two parallel segments of the orange wall where it spirals back on itself. The roof seems to float above the highly transparent clerestory windows, its inverted-hip form perforated by a series of square openings.   >>>

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