Tom McDonald Avenue
Dundee DD2 1NH
Frank Gehry 2003
Built in the grounds of
Ninewells Hospital, Dundee's 'Maggie's Centre' is a cancer daycare center
run as an independent charity. The growing chain of Maggie's Centres are
named for, and inspired by, Maggie Keswick Jencks, who herself died from
cancer in 1995.
The architecture is critical to
the concept of the Maggie's Centres. They are a reaction against the
institutional environment of hospitals, and are a determination to create
a friendlier place in which to personally deal with the disease.
Married to architectural writer
and historian Charles Jencks, whom she met at architecture school, Maggie
Keswick Jencks was well placed to bring architectural innovation to cancer
care. Frank Gehry took this commission as a personal friend. Other
architects commissioned to design further Maggie's Centres include Richard
Rogers, Zaha Hadid and Daniel Libeskind.
The signature Gehry metal roof,
here in stainless steel, dominates the outward appearance of the building.
The center is on built on a domestic scale - a gingerbread house by itself
on a sloping lawn overlooking the Firth of Tay - with the metal roof as
aluminum foil over the gingerbread, pressed down irregularly by somebody's
The sculpture of the roof
appears to have had more attention than its engineering, which in one or
two places requires slightly awkward timber supports that should not have
At the building's opening, Frank
"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."
More spontaneously, he also
commented, on seeing the complete building for the first time,
"Wow... I didn't know I was
Simon Glynn 2004
How to visit
As an operational cancer care
center the building is not normally open to visitors, but the outside is
accessible within the grounds of Ninewells Hospital.
By car, from the Perth Road
(B911), at the roundabout just west of Dundee Airport, take the turning to
the north to Ninewells Hospital and bear left signposted to Accident and
Emergency. Follow Tom McDonald Avenue up the hill, and the Maggie's Center
is at the top of the hill on your right.
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