Frank Gehry-designed Maggie's Centre
opens in Hong Kong

| 7 comments
 

News: the latest Maggie's cancer care centre designed by Frank Gehry opened in Hong Kong yesterday, becoming the first of the charity's units outside the UK.

Maggie's Hong Kong is the second Maggie's Centre by Frank Gehry, following the opening in 2003 of Maggie's Dundee in Scotland.

The centre comprises a series of pavilions with rooms overlooking a pond and gardens partly inspired by the classical gardens of Suzhou near Shanghai.

Gehry said: "[The building is] respectful of Chinese architecture and motifs. I hope it's not copying anything Chinese or architectural, but I hope it's very respectful of them.

"I was going through the loss of a daughter while I was designing the centre. I think you sort of suck it up and hope to make something that is soothing and respectful and hopeful. There's always hope, it's not a dead end."

Landscape architect Lily Jencks, who is the daughter of founders Maggie Keswick Jencks and Charles Jencks, designed the centre's garden.

We've featured lots of Maggie's Centres on Dezeen, including Steven Holl's recently revealed designs for a centre in London and OMA's Stirling Prize-nominated centre in Glasgow – see all Maggie's Centres.

Gehry recently revealed a 22-storey tower designed for his hometown of Santa Monica, California – see all architecture by Frank Gehry.

Photographs are by Pako Ko.

Here's more information from Maggie's Centre:


Secretary for Food & Health, Dr Ko Wing Man will open Maggie’s Hong Kong on Thursday, March 7.

They will join Charles Jencks, Maggie’s co-founder, Laura Lee chief executive, Keith Kerr, chairman of Maggie's Hong Kong Board of Directors and Eleanor Ling from the Keswick Foundation.

The official opening heralds a new era of cancer care and support for people with cancer across the region, bringing hope and solace to thousands.

The new purpose built Centre was designed by internationally renowned architect Frank Gehry, who also designed Maggie’s Dundee in Scotland. Maggie’s Hong Kong is the first Maggie’s Centre to be built outside of the United Kingdom.

Since December 2008 Maggie's Hong Kong has been providing an interim service at its temporary building on the ground at Tuen Mun Hospital, offering free support for anyone living with cancer including friends, family and carers. Centre visitors can take part in relaxation sessions, nutrition classes, yoga and individual and family support sessions.

The Centre’s design is a series of pavilions arranged to encourage movement between the interior and the landscape. Rooms open out to the surrounding gardens or have private terraces overlooking the pond. There is a public living and dining area that serves as the focal point of the building, with views of both the ponds and gardens. The Centre could be thought of as a Chinese garden inspired by, though not beholden to, the Suzhou tradition.

Maggie’s chief executive Laura Lee said: "This is a very special occasion, not only are we able to provide more help and support for people who are living with cancer in the region but Maggie’s Hong Kong is our first international Centre.

"Maggie’s proven programme of support will act as an antidote to the isolation and despair of a cancer diagnosis. Frank Gehry's design will help to facilitate this support, by making people feel safe, inspired and valued. Under one extraordinary roof, Maggie’s will help people to find their way out of the hopelessness of cancer."

Architect Frank Gehry said: "Maggie was bright and sunny and open and fun and whimsical and smart as hell. She was a real creative spirit, she had a healthy curiosity and she tried things, and in a sense I emulated her.

"The building has feelings which I hope engender community activity, and that it’s comfortable for the patients to be there. It’s respectful of Chinese architecture and motifs. I hope it’s not copying anything Chinese or architectural, but I hope it’s very respectful of them.

"I was going through the loss of a daughter while I was designing the Centre. I think you sort of suck it up and hope to make something that is soothing and respectful and hopeful. There’s always hope, it’s not a dead end."

Landscape architect Lily Jencks - daughter of founders Maggie Keswick Jencks and Charles Jencks - has designed the garden for Maggie’s Hong Kong.

Lily said: These intimate gardens represent the macrocosm of the universe within the microcosm of a landscape, bringing an awareness of man’s place in nature. This early integration of landscape form and building has created a complex relationship between the man-made forms and naturalistic garden setting."

The new Centre will mean staff can provide more support and groups can run at the same time. Programme activities include support groups, nutrition classes, tai chi, yoga, managing symptoms and side effects, relaxation, art and music therapy.

Maggie's Hong Kong is supported by the Keswick Foundation Ltd and Maggie's Centres.

Maggie’s Hong Kong is Maggie’s first complete international centre. Plans are underway to create a Maggie’s in Barcelona, along with a further three international centres by 2017. Since the charity’s inception 16 years ago, Maggie’s has influenced and inspired a number of international cancer support organisations such as the Danish Cancer Society and the Swiss Cancer League, and it continues to support and collaborate with a significant number of cancer care groups from around the world including Japan, Australia, Qatar and Europe.

  • Mathiu

    This is ugly. If it wasn’t by Frank Gehry, nobody will hear about it.

  • ZumthorFanatic

    It’s easy to say that it’s ugly without even stating the reason why. Prejudice against Gehry himself, maybe?

    I’ll withhold judgment until I see more of the building. For now though, I like what I see – a restrained Gehry, which is rare to see these days.

    • Peter Scorer

      Sometimes the first impression of architecture holds true. I agree with Mathiu’s comment above. This one looks ugly.

      • Virgile

        I live five minutes away and will go check it out. One shot is not enough to evaluate the quality of a building. Very generous concept in any case.

        • Fed Fef

          Any news?

  • Cheerful

    I have been to Maggie’s centres in Edinburgh, Dundee, Glasgow and Fife. They are all very impressive, especially the Edinburgh Maggie’s centre which was designed by Richard Murphy. Should go visit the Hong Kong one and have a look.

  • Gary Walmsley

    I generally have an intense Love/Hate reaction to Gehry’s work.

    In this case however I’ll say I really appreciate his Maggie’s Centre. It shows sensitivity and aesthetic balance, as opposed to (the most ironically named) Brain Health Clinic/catastrophe in Las Vegas.