A contemporary healthcare space. We have an emergent project at Edinburgh on therapeutic space, in the knowledge that healthcare – and mental health care – are boom areas in developed economies, and that ‘therapy’ is an ever more pervasive concept. Maggie’s is a likely case study. Historical dimensions to the problem will be covered too.


Today  (07/11/12) we made a visit to the original Maggie’s Centre, situated on the grounds of Edinburgh’s Western General hospital. Bult by Edinburgh-based Richard Murphy in 1994, in response to a brief provided by Maggie Jencks, it provides an informal drop-in centre for cancer sufferers, and their families, with therapeutic services, health advice, and a kitchen. Between us we knew three of the other Maggie’s: Glasgow, Kirkaldy and Dundee, and we talked to therapists who knew the rest. The architecture of the centres varies a good deal: this one a Victorian stable block as if built by Pippi Longstocking, Dundee (Frank Gehry) is a fairytale gingerbread house, Kircaldy (Zaha Hadid) a grounded stealth bomber. In the Edinburgh case, the starting point, the  Victorian block, has been opened out at ground level with a mezzanine inserted above, leading to alcoves at each end. An eccentric, but well-stocked library fills the central stair…

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