Premier Construction

Maggie’s Centre Barts

Written by Roma Publications

Maggie’s Centre Barts

Maggie’s Centres provide free practical, emotional and social support to people with cancer and their family and friends. Since the first Maggie’s Centre opened in Edinburgh in 1996, the charity has grown rapidly and now has over 20 centres at major NHS cancer hospitals in the UK and abroad.

The latest centre, Maggie’s Barts, opened in December 2017 following a major construction project. Designed by world-renowned Steven Holl Architects in partnership with jmarchitects, Maggie’s Barts is built within the grounds of St Bartholomew’s Hospital. Maggie’s Centres around the country are easily identified as distinctive structures and Maggie’s Barts was no exception. The project has recently been successful in the 2018 Building of the Year Awards and was shortlisted in the ‘Healthcare Architecture’ category.

Maggie’s Barts replaced a 1960s brick structure that was swiftly demolished. The new three storey building was envisioned as a ‘vessel within a vessel within a vessel’. The structure is a branching concrete frame, the inner layer is bamboo and the outer layer is matte white glass with coloured glass fragments.

Integral to the concrete frame is an open curved staircase with open spaces that is vertically lined in bamboo. The glass façade geometry, like a musical staff, is in horizontal strips 90cm wide, which follow the geometry of the main stair along the north façade, while lifting up with clear glass facing the main square, marking the main front entrance. A second entrance is located on the west opening to the extended garden of the adjacent church.  At the top of the building is a public roof garden which opens to a large room for yoga, Tai Chi and meetings.

Natural light plays an important role in the interior look and feel of the building. Floors and walls will be flooded by coloured light, changing depending on the time of the day and the season. Interior lighting is similarly organised to allow coloured lenses, together with translucent white glass of the façade, to present a glowing presence – much like a Chinese lantern. As is the case with all Maggie’s Centres, there are small individual consulting rooms and larger spaces for group activities. The roof terrace garden was designed by award-winning garden designer Darren Hawkes.

Work to construct Maggie’s Barts began in June 2015 and was carried out by Sir Robert McAlpine. Navigating a tight site surrounded by some of London’s most historic buildings was no easy feat but the result is a truly unique development.

Now up and running, Maggie’s Barts will work in partnership with Barts Health NHS Trust. It is expected to receive 20,000 visits a year from people affected by cancer and will bring much needed support to anyone affected by cancer from Barts, the City and its seven surrounding boroughs. Maggie’s Barts is the latest addition to the historic St Bartholomew’s location. St Bartholomew’s Hospital was founded in 1123 and has been providing care on the same site for nearly 900 years.


Image credit – Iwan Baan

About Maggie’s

Maggie’s offers free practical, emotional and social support to people with cancer and their family and friends. Built in the grounds of specialist NHS cancer hospitals, our Centres are warm and welcoming places, with qualified professionals on hand to offer a programme of support that has been shown to improve physical and emotional wellbeing. For further information about Maggie’s please go to


About Steven Holl

Steven Holl Architects is a 40-person architecture and urban design office founded in 1976, and working globally as one office from two locations; New York City and Beijing. Steven Holl leads the office with partners Chris McVoy and Noah Yaffe. The practice has extensive experience in the arts including museum, gallery and exhibition design, campus and educational facilities, residential work and master planning. For more information on the work of Steven Holl Architects, please visit


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Roma Publications

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