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Maggie's Centre Fife

A strikingly modern building in the grounds of Victoria Hospital in Kirkcaldy, Maggie's Centre Fife perhaps looks more like a stealth aircraft than cancer support centre. Opened on 3rd November 2006 by Gordon Brown (b.1951), Member of Parliament for Kirkcaldy and Cowdenbeath, together with his wife, Sarah, who is Patron of the Centre, this is was the first British building to be designed by controversial London-based Iraqi architect Zaha Hadid (b.1950).

Sited on the edge of a naturally-vegetated hollow, giving an outlook onto trees and bushes, the building makes a link between this natural environment and the harsh concrete of the hospital and its car park. The dramatic black-painted roof overhangs the similarly-clad walls, which slope inward to the base, giving the overall impression of a folded model. The interior is white-painted, open-plan and grouped around a central kitchen. All internal walls are curved and the spaces created are distinctly informal and domestic in character.

A local campaign, led by the The Fife Free Press newspaper, raised more than half of the £1 million cost of this dedicated cancer support centre. The centres are named after Maggie Keswick Jencks (1941-95), a victim of the disease who believed in the uplifting properties of good architecture and, as her legacy, created a charity which provided support to cancer sufferers and their families. The centre provides counselling, a comprehensive library of cancer-related literature and, perhaps most importantly, an environment in which to meet others who are dealing with similar experiences.

The building was shortlisted for the RIAS Andrew Doolan Award in 2007 and the Scottish Design Awards in the same year.


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