Maggie Centres: soothing architecture

‘First of all, it is important to not lose the joy of living because you are afraid of dying’. When Maggie Keswick Jencks was diagnosed with a terrible illness, the verdict was communicated to her in a cold hospital room. Asked to leave the office, she found herself alone to face her improbable future in a squalid corridor. During the time that remained her, Maggie comforted herself with hope and involved her husband, Charles Jencks, in the design of a series of centres where those ill with cancer ‘could say everything they felt, without being afraid to upset their family or friends’.

The architecture is soothing or features playfully childlike forms, as at the Maggie Centre in Dundee, recently completed by Frank O. Gehry. In turn, Charles Jencks decided that the most conscious way to honour this promise was to invite a series of international architects to tiptoe into a very intimate sphere – that of feelings. This exhibition at the Soane Museum in London is dedicated to Maggie and to her friends – Libeskind, Rogers, Murphy, Page and Park, Hadid, Hawkins and Brown – who every day honour her memory with their creative work. L.B.

Maggie’s at the Soane
Sir John Soane’s Museum 13 Lincoln’s Inn Fields, London
T +44-20-74404246

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