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Snøhetta’s Maggie's Centre

Eleanor Young

Snøhetta’s first permanent building in the UK has opened. The sweeping curve of this 350m² Maggie’s Cancer Caring Centre in Aberdeen is far smaller than the Turner Centre, Margate, which before it was cancelled, looked like it would bring the Norwegian practice to our shores.

‘The shell is a soft form from a hard material and inside is very free flowing,’ says Robert Greenwood of Snøhetta. The shell’s enfolding embrace, in sprayed concrete shell, is designed to give cancer sufferers in Aberdeen and beyond, a warm place where they can find fellowship and guidance.

As with all Maggie’s Centres the brief started with the kitchen table and a sense of the space. The series of more particular, intimate spaces, along with the nooks and crannies of the best of the Maggie’s, is set inside a timber box. Working in collaboration with locally-based practice Halliday Fraser Munroe the centre sits alongside Aberdeen’s Forester Hill Hospital. A group of beech trees has been planted to mark the entrance.

This idiosyncratic little building is an interesting Scandinavian addition to the city, which already has the glittering Aberdeen University library, designed by Danish Schmidt Hammer Lassen. It’s good to have you over here Snøhetta.