Maggie’s Cancer Caring Center Aberdeen, Snohetta Foresterhill Building Project, Royal Infirmary Design

Maggie’s Cancer Caring Center Aberdeen

Aberdeenshire heatlcare building design by Snøhetta Architects, Oslo, at the Foresterhill site, Northeast Scotland

20 Dec 2011

First glimpse of Maggie’s Aberdeen

Maggie’s Aberdeen takes a step closer to becoming a reality as initial design concepts are released to coincide with the planning application being submitted to Aberdeen City Council.

Maggie’s Centre Aberdeen:
Maggie's Cancer Caring Center Aberdeen
image from architects

Maggie’s Center Aberdeen

The council will now spend 8-12 weeks deliberating over the design of the Maggie’s Centre at the Foresterhill site of Aberdeen Royal Infirmary before coming to a decision on granting permission.

This week saw the release of the initial design image of the Centre, as designed by Oslo based architectural firm Snohetta.

Maggie’s Aberdeen will continue Maggie’s legacy of bringing contemplative architectural to hospital sites; providing the all important right environment for Maggie’s to facilitate their programme of emotional and practical support to anyone affected by cancer.

A string of talented architects have now designed Maggie’s Centres, including the likes of Frank Gehry, Zaha Hadid and Rem Koolhaas. Snohetta will follow in such footsteps to design the latest Maggie’s Centre, and will draw on local expertise to realise the vision of the Centre.

Laura Lee, Maggie’s CEO, said: “We are so pleased that the application is now under consideration by the council. The design for Maggie’s Aberdeen is really striking and encapsulates the Maggie’s brief in providing a space that is homely and full of warmth, whilst sparking curiosity and imagination from its visitors. This is a building that will first and foremost provide the ideal environment for people facing cancer in the region to gain support, whilst also greatly contributing to architecture within the region. Monty’s Maggie’s Appeal has inspired a fantastic response from the community and I look forward to entering 2012 with such a tenacious and supportive team.”

Maggie’s Aberdeen – ground floor plan:
Maggie's Centre Aberdeen

Colin Welsh, Chairman of Monty’s Maggie’s Appeal Committee said: ““This is a real milestone for us and a time to thank all of the donors who have supported the Appeal over the last year when all we had to talk about was the concept of the Centre. I also want to commend all the local companies who are giving services free of charge. We are hoping that being able to see what the building will look like and where it will sit, will give our Appeal further momentum.”

Richard Carey, NHS Grampian Chief Executive, said: “What great progress for Monty’s Maggie’s Appeal to have reached this important stage in development. The initial design manages to be both stunning and modern whilst appearing welcoming at the same time. It will certainly be an exciting and most worthwhile building to have on our Foresterhill site and for the people of Grampian. This is a centre that will be greatly utilised by all in the region affected by cancer and it’s great to take a step closer to that reality.”

Charles Jencks said: “Snohetta, coming from the Norwegian culture, has great insight into the life and landscape of the Scots – particularly Aberdeen, a short hop from Oslo. Their mixture of a warm interior of furnishing embraced by a protective shell strikes just the right balance for Maggie’s.”

The location of the Centre will be at the southern boundary of Foresterhill at the edge of the Westburn field. The enviable location will allow the centre to be connected to the hospital whilst at the same time being set apart and independent.

Maggie’s Aberdeen – section:
Maggie's Centre Aberdeen

The building is conceived as a pavilion in its parkland setting. The soft exterior form envelops the whole of the centre, and will be cladded with a hard concrete materiality. Whilst the interior building will be more angular in design but will be constructed from soft timber materials. The centre is primarily on one ground floor level with a smaller mezzanine area devoted to the office functions.

The centre will sit within a grass field, with the existing tree line along the Westburn is to be retained and strengthened by new planting of Maple trees to the western end. To mark the entrance, a group of Beech trees will be planted, contrasting in colour and texture to the existing trees. A courtyard garden will be at the heart of the Centre and will form a secluded outdoor space. The courtyard will be covered with a mix of hard and soft surfaces with a centrally planted Flowering Cherry Tree.

The Monty’s Maggie’s Appeal, supported by the Press & Journal, is a joint campaign run by Maggie’s Centres and the Elizabeth Montgomerie Foundation, to raise the £3million needed to build and run Maggie’s Aberdeen for the first two years.


The architecture and landscape architecture practice was founded in Oslo, Norway in 1989 and selected to build the award-winning ne Library of Alexandria. Then after winning the commission to design the National September 11 Memorial Museum Pavilion, Snohetta was also incorporated as an architecture practice in New York. The firm’s most recent award-winning scheme is the new waterside National Opera House in Oslo.

Maggie’s relationship with architecture

Most visitors to Maggie’s have received a cancer diagnosis which has left them in shock and often unable to digest anything their doctor said to them after the word ‘cancer’. Architecture plays the important role at Maggie’s of evoking curiosity, drawing visitors inside and then helping them feel relaxed and at home.

By being interesting yet calm, the buildings allow visitors to feel less anxious and shocked, more open and able to take in new information and make good contact with others. This allows visitors an opportunity to begin to consider their future options and opportunities for information and support through Maggie’s. Maggie’s Centres also support our health professionals by providing positive environments within which to welcome and console, inform, listen and be alongside those living with cancer.

Maggie’s Aberdeen images / information from Snohetta

Maggie’s Centre in Aberdeen : main page on this Scottish cancer caring centre

Maggie’s Aberdeen design : Snohetta – Norwegian architects

Location: Aberdeen Royal Infirmary, Foresterhill, Aberdeen

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photo : Martine Hamilton Knight

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Comments / photos for the Maggie’s Cancer Caring Center Aberdeen at the Foresterhill campus – Snøhetta Building in Scotland page welcome