Maggie’s Centres are unique recuperative spaces that offer
comprehensive support for cancer sufferers and their families. The latest
centre, designed by architects Reiach and Hall, is set in the grounds of the
Monklands Hospital in Airdrie, Lanarkshire.
A long and low pavilion, the centre sits within a walled garden. It offers
a progression of landscape, texture and light through a sequence of
hierarchical spaces, arranged around two central courts and bordered
by two smaller courts of contemplation. As well as being functional, the
lighting had to support the comfortable domestic style.
Because of the length, relatively low height and deep plan of the
building, getting daylight to penetrate the communal spaces was a key
design challenge. While the courtyard spaces provided desirable views of
the sky, they lacked direct connection to light and added only a limited
amount of daylight into the building.
Working closely with the architects, we carried out extensive daylight
studies. In the spring, summer and fall there is a good amount of daylight
penetration into the building, but the lack of daylight in winter meant
further thought needed to be given to the balance of interior and exterior
lighting, and specific consideration of the transition from day to night.
The idea of positioning an object that would act as a ‘light catcher’ within
each central courtyard was eventually conceived. This would provide
positively lit and reflective surfaces that would bounce natural light
around and into the building. To achieve the desired results, the height,
proportion, materiality and reflectivity of the object all needed to be
carefully considered. Further daylight analysis and physical modelling
informed the development of the structural form and finishes.
The shape, finish and perforations of the geode light catchers are
designed to work holistically to maximise daylight penetration.
Measuring 1894mm x 1984mm x 1300mm high, their interior is 2mm
mirror-polished gold stainless steel. The exterior is 8mm matt gold paint
anodised aluminium. Pattern-making, reflected daylight and views of the
sky are created by the perforations and the highly polished interior
Carrie Donahue Bremner, associate of Speirs and Major, explains the development of a daylight device dubbed the ‘light catcher’,
specially created for Maggie’s Centre in Lanarkshire
Above and right: To achieve the desired results, the height, proportion,
materiality and reflectivity of the object were all carefully considered
Below: daylight studies ▼