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“Lighthouse” Maggie’s Cancer Caring Centre For Sligo

Part 1 Project 2013
Przemyslaw Raiwa
Institute of Technology Sligo Ireland
Founded by Maggie and Charles Jencks in the mid-1990’s as a holistic day care ‘drop-in’ centre for people and their families affected by cancer, the Maggie’s typology has been described as a new hybrid in architecture; one which bridges institutional healthcare with domesticity and aims to compliment conventional treatments for cancer by offering support and guidance in a calm, comforting, homely environment.

Maggie’s Sligo is the first centre proposed for Ireland and is located within the grounds of Sligo General Hospital, serving the north-west region. The proposal is a re-imagining of an existing 1970’s house, currently used as an Orthodontist facility, which has been chosen for its connection to nature and proximity to the hospital.

The project draws upon Sligo’s maritime heritage and considers how the lighthouse is a landmark of comfort for the people of Sligo, representing guidance as it would for any sea-faring region. Acting as a light in the dark, the lighthouse is a metaphor for navigating the plethora of information and myriad of choices a diagnosis of cancer presents.

The concept has informed the architecture to promote a mindscape of calm, taking the user from the unknown, tortuous and often terrifying to the known and familiar, where knowledge is empowerment and social support is reassurance.

As Charles Jencks says, “The right knowledge is power and can help you live longer”.

The architecture has been approached with simplicity, working in empathy with the existing building and the ever-changing climatic characteristics of the Atlantic locality. The enclosing glass element blurs the boundaries between the interior and exterior, offering physical protection from the elements and psychological comfort by virtue of the enclosed roof terrace and winter gardens. Inviting entrance deliberately tempers threshold, prompting a gentle transition between the outside and the heart of the centre.

A triple-height light-well acts as a pivotal hub within the centre, allowing natural light to penetrate the heart of the building during the day and illuminate the night sky.

Przemyslaw Raiwa


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