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The “On the Road” series opens up new perspectives, proposing a one-of-a-kind architectural guide that is not focussed on a city, but on a new contemporary architectural concept: Maggie’s centres, buildings not integrated within hospitals, but dedicated to assisting cancer patients. The idea was founded in Great Britain and inspired by the empathy of Maggie Keswick and her husband, the architectural critic, Charles Jencks.
This scientific volume is the result of research by architect and lecturer Caterina Frisone, who earned a PhD from Oxford Brookes University with a thesis dedicated to the study of these centers.
The reader/visitor will discover different ways to design and create outstanding buildings – not only due to their type but also their therapeutic power – conceived as a means for alleviating and confronting the illness through “emotionally healthy” architecture designed by some of the world’s most famous architects.
The unusual aspect of these centres lies in their capacity to influence both the physical and mental condition, stimulating all the senses to contribute to the patients’ well-being. This is achieved through space, materials, and light: the centres are designed to influence the emotions, bringing happiness and energy to the “visitors” (this term refers to all those who enter the structures, whether patients, family or friends).
Twenty-five years after the creation of the first centre, there are now 28 Maggie’s centres in different countries all over the world, and many more are under design and construction. The wish is to increase the number of these centres to create one nearby every cancer hospital in Great Britain and elsewhere.
Caterina Frisone is an architect, educator and associate researcher at the School of Architecture, Oxford Brookes University, where she conducts research in architecture of care and experiential design. She has taught design studios in Italy, the US and the UK analysing how experiential fields are catalysts for well-being. Her doctoral thesis investigated the role of architecture in the therapeutic environment. The findings should help professional practice reshape future healthcare facilities.