At Maggie’s Forth Valley, Larbert, Scotland, we are extremely privileged to have a beautiful lochside setting adjacent to the Royal Hospital.

We imagined a shoal of fish swimming through the scheme! Fish bringing fresh life energy, colour and silvery reflections of life. They brought form, light and internal planning lines to our palette.

And then we added the Kaleidoscope; revolving forms of colour that just nudge the regular formation of the shoal. Those forms bring light down from above and reflect jewel-like colours within the interior.

These concepts provide the structure for all elements to fall into place.

Hence otherwise remarkably domestic scale fires, kitchens, rooms, cloakrooms, and so on, chime as part of the whole composition.  Each element is just one vital part of a dynamic shoal, that has darted into the bay, and found Shelter.

This sense of shelter is also signalled by the fine mushroom like umbrellas, protecting the immediate external surroundings from the elements, and providing wonderful opportunities for users to sit outside and enjoy the loch, the trees and the wildlife. It is a scheme within which to meet the true Nature of life.

Maggie’s centres are founded in the belief that sensitively designed and well crafted material quality is a pre-requisite to generating the nurturing, healing and inspiring environment for cancer patients, their families and supporters, for which they are renowned,

Maggie’s are committed to commissioning places that will offer a refuge in which to breathe, cry, rest, feed, heal, recover and re-capture energy and strength, supporting the user in finding the joy of living.

As architects we have about 30 seconds, upon initial entry, to convince the new user that they should be brave enough to truly enter and partake, so there crucially needs to be

a genuine invitation to approach the building

an even stronger invitation to come in and settle, perhaps by the fire, with a cup of tea or coffee close at hand and as a familiar prop

Spaces are warmer, lighter, and perhaps more colourful than the user finds either in the hospital or at home.  They speak of true and rich investment in every individual; they are “for me”; “for you” and provide a gift of personal space, sometimes very private; sometimes shared.