New York School of Interior Design presents "Maggie's Centres: A Blueprint for Cancer Care" Exhibition

New York, NY – January 28, 2014 – New York School of Interior Design (NYSID) will present an exhibition on Maggie’s Centres, an organization that offers free practical, emotional, and social support to people with cancer and their family and friends. Built on the grounds of cancer hospitals, the Centres are warm and welcoming places designed by world-renowned architects like Frank Gehry, Rem Koolhaas, Steven Holl, and Zaha Hadid. The exhibition will be on view from March 7 – April 25, 2014 at the NYSID Gallery, 161 East 69th Street, NYC.

Maggie’s Centres were conceived by the late Maggie Keswick Jencks, along with her husband Charles Jencks, as a direct response to her own experience with cancer. She was determined that people should not “lose the joy of living in the fear of dying.” In order to live more positively with cancer, she believed you needed information that would allow you to be an informed participant in your medical treatment, and have access to stress-reducing strategies, psychological support, and the opportunity to meet others in similar circumstances in a relaxed atmosphere. During the last 18 months of her life, she worked closely with her medical team to develop a new approach to cancer care. The first Maggie’s Centre opened in 1996 in Edinburgh, Scotland, a year after her death. Since then, Maggie’s has grown to 17 Centres across the United Kingdom and beyond, with many more to follow. 

“Maggie’s offers an essential service to those with cancer, and we wanted to shine a light on the important work they do and bring it to a US audience,” said NYSID president David Sprouls. “NYSID also offers a Master's program in Healthcare Interior Design, so the two institutions share the belief that one’s environment can promote healing.”

This exhibition will focus in depth on five Centres and demonstrate how each one combines aspects of practical, emotional and social support that are often separate in to a single hybrid building type; a space that is part-hospital, part-church, part-museum, and part-home. Maggie’s Dundee, in Dundee, Scotland, opened in 2003 and is situated adjacent to Ninewells Hospital. It was designed by famed architect Frank Gehry.  The white, cottage-like building with a wavy silver roof is modelled on a traditional Scottish “butt n’ ben” dwelling.  The garden, designed by landscape architect Arabella Lennox-Boyd, contains a labyrinth design that is an allegory for life: It isn’t a maze, there are no dead ends, but you have to trust you will find a route through, even though often it feels like you are heading in completely the wrong direction. 

Maggie’s West London, which opened in 2008, was designed by Sir Richard Rogers of Rogers Stirk Harbour + Partners. The design was inspired by Richard Roger’s concept of a heart nestled in the protective wrap of a building’s four walls. The bright orange exterior walls carry visitors into an equally uplifting interior with cozy rooms, bright open spaces and transitional walls that provide the flexible space needed to host everything from intimate chats to lively exercise classes. The Centre, which is situated on the grounds of Charing Cross Hospital, is situated within a series of courtyards and a garden designed by Dan Pearson.

Maggie’s Gartnavel, in Glasgow, Scotland, was designed by Rem Koolhaas and his firm OMA, and opened in 2011. The Centre is nestled among the woodland in the grounds of Gartnavel General Hospital. The striking, single-level building is designed as a sequence of interconnected L-shaped figures that create clearly distinguished areas – an arrangement that minimizes the need for corridors and hallways and allows the rooms to flow from one to another. Lily Jencks, daughter of Maggie Keswick Jencks and Charles Jencks, designed the internal courtyard plantings and the wooded areas surrounding the Centre.

Maggie’s Nottingham, adjacent to Nottingham City Hospital in England, was designed by Piers Gough and also opened its doors in 2011. The building has an unusual shape and a bright-green exterior, and its near symmetrical design and generous height allows Maggie’s Nottingham to have a sense of space and balance. The interiors were designed by Nottingham-born fashion designer Paul Smith, who created an eclectic interior where colorful prints meet classic design and furniture, and every room has a different feel and atmosphere.

Maggie’s Barts, designed by architect Steven Holl, is not yet built but is planned to be near St. Bartholomew’s Hospital in North East London. Holl’s design is influenced by the flow of music, with the exterior of the building created from lit matte glass organized in horizontal bands like a musical staff, while the internal concrete structure branches like the hand. The interior character of the building will be shaped by colored light washing the floors and walls, changing by the time of day and season. 

This exhibition is sponsored in part by Benjamin Moore, J. Pocker, and Vitra.

“Maggie’s Centres: A Blueprint for Cancer Care” will be open from March 7 – April 25, 2014 at the New York School of Interior Design, NYSID Gallery, 161 East 69th Street, NYC.  Gallery Hours: Tuesday – Saturday, 11am – 6pm. 


Charles Jencks: Can Architecture Affect Your Health?
Thursday, March 6, 6pm
Followed by the opening reception for the exhibition

Charles Jencks—an architectural theorist, landscape architect, designer, and co-founder of Maggie’s Centres, discusses the connection between an environment, feeling good, and good health.

Michael Graves: A Case for Humanistic Solutions in Healthcare Design
Wednesday, March 26, 6:30pm

Michael Graves will speak about the foundation of his design philosophy and how a personal healthcare tragedy focused his attention on improving healthcare experiences by design.

Contemporary Art in Healthcare Environments
Wednesday, April 23, 6:30pm 

Jennifer Finkel, curator of the Cleveland Clinic Art Program, and Diane Brown, founder and president of RxArt, will discuss their work to integrate contemporary into healthcare environments and the affect it has on patients and their families.


About New York School of Interior Design
Founded in 1916, the New York School of Interior Design (NYSID) is a private, not-for-profit college devoted exclusively to interior design education and related disciplines. NYSID’s guiding principle is that the interior environment is a fundamental element of human welfare and the College is committed to actively improving the quality of life for all segments of humanity. This ideal is put into practice by a dedicated faculty of designers, architects, art historians, and authorities in the field who guide more than 700 full- and part-time students.NYSID offers certificate, undergraduate, and graduate programs in the field of interior design, design history and theory, sustainable design, interior lighting design, and healthcare interior design. A wide range of classes are also offered through our Institute for Continuing and Professional Studies. The College is an accredited institutional member of the National Association of Schools of Art and Design (NASAD); is a Candidate for Accreditation by the Middle States Commission on Higher Education; and NYSID’s BFA and MFA-1 programs are accredited by the Council for Interior Design Accreditation (CIDA).

Maggie’s offers free practical, emotional and social support to people with cancer and their family and friends. For further information about Maggie’s please go to

Press ReleasePhyllis Greer