Lord Rogers follows Frank Gehry and Zaha Hadid in designing a Maggie’s Centre offering cancer patients support and advice

The new Maggie's Centre for cancer patients, designed by Rogers Stirk Harbour + Partners, opened today at Charing Cross Hospital in London’s Hammersmith.

Maggie’s London is the cancer care network’s sixth centre and the first to be built outside Scotland, but not the first to involve a leading architect. Designers of the existing Scottish centres have included Frank Gehry, Zaha Hadid and PagePark.

Several other Maggie’s Centres, providing support and advice to cancer patients, are to be rolled out across the UK over the next four years, bringing the total number to 13 by 2012. Rem Koolhaas has already been signed up to design one of the new centres.

The centres are the brainchild of garden designer Maggie Keswick Jencks who, while suffering terminal cancer herself, recognised cancer patients’ need for psychological support and practical information in an uplifting environment. Her husband, architecture writer and critic Charles Jencks, is a close family friend of Richard Rogers.

Rogers said: “I am delighted that Maggie’s London is opening. There is a long history linking well-designed buildings and space with healing, which was identified by my friend Maggie Keswick Jencks and has been built on by the work of Maggie’s Centres since 1996. Maggie’s Centres are a vital example of good design serving communities and those in need.”

The new centre, which is sited within a garden and internal courtyards created by landscape designer Dan Pearson, was officially opened by Sarah Brown, a patron of Maggie’s, and celebrity chef Nigella Lawson.

Lawson said: “Richard Rogers and his team have created both a stunning piece of architecture and, crucially, an intimate and supportive domestic centre which will have a positively helpful impact on people living with cancer.”

Brown said: “The opening of Maggie’s in London will provide a fantastic service for anyone diagnosed with cancer in the capital. These world-class designed centres have offered professional support and information for people in Scotland and it is a tribute to this success that they have been invited to London and other locations in England and Wales.”

Maggie’s relies completely on voluntary donations and the London centre has been supported by £3.5m in donations from individuals, community groups, trusts, and statutory and corporate donations.