the general space brilliantly It's very peaceful and soft and you can see the sky and the sea.‘ Maggie's (‘entre overlooks the River lay. and is ne\t to .\'inewells llospital. (ichry has incorporated the idea of a New lingland-style lighthouse into the structure. like a beacon. with a low-level building topped by a now signature shiny metal roof. ruckled in uneven concertina ridges and o\el‘llangillg great wide windows that open onto this panorama. The overall effect is bold. simple and somewhat stark. 'l'he lirank (iehry stamp is indeliny there. though things have been kept modest enough not to distract frotn the building's essential purpose and function. It‘s a tricky tension to manage when your success comes from tnaking statements that are testament to a brilliant and necessary egotism. ‘I think it’s absolutely essential for the architects to make sure that their strong personalities don‘t override the meanings of the buildings.. says .\'ick Barley. who will be chairing a symposium entitled 'Breathing Space: Towards an Aesthetic for (‘ancer (‘are‘ with (iehry. lladid
and Murphy. and who takes over soon as editor of
The List. ‘lt's very difficult because in order to get something built you need a very strong personality and a real vision for something which exists only
on a piece of paper. Single-mindedness is part of being an architect and so big egos make it'. of
course that carries with it the problem that sometimes egos can get in the way of everything. There are some people in Scotland who think it‘s a publicity stunt. Hopefully. they will come to the conference and contribute to the debate.‘
But even if it is a stunt. does that matter'.’ (iehry is a celebrity because he's a wonderful architect and is using his talents to create an environment that has the potential to really make a difference in peoples‘ lives. (‘harles Jencks believes that risk taking is part of dealing with cancer. ‘We were confident he could understand the domestic and informal perfectly and yet also understand the grand gesture because these centres have to inspire the patient to take the risk to light for their life. Frank‘s building handles the contradiction extremely well.’
Perhaps this kind of sensitive. yet non-queasy. attitude is the right one to take when confronting the complex demands and problems of cancer patients. The Dundee (‘entre could prove a remarkable contribution to cancer care from the combined knowledge and wisdom of two brave people: one who has known the mental and physical trauma of battling with cancer and the other. a friend. who puts himself on the line creatively to produce spaces that challenge perceptions and inspire.
Maggie and Frank had their joint vision for this building. and its potential to help all those who walk through its doors can only be guessed at. As a publicity stunt. if that’s how you see it. there are worse causes to raise awareness for than cancer care and inspirational architecture. That the pair are famous will be irrelevant in time. and if the vision is successful it should allow the space to simply be as it was intended — somewhere to provide support. reassurance. strength and courage. Frank who‘.’ Make us a cuppa will you. and carry on with what you were saying about that wig shop.
Maggie’s Centre Dundee opens on Thu 25 Sep and can be visited by the public on Sat & Sun 11am-3pm. For details of all events, call Dundee Contemporary Arts on 01382 909900 or visit www.dca.org.uk
It may go without saying. but the design for Maggie's Centre will be unlike anything ever seen in Dundee. Here are five other places that have been transformed by the Gehry vision. Words Helen Monaghan
Gehry Residence, Santa Monica In 19/19, he inexpensively re worked his conventional. two Storey. pulls. suburban house in California Breaking With tradition, Gehry used harsh, industrial materials in its renovation.
Nationale-Nederianden Building, Prague Biiilt tor a Dutch insurance company and completed in 1996. this has been dubbed the ‘Ginger and Fred' building. ihe corner of the structure consists of two 'dancing' cylindrical forms. one of which is made from glass and is pinched at the ‘waist'.
Guggenheim Museum, Bilbao Described a ‘Iunar lander in search of its rnoon', Gehry's controverSIal masterpiece has become the Visual icon for a City. Gleaming titanium envelopes the sweeping structure of curying lonns and in the interior, glass panels lOlll in aCUte pomted angles in steel frames leading to a mix of exotic and traditional gallery spaces.
Walt Disney Concert Hall, LA Already being dubbed the 'son of Bilbao'. the new home of the Los Angeles Philharmonic Will be unveiled in October. With its sweeping curves. light-filled lobbies and expanses of glass. as deSigned to be one of the most acoustically sophisticated concert halls in the w0rld.
18 Sept—2 Oct 2003 THE LIST 13