1st Edition

The Therapeutic Power of the Maggie’s Centre Experience, Design and Wellbeing, Where Architecture meets Neuroscience

By Caterina Frisone Copyright 2024
    254 Pages 58 B/W Illustrations
    by Routledge

    254 Pages 58 B/W Illustrations
    by Routledge

    This book is about the therapeutic environment of the Maggie’s centre and explores the many ways this is achieved. With an unconventional architecture as required by the design brief, combined with Maggie’s psychological support programme, this special health facility allows extraordinary therapeutic effects in people, to the point that one can speak of therapeutic power.

    After tracing the story of the Maggie’s centre, the book reveals its fundamentals: Maggie’s Therapeutikos (the-mind-as-important-as-the-body), the Architectural Brief and the ‘Client-Architect-Users’ Triad. It continues by unfolding Maggie’s synergy-that between people and place-which increases users’ psychological flexibility helping them tolerate what was intolerable before. Although comfort and atmospheres are paramount, they are not enough to define the therapeutic environment of the Maggie’s centre. Only by looking at neuroscience that can give us scientific explanations of empathy, feelings and emotions and only considering space neither neutral nor empty, but full of forces that envelop people in an embodied experience, can we explain what generates wellbeing in a Maggie’s centre.

    The book concludes by critically evaluating the Maggie’s centre as a model to be applied to other healthcare facilities and to architecture in general. It is essential reading for any student or professional working on therapeutic environments.

    1.Introduction  2. Maggie’s Therapeutic Environment  3. The Maggie’s centre  4.Maggie’s Fundamentals  5.Maggie’s Synergy  6.Maggie’s Phenomenology  7.Maggie’s as a Paradigm and the Future of the Architecture of Care  8.Epilogue


    Caterina Frisone earned her PhD and was Associate Lecturer in Interior Architecture at Oxford Brookes University, UK. She is now the Scientific Director of the Postgraduate programme ‘Master in Architecture and Health’ at the University Iuav of Venice.

    "The role of emotions and feelings for a person left alone in that limbo that follows a cancer diagnosis is why Maggie Keswick Jencks started her pilot project for a centre with a human element at its core which, since 1996, has continued to grow to help more and more people with cancer. Explaining our philosophy with strength and passion, this book promotes Maggie’s values that hopefully go beyond healthcare and reach a wider architectural audience."

    Dame Laura Lee, Maggie’s CEO

    "And I came in and I was in the centre for about three hours, and the initial feeling of walking through that door, and just looking up and seeing it, was there even then and felt that powerful, that I was in a powerful place. I think I felt I was in a safe place. And that's what I feel when I've come into Maggie’s, I feel safe, here."

    Malita, Maggie’s Dundee visitor

    "I couldn’t believe my cancer diagnosis, but then I thought ‘I can come here every day! I can sit in a corner and cry some time, yeah!’ I swear to God, if I didn’t have it, I don’t think I would be ok as I am."

    Elizabeth, Maggie’s Barts visitor

    "This is not the business of healthcare, but it is the business of the spirit. And it really is a very spiritual place, in a non-religious way."

    Carol, Maggie’s Oldham visitor