Gerry’s ‘joie de vivre’ impresses Maggie’s judges

Posted on 16/07/2014 by

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Gerry’s designcreates a ‘calming, open and uplifting space’

Maggies architectGerry Reid, a fifth year pupil at Culloden Academy, has won Maggie’s Schools’ Architecture Competition. Gerry’s design was inspired by the shape and structure of a leaf, and judges clearly thought it was tree-mendous (sorry)! 

Maggie’s Schools’ Architecture Competition was developed by Maggie’s and The Lighthouse with the aim of introducing secondary school students to ideas around how architecture can impact health and well-being, and of giving them an insight into architecture, design and technology. The students were asked to come up with their own plan for a new Maggie’s Centre.

Competition judge Kirsty Wark, an Honorary Patron of Maggie’s said: “Students worked to the same brief as the architects who have designed real Maggie’s Centres, to design a healing space for people affected by cancer. There were some great ideas and the young people really understood the brief and what we needed from them.”

“Gerry’s design stood out: she showed an impressive grasp of the way that architecture and design can create hopeful, joyous places where people can find calm during a critical time in their lives.”

Gerry’s prize is a week’s work experience at Richard Murphy Architects, the creators of the first Maggie’s Centre which opened in Edinburgh in 1996.

Gerry was inspired by a visit to Maggie’s Highlands with her classmates where staff explained about the Maggie’s programme of support and discussed the design of the building and how it made staff and visitors feel. She said: “This has been a great experience for me as it has given me the chance to come as close as possible to working in the way that a practising architect would. The whole project has enabled me to push myself as far as possible and to work in an area of design about which I am passionate.

“From the start, I knew that my design had to be calming, safe and aesthetically strong. With this in mind, I linked the theme of nature to my design. My aim was to transport people from the clinical hospital environment into a calming, open and uplifting space.

“I am really excited about gaining experience at Richard Murphy Architects. I have never been in an architects’ practice let alone worked alongside them! I know that the insight and experience which I gain will be invaluable for my future pathway which I aim to take into the incredible world of architecture.

“I’d like to thank Maggie’s Centre, Inverness for allowing me to visit and pick their brains as to the very specific requirements of such a building!”

All the short-listed designs will be exhibited at The Lighthouse, Scotland’s Centre for Design and Architecture, and Maggie’s will keep the students’ design sketches as inspiration for design teams working on Maggie’s Centres in the future.

Ian Elder, manager of The Lighthouse, said: “We worked with Maggie’s to develop a concept to present architecture into schools, introducing creativity, innovation and the wider idea of how this can be applied through design to buildings. The fact that schools design their submissions to the same brief as architects gives real-life experience and students get the chance to practise research and presentation skills, adding value to the current school curriculum.”

Richard Murphy, of Richard Murphy Architects, added: “Gerry’s design has fantastic joie de vivre. It makes a whole series of alcove-like places on the inside which responds directly to my thinking as to how a Maggie’s Centre might be inhabited. On the outside, the building is a fantastic agglomeration of rooms giving it both a domestic appropriateness but also a slightly fantastical and intriguing appearance. I thought the idea of basing it on a leaf plan and developing it into an attractive building showed remarkable sophistication.”

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