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Last Updated: Thursday, 25 September, 2003, 06:16 GMT 07:16 UK
Designer cancer centre opens
Maggies Centre
Mr Gehry was a close friend of founder Maggie Keswick Jencks
The man who designed the Guggenheim Museum in Bilbao has unveiled his first building in the UK.

The Maggie's Centre at Ninewells Hospital in Dundee will help support cancer sufferers and their families.

Its unusual design bears architect Frank Gehry's signature features - none of its walls is straight and the concertinaed roof is made of stainless steel and timber.

Sir Bob Geldof officially opened the centre by releasing balloons.

Maggie's Centres help people with cancer, their carers, families and friends to manage the physical and emotional impact of the disease.

A cornerstone of their programme is to deliver support in thoughtfully-designed environments.

Mr Gehry was asked to design the building for the Dundee project.

With the benefit of Maggie's Centre, people can be better prepared to participate in making the difficult decisions that are very much a part of managing cancer and its aftermath
Alastair Munro
Ninewells Hospital
He was a close friend of Maggie Keswick Jencks, the founder of the Maggie's Centres.

"I wanted to create a building that would be calming and accommodating and one that would be a fitting tribute to Maggie," he said.

"I think it's an inviting building, I think people will want to come inside and spend time there and I really hope that in some small way it might contribute to a sense of rejuvenated vigour for moving forward and living life."

Alastair Munro, professor of radiation oncology at Ninewells Hospital, said it was important for people to have a source of advice and support outside the medical staff themselves.

"With the benefit of Maggie's Centre, people can be better prepared to participate in making the difficult decisions that are very much a part of managing cancer and its aftermath," he said.

"Patients who are well-informed and well-supported often feel less stressed and are therefore more able to cope with demanding treatment schedules.

"This in turn may reduce any adverse impact of treatment and contribute to an improved outcome."


WATCH AND LISTEN
The BBC's Rebecca Jones in Dundee
"It couldn't be less like a hospital"



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