Maggie's Manchester

Foster + Partners, Manchester, 2016


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The centre is focused around a garden 

Nigel Young     Download Original

  • The centre is focused around a garden    
  • Timber was chosen as the primary building material for its aesthetic and structural properties    
  • There is a focus on natural light, greenery and garden views    
  • The overhang of the roof provides protection from the rain    
  • The centre provides a space for gardening    
  • A large, communal table is framed by the roof trusses     
  • The timber beams are designed as trusses    
  • ‘The purpose of this building,’ says Norman Foster (pictured right), ‘is to provide a refuge    
  • The centre is naturally illuminated by triangular roof lights    
  • Maggie    
  • Ground floor plan    
  • Roof plan    
  • Mezzanine floor plan    
  • Long section 01 and 02    
  • Short section    
  • South elevation    
  • West elevation    
  • Parabola diagram    
  • Axial force distribution in typical frame    
  • Sectional 3D view    

This cancer care centre uses landscaping and greenery to help create a therapeutic sanctuary.

This 500m2 single-storey building is focused largely around a garden, while the exterior spaces are given the same focus and status as the interior. At the eastern side adjoining the car park the garden is broken up into small courtyards, offering private spaces leading from each of the centre’s counselling rooms. To the west, the garden is more open and offers a threshold between the street and the centre. A greenhouse sits proud of the south elevation, its faceted glass facade echoing the building’s triangular rooflights.

Naturally illuminated by these triangular roof lights, the building is supported by lightweight timber lattice beams. These beams act as natural partitions between different internal areas, visually dissolving the architecture into the surrounding gardens.

As with all Maggie’s Centres, the kitchen table is a salient feature of the design, occupying one of the first spaces seen from the front door. The spaces all open out on to a veranda, which acts as a threshold between the garden and the building. This is sheltered by a timber roof, which extends outwards around the building in a deep overhang to provide protection from rain.

The design uses Laminated Veneer Lumber (LVL), which gives the structure greater strength, and there is no visible fixing between two timber pieces. Timber was chosen as the primary building material for its aesthetic and structural properties, as well as cost and carbon efficiency. The timber beams are designed as trusses, which reflect the magnitude and orientation of the loads acting on them – any portion that is superfluous to the structural support has been removed. The diagonal arrangement of the trusses in plan across the central spine enables the structure to provide stability to the roof without the need for any additional bracing elements or stiffeners.


  • Begun: 2014
  • Completed: 2016
  • Floor area: 500m2
  • Sector: Healthcare
  • Address: The Robert Parfett Building, 15 Kinnaird Rd, Manchester, M20 4QL, United Kingdom

Professional Team