Maggie’s Centre at Christie Hospital in Manchester by Foster & Partners


Nigel Young

Designed by Foster & Partners, the Maggie’s Centre at the Christie Hospital in Manchester is a ‘home from home’ for those undergoing cancer treatment. Intended to establish a domestic atmosphere in a garden setting, the single-storey building has a low profile, in keeping with the surrounding residential streets. Its copper alloy-clad roof rises in the centre to allow a mezzanine level beneath, daylit by triangular rooflights. The roof is supported by timber lattice beams, some of which partition the internal zones.


The centre, clad externally in Siberian larch, incorporates a variety of spaces, from private niches to a library, exercise rooms and places to gather. At the heart of the building is a kitchen, centred on a large communal table. Corridors and hospital signs are avoided and the materials palette combines wood and fabrics. Support offices are on the mezzanine above the central spine, with toilets and storage spaces below.


Natural light, greenery and garden views are a priority, and the rectilinear plan is punctuated by landscaped courtyards and the western end extends into a veranda, sheltered by the overhanging roof. Sliding glass doors open the building up to a garden setting designed by Dan Pearson Studio.


Treatment and counselling rooms on the east side face individual private gardens. The south end of the building extends to form a greenhouse retreat in which people can gather, work and even grow flowers and other plants.

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Architect, engineer
Foster & Partners
Quantity surveyor
Gardiner & Theobald
Landscape architect
Dan Pearson Studio
Sir Robert McAlpine

Timber specialist
Larch cladding
Silva Timber
Vertical glazing
Bennett Aluminium
Copper alloy roof
Aurubis (Nordic Bronze)