maggie’s centre by norman foster seeks planning permission
image © nigel young
image courtesy of foster + partners




UPDATE: april 11th, 2014 – it has been announced that the £6 million cancer support center has now been awarded planning permission by local authorities. construction at the christie in manchester will now move ahead, with a provisional opening date slated for 2016.

a design by foster + partners forms the latest addition to the growing collection of maggie’s centres being developed by leading architecture practices across the UK.
since 1996, the centres have offered free practical, emotional and social support to people with cancer, as well as their family and friends. located in manchester, the development will be sited in the grounds of the christie – a hospital dedicated to the research and treatment of cancer.


set within the tranquil garden, foster’s plan responds to the existing green spaces, incorporating natural themes which engage the outdoors. the single storey timber structure is arranged around a wide, central spine, while the roof canopy rises to create a mezzanine level naturally lit from above. an integrated glass house protrudes from the south enabling occupants to congregate, benefiting from nature’s therapeutic qualities. a warm internal palette of natural wood and tactile fabrics ensures a comfortable and hospitable environment throughout.


complimenting foster’s design, the surrounding gardens have been landscaped by dan pearson, combining bright clusters of flowers with calming water features. the colors and and overall sensory experience will become part of the centre through micro-gardens and internal courtyards, relating to different volumes within the building. an adjacent pool will provide a calm area for reflection, while deep canopies shelter the open terraces, providing access to fresh air throughout the year. subject to planing approval, the new centre is due to open in 2016.


‘we are delighted to be designing a new maggie’s centre in manchester – this project has a particular personal significance, as I was born in the city and have first-hand experience of the distress of a cancer diagnosis. I believe in the power of architecture to lift the spirits and help in the process of therapy. within the centre, there is a variety of spaces – visitors can gather around a big kitchen table, find a peaceful place to think or they can work with their hands in the greenhouse. throughout, there is a focus on natural light and contact with the gardens. the timber frame, with its planted lattice helps to dissolve the architecture into the surrounding greenery,’ explained lord norman foster.


maggie’s chief executive, laura lee said, ‘we are delighted that lord norman foster is designing the maggie’s centre at the christie. great architecture is vital to the care maggie’s offers, creating environments that are both calm and uplifting. the application for planning permission brings us one step closer to the centre becoming a reality and being able to offer the highest quality cancer support to the people of the north west.’


‘this is an exciting step forward in a development which would make a huge difference to our patients and their families. a maggie’s centre would significantly enhance the cancer care and support already offered at the christie, giving our patients access to a wider range of therapies and support. we look forward to the outcome of the planning application,’ commented dr stephanie jenkins, deputy chief operating officer at the christie.