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Maggie’s Centre


Still in the UK, the recently opened cancer center of the association Maggie’s designed by dRMM Architects (Alex de Rijke, Philip Marsh and Sadie Morgan), also pioneers the use of hardwood CLT and its premium structural properties. Like The Smile, cross-laminated tulipwood is used. The new center is to all intents and purposes an enormous wooden box with a large central opening. Made of 20 prefabricated panels - some of them curved - assembled on site, the box stands off the ground, cantilevering over 6 metal stilts. Like The Smile, the construction elements comprise cross-laminated tulipwood (14 cm wide, 2 cm thick planks) overlaid with 5 cross layers for a total thickness of 10 cm, and 2.93 m panels varying in length from 50 cm to 12 m. Structurally, some of the larger size panels behave as super-beams bearing the weight of other vertical and horizontal elements; some serve as wind bracing for the whole building. The central aperture is enclosed by full-height curved glazing. Standing on sloping landscaped grounds a short distance from the Royal Oldham Hospital, Maggie’s center has an exterior cladding of thermally modified tulipwood - involving heating the wood to 200 °C in an oxygen-free atmosphere that alters the cells without using any chemicals, increasing the timber’s stability and durability. In its latest cancer care center, Maggie’s, which has already benefitted from the commitment of architects like Hadid, Roger and Foster, has once again combined patient focus with boundary shifting architectural research both in terms of form and materials. The result is a haven where patients can be helped to live with their...

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