Wood in architecture
Oldham || United Kingdom
Maggie’s Centres are intended to feel more like a home than a hospital and are designed to make people feel safe, valued and comfortable in an atmosphere that stimulates their imagination and lifts their spirits. This approach supports the informal relationships between staff and visitors and is an important part of the unique support Maggie’s offers.
Great architecture is vital to the care Maggie’s offers; and to achieve that, we work with great architects, whose experience and expertise is fundamental to the success of our Centres. Each architect offers a unique interpretation of the same brief, based on the needs of a person living with cancer, to create the calm environments so important to the people who visit and work in our Centres.
Maggie’s Oldham, The Sir Norman Stoller Building, has been designed by highly acclaimed architects dRMM, a studio of international architects and designers, whose projects include Hastings Pier in East Sussex, Rundeskogen in Norway (with Helen & Hard Architects), WoodBlock House and Kingsdale School in London.
The studio is renowned for creating architecture that is innovative, high quality and socially useful and have used this expertise and experience to create the calm, uplifting environment so important to the people who visit and work in Maggie’s Centres.
A Maggie’s Centre can be likened to a home; Maggie’s Oldham is a home full of surprises. The building hovers over a garden designed by dRMM with Rupert Muldoon, supported on very slender columns. The garden offers ‘open air rooms’ framed by pine and birch trees, with a reflecting pool of rainwater discovered underneath the building.
From this central oasis trees grow up through the building, bringing nature into the interior. The building is about content, not form. On entering the deliberately simple timber box over a bridge, the visitor is confronted with space, light, trees and unexpected views down to the garden pool below, up to the sky, and out to the Pennine horizon.
The simultaneous need for privacy and collectivity is met with discreet meeting rooms and niches carved from a ‘thick’ wall, in the otherwise completely open plan interior space, planned around the central lightwell. The materials are dRMM’s characteristic engineered timber and glass and the outside reflects the presence and colours of the garden.
Built in the grounds of specialist NHS cancer hospitals, Maggie’s Centres are warm and welcoming places, with qualified professionals on hand to offer an evidence-based programme of support that has been shown to improve physical and emotional wellbeing.
Emotional support might involve a one-to-one or group session with a clinical psychologist, stress reduction and relaxation workshops, or art therapy and creative writing courses.
Practical support might include advice about benefits and eating well; specialist support for managing hair loss and skin care during and after treatment – courses such as ‘Getting Started’, for people who are newly diagnosed; or ‘Where Now?’ for those adjusting to life after cancer.
Social support comes from the people who work in and visit Maggie’s Centres, the supportive community around each kitchen table of people who understand what it is to be living with cancer.
Location: Oldham, UK
Gross Floor Area: 256 m2
Contractor: F Parkinson, Zublin Timber, Hultons
Design team: Rupert Muldoon
Structural: Booth King
Services: Atelier Ten
Tulipwood: Middle Tenessee Lumber
Cladding: Morgan Timber
Furnishing: Uncommon Projects
Window frames: Aresi
Door Handles: Mowat & Co / Allgood
Photography: © Alex de Rijke, Jasmin Sohi, Jon Cardwell & Tony Barwell