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Maggie’s Oldham

Architecture of hope

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Client: Maggie's
Status: Complete, 2017
Location: Royal Oldham Hospital, Oldham
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Type/Sector: Cultural
Tagged: Engineered Timber, Sustainability Exemplars

Collaborators

Donor Stoller Charitable Trust
Cost Consultant Robert Lombardelli Partnership
Structural Engineer Booth King
Services Engineer Atelier Ten
CDM Coordinator Maggie's & CDM Scotland
Landscape Designer dRMM Rupert Muldoon
Main Contractor F Parkinson

Maggie’s Oldham is a carefully made manifesto for the architecture of health, realised in wood.

Collaborators

Donor Stoller Charitable Trust
Cost Consultant Robert Lombardelli Partnership
Structural Engineer Booth King
Services Engineer Atelier Ten
CDM Coordinator Maggie's & CDM Scotland
Landscape Designer dRMM Rupert Muldoon
Main Contractor F Parkinson
The building appears to float above the existing wall.
The building appears to float above the existing wall.
A hopeful view of the horizon towards the Pennines.
A hopeful view of the horizon towards the Pennines.
01 Practical and emotionally complex

Maggie’s Centres seek to provide what the late Charles Jencks described as ‘architecture of hope’. They offer free practical and emotional support for people affected by cancer.

Maggie’s provided a very detailed, practical and emotionally complex brief for the centre in the grounds of the Royal Oldham Hospital. It was to be a safe and welcoming space; an un-institutional building more akin to a house. Visitors were to feel encouraged and not daunted, inspiring them to draw on strengths they may not have known they had in order to cope. The centre was to be carefully designed around the comfort and wellbeing of its occupants, offering a place of calm and respite in a non-medicalised environment despite being in a hospital location.

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02 A ‘floating’ building

Supported on slender columns, the building floats above a garden framed by pine, birch and tulip poplar trees. From a central oasis, a tree grows up through the building, bringing nature inside.

On entering, the visitor is met with a space, light and unexpected views down to the garden below, up to the sky, and out to the Pennines.

The building is arranged with the Pennine horizon view to the north and kitchen with terrace to the south. Consultation rooms, toilets and staff rooms are contained in a ‘thick wall’ to the east. The plan is free-flowing but articulated to give privacy for each of the many overlapping functions.

Building section.
Building section.
Details plan.
Details plan.
Maggie's reimagined.
Maggie's reimagined.
03 A world first

Maggie’s Oldham is the first permanent building constructed from tulipwood cross laminated timber.

Following on from dRMM, AHEC and Arup’s development of tulipwood CLT in our experimental project, Endless Stair, we have used this sustainable material for Maggie’s Oldham.

All of the walls are visibly structure and form an exquisite natural timber finish internally. The tulipwood CLT has been carefully detailed to bring out its natural beauty – its fine, variegated finish is more akin to a piece of furniture than a construction material. The slatted ceiling was created from wood left over from the CLT fabrication process, ensuring no waste.

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The wall buildup detail and wavy cladding in rug format.
The wall buildup detail and wavy cladding in rug format.
Maggie's Oldham Expressive Art Group.
Maggie's Oldham Expressive Art Group.
04 Detailed design

We considered the use of wood at every opportunity.

As those undergoing chemotherapy sometimes feel pain on touching cold objects, oak rather than metal door handles have been used. Wood fibre insulation ensures a breathable, healthy environment whilst the huge window frames are American white oak.

Externally the building is draped in custom-fluted, thermally modified tulipwood, like a surreal theatrical curtain.

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Fabricator site visit.
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Thermally modified tulipwood cladding.
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Engineered timber wall mockup.
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Bespoke mould for tulip wood cladding.
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CNC cutting bits for shaping engineered timber panels.
05 Reversing norms

The use of wood at Maggie’s Oldham is part of a bigger design intention to reverse the norms of hospital architecture, where institutionalised environments can leave patients dispirited.

The centre was fully funded by the Stoller Charitable Trust and delivered to a stringent budget and timescale. The success of the completed building is testament to the collaborative nature of how we worked with the client, contractor, consultants, subcontractors and suppliers on the project.

The end result is a delight to the senses, yet economical, efficient and highly sustainable. The client and users adore the building, allowing them to work in ways they had not anticipated. And with over 400 visits a week, its success and importance is clear and ongoing.

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Vegetables grown in the greenhouse in the garden.
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Greenhouse run by Maggie's visitors.
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Concept sketches.
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Designing the shape of the glazed void.
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The rainwater from the roof is drained with a single downpipes that feeds a pond.
Sir Norman Stoller a the opening of Maggies Oldham.

Awards

2019
Civic Trust Award
Commendation
2018
RIBA National Award
Winner
2018
Health Category, The Plan Awards
Winner
2018
Building of the Year, RIBA North West Awards
Winner
2018
Project Architect of the Year, RIBA North West Awards
Winner
2018
Sustainability Award, RIBA NW Awards
Winner
2018
RIBA North West Award
Winner
2018
Healthcare Centre of the Year, Frame Awards
Winner
2018
Healthcare Project of the Year, Offsite Construction Awards
Winner
2018
Healthcare Building of the Year, ArchDaily Awards
Shortlisted
2017
Public Sector Category, Wood Awards
Winner
2017
Healthcare Project of the Year, Structural Timber Awards
Winner
2017
Building Project of the Year, NWR Construction Awards
Winner
2017
Architect of the Year, Structural Timber Awards
Highly Commended
2017
Project of the Year, Structural Timber Awards
Shortlisted
2017
Client of the Year, Structural Timber Awards
Shortlisted
2017
Building of the Year Award, GMCC
Shortlisted

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