Maggie’s Centre Manchester: Architecture that uplifts

Maggie’s Centre Manchester by Foster + Partners

Maggie’s Centres across the UK offer free practical, emotional and social support to people with cancer.

Completed in 2016, Maggie’s Manchester was opened by Her Royal Highness The Duchess of Cornwall, President of the Maggie’s charity.

Designed and engineered by Foster + Partners, the single-storey building was built with a focus on natural light, greenery and garden views.

“Our aim in Manchester was to create a building that is welcoming, friendly and without any of the institutional references of a hospital or health centre – a light-filled, homely space where people can gather, talk or simply reflect,” said Norman Foster, a cancer survivor himself.

The structure is supported by lightweight Nordic spruce beams, which rises in the middle to form a crisscross pattern, flooding the interiors with natural light. The timber lattice beams and pillars act as natural partitions between different areas, visually dissolving the architecture into the surrounding gardens.



Institutional references such as corridors and hospital signs are substituted with warm, natural wood and tactile surfaces so that people can recuperate in a non-clinical environment.

There are intimate spaces for privacy, a library, exercise rooms, as well as places to gather and share a cup of tea. In the heart of the building is a kitchen with a large communal table.

Across the site area, landscaped courtyards punctuate the land while the entire western elevation extends into a wide veranda, sheltered by the deep overhang of the roof. Each treatment and counselling room on the eastern façade faces its own private garden—all designed by landscape architect Dan Pearson. The south end of the building opens up to a garden for people to enjoy the therapeutic qualities of nature.

Maggie’s Manchester bagged the Arnold Laver Gold Award at the UK Wood Awards 2016.