Planning permission granted for Norman Foster-designed Maggie’s Centre at The Christie

Flagship centre will enhance cancer care and support in the North West

Planning permission has been granted for a new Maggie’s Cancer Centre in the grounds of The Christie in Manchester.

Designed by Lord Norman Foster of Foster + Partners, the centre will significantly enhance the cancer support already offered at The Christie, to include Maggie’s evidence-based core programme of support, as well as a comprehensive service of complementary therapies.

Commenting on the centre, which is due to open in 2016, Maggie’s chief Executive, Laura Lee, said: “We are delighted that planning permission has been granted as it brings us a step closer to Maggie’s at The Christie becoming a reality.

“Surrounded by green space, the centre will be situated in a beautiful location and Lord Foster’s inspirational design ensures the landscape is reflected throughout the building, creating a calm and uplifting environment for everyone that visits the centre.

We look forward to fulfilling our ambition to provide the highest-quality cancer support to the people of the North West.”

I believe in the power of architecture to lift the spirits and help in the process of therapy

Deputy chief operating Officer at The Christie, Dr Stephanie Jenkins, added: "This is an exciting step forward in a development which will make a huge difference to our patients and their families.

“A Maggie’s Centre will significantly enhance the cancer care and support already offered at The Christie, giving our patients access to a wider range of therapies and support.”

Lord Foster is one of the leading architects of his generation and the works of his practice, Foster + Partners, include an international portfolio of famous buildings including 30 St Mary Axe – otherwise known as The Gherkin, Hong Kong International Airport and Hearst Tower in New York.

Set in a peaceful garden, the existing green spaces inspired the Christie centre’s design, which draws upon natural themes that engage the outdoors.

Arranged over a single storey, the natural timber structure focuses around a wide, central spine with the roof rising in the centre to create a mezzanine level beautifully illuminated with natural light. Exposed lightweight beams and timber lattice support the roof while also defining different spaces. An integrated glass house extends from the south of the building, providing a space for people to gather and enjoy the therapeutic qualities of nature and the outdoors while the interior palette combines warm, natural wood and tactile fabrics.

Surrounded by green space, the centre will be situated in a beautiful location and Lord Foster’s inspirational design ensures the landscape is reflected throughout the building, creating a calm and uplifting environment for everyone that visits the centre

Lord Foster said: “We are delighted that our plans have been approved for the 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 also helps to dissolve the architecture into the surrounding greenery.

To complement Lord Foster’s design, the surrounding gardens have been designed by landscape designer, Dan Pearson, combining a rich mix of spaces, from the working glasshouse to bright clusters of flowers and tranquil water features. The colours and sensory experience of nature will become part of the centre through micro gardens and internal courtyards, which relate to the different spaces within the building.

To the south of the centre, a pool and moving water will provide a calm space for reflection set amid the greenery. Deep canopies will shelter the centre’s open terraces from rain, allowing people to enjoy fresh air and the garden whatever the weather.

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