Maggie’s, Oldham

Maggie’s, Oldham is a cancer care centre situated within the grounds of The Royal Oldham Hospital. Maggie’s is a charity that provides free practical, emotional and social support for people with cancer and their family.

The building is constructed entirely of hardwood cross-laminated timber (CLT). Hardwood CLT, a relatively new material made from highly sustainable American tulipwood, which was selected as the principal material for its health benefits, strength and expressive, warm finish. This material has vast advantages over traditional building materials. It has a better strength-to-weight ratio than concrete or steel, has a more sophisticated finish than softwood and is a carbon negative resource.

Early involvement with our supply chain included the collaboration with American saw mills to source a sufficient supply of tulipwood from the USA, the organisation of the shipment (to manufacture the CLT walls, floor and ceiling structure) and the UK (to manufacture the external cladding). Further specialist sub-contractors were engaged throughout the life of the scheme to define co-ordination and eliminate ambiguity during delivery.

Wood is known to reduce blood pressure, heart rates and recovery times; it has more health and wellbeing benefits than other building materials, making it the right fit, structurally and conceptually, for Maggie’s Oldham.

The carpentry package was undertaken by in-house Parkinson joiners, in lieu of sub-contract. This provided great care and attention to the architect’s details and ensured a high quality finish which will last the life of the building.

Maggie’s Oldham seeks to provide ‘the architecture of hope’. The building sits on six slender stilts which allows the building to hover over a garden. The garden offers ‘open air rooms’ framed by pine and birch trees. The CLT has a concave and convex glass bubble rising full height throughout its structure.

The innovative design uses timber and glass allowing the landscaping to rise up throughout the building structure, allowing forna and natural light to be prevalent internally. The building is accessed at higher level through the construction of a floating link bridge and following consultation with the hospital and neighbours, the surrounding areas were utilised for craneage on a just-in-time basis. One unique and innovative aspect of the project is that trees grow up through the building, bringing nature into the interior. The building is about content, not form.

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.

Excellent relationships were maintained with all parties involved, this included the funder, client, the Pennine Acute Hospitals NHS Trust, local MP’s, Oldham Council leaders, local schools and youth centres, the entire design team, main contractor, supply chain, local neighbours and even Pudsey Bear.

Client: Maggie’s Trading Ltd

Value: £1.7 million


Picture credits: dRMM


“I wish you could have seen the children’s faces when they saw inside the school, they love their classrooms and playground.”

Rosebrook Primary School