UPDATE: Foster + Partners have been granted planning permission for The Chirstie. The new Centre is due to open in 2016.
Norman Foster has applied for planning permission for a new Maggie’s Cancer Centre in his hometown of Manchester. Planned to be built at The Christie, one of Europe’s leading cancer centres and the largest single-site centre in Europe, the new Centre intends to “provide free practical, emotional and social support for anyone living with cancer as well as their family and friends.”
“I believe in the power of architecture to lift the spirits and help in the process of therapy,” Foster explains. “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 helps to dissolve the architecture into the surrounding greenery.”
Surrounded by the Centre’s existing, lush gardens designed by Dan Pearson, Foster’s proposed structure aims to tap into the therapeutic qualities of nature by engaging the outdoors. The design calls for single-story, natural wood building that is organized by a wide, central spine whose mezzanine level provides ample daylight throughout its interior. To the south, the building will be complimented by an all-glass house that provides gathering spaces for patients and family.
There are already 17 Maggie’s Centres in the UK, all designed by leading architects. As will Foster, 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 the Centres. For example, check out this Stirling Prize-winning Maggie’s Centre designed by Richard Rogers.