Photographs by Alex de Rijke
dRMM received four RIBA North West Awards for Maggie’s Oldham, including the region’s top prize. The cancer care centre breaks away from traditional clinical environments to be therapeutic in nature; inspiring hope and empowering visitors.
Maggie’s Oldham was named North West Building of the Year and also received the Sustainability Award. dRMM senior associate Jasmin Sohi picked up the Project Architect of the Year Award for her work on the Centre.
About the project
The design addresses the relationship between the built environment and known causes of cancer through the careful use of natural and sustainable materials. The clinical environment of traditional medical institutions was deliberately avoided, with the hope of making visitors feel more empowered. Nature and daylight are brought into the space through the glass windows embracing the large tree growing in the centre of the building, and views of both the ground below and sky above.
American tulipwood is used throughout the interior and exterior – whether laminated structure, fitted furniture, or thermally-modified cladding. The prolific use of this versatile material is aimed to inspire hope, scale, warmth, and represent nature’s ability to recycle carbon. Poured resin floors and bright yellow doors offset the extensive use of wood. The covered balcony protects patients from the sun, but allows natural light to enter the space. The selection of loose furniture consists of mid-century classics by Ercolani, Wegner, Nogouchi, and Jacobsen.
What is unique about it
In collaboration with AHEC and ARUP in 2013, dRMM developed cross-laminated hardwood that outperforms existing cross-laminated timber. This is the first time this material is used in a building with the hopes to redefine the norms of hospital architecture.
A circular laminated tulipwood table facilitates conversations and symbolises sustainability, humanity, and hospitality. A full-height reversible curtain loop by Petra Blaisse allows the open plan to be cordoned off for privacy.
Video by Alex de Rijke
A great deal of advice was taken from Maggie’s and cancer patients to inform the design; the psychological effects of specific spaces and views were considered along with details like wood door handles in response to the neuropathy of fingers made painful by chemotherapy.