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Revealed: first sketches of Norman Foster's Manchester Maggie’s centre

The AJ has unearthed the first sketches of Norman Foster’s proposed Maggie’s cancer care centre in Manchester

The Stirling Prize-winner is collaborating with gardening guru Dan Pearson on the scheme at the Christie Hospital in Manchester, less than two miles away from where Foster was brought up in Levenshulme.

According to Pearson the ‘building and landscape will be completely integrated’ and claimed on his website that his studio had been ‘working very closely and intensively with Foster and Partners to ensure that the landscape develops in tandem with the scheme for the building.’

The centre will be the first in the North West for the charity and will ‘provide free practical, emotional and social support for anyone with cancer as well as their family, friends and carers, significantly enhance the cancer care and support already offered at The Christie.’

Speaking on his appointment last summer, Foster said: ‘[I’m] delighted to be designing a new Maggie’s Centre in Manchester. Both have a particular personal significance, as I was born in the city and have first-hand experience of the distress of a cancer diagnosis.

‘Architecture has the power to lift the spirits and help in the process of therapy. The Maggie’s Centres to date have been inspired acts of patronage and it is a privilege to be able to contribute to this legacy.’
A future timescale is not yet known.

Previous story (AJ 07.07.2012)

More stars for Maggie’s: Foster eyed up for Manchester and Holl for London

Cancer care charity Maggie’s Centres has lined up Stirling Prize-winner Foster + Partners and American Steven Holl Architects to design two new centres

The duo join a glittering roll call of the world’s leading architects, including Zaha Hadid, Rem Koolhaas and Frank Gehry, to be commissioned by the charity, which Maggie Keswick Jencks set up before her death from cancer in 1995.

AIA Gold Medalist Steven Holl is to mastermind a centre at the Barts and the London NHS Trust, in Smithfield in the City of London. The scheme will replace an empty 1960s office building (sketch pictured).

The project will be Holl’s second in the UK; his practice is also designing the £50 million Glasgow School of Art. Once complete, his will also be the second Maggie’s Centre in the capital, along with the Hammersmith centre by Rogers Stirk Harbour + Partners, which scooped the Stirling Prize in 2009.

Meanwhile, Norman Foster is set to design a centre at the Christie Hospital in Manchester, less than two miles away from where he was brought up in Levenshulme.

A spokesman for Foster + Partners said: ‘We are in discussions with Maggie’s about working on a new centre.’

It is understood that the scheme has been earmarked for a plot originally intended for a controversial multi-storey car park behind Wilson Mason and Partners’ proposed £20 million Manchester Cancer Research Centre at the hospital (see AJ 09.05.2011).

Local resident and co-founder of the Manchester Modernist Society, Eddy Rhead said: ‘The idea of approaching Foster to design a Maggie’s Centre at the Christie seems like the perfect fit. Foster grew up just down the road, studied in Manchester and, so far, has never built anything of any significance in his home city.

‘Also, as neighbour of the hospital, I welcome this smaller scale type of building, which is contrary to much of Christie’s recent development programme.’

Among the other big name architects also working on Maggie’s Centres are; Snøhetta, which has submitted plans for a new £3 million Maggie’s Cancer Care Centre at the Aberdeen Royal Infirmary; Wilkinson Eyre, whose Oxford centre starts on site this summer; and Benedetta Tagliabue of Spanish practice EMBT, who is designing the new Barcelona facility.

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