External detail: Maggie's Cancer Caring Centre, Cheltenham, by MJP Architects
WORKING DETAIL 02.12.10: Roof, external wall and inglenook for cancer care centre
The structure supporting the steel and timber roof consists of eight cruciform steel columns supporting longitudinal composite I-beams formed with channels. This enables the roof to float over a non-loadbearing external envelope conceived as a series of pieces of furniture that form alcoves capped by a continuous cornice. This gives rigidity to the assembly, and reflects daylight under the roof. The joinery envelope perches on the upstand at the edge of the concrete raft framing alcoves for seating and kitchen units and ensuring that, externally, the oak cladding stops short of the ground.
The focus of the interior is the inglenook, which is conceived as a small room within the larger scale of the main space. This enables the main space to be subdivided by two large hinged screen doors which fold into the sides of the structure. Sliding folding shutters above the stove serve the same purpose. A concealed clerestorey provides acoustic separation between the cornice and the underside of the roof.
Like the alcoves at the perimeter, this structure is articulated as a framed enclosure separate from the oversailing cornice. The cruciform steel columns supporting the roof are embedded in the joinery from which they emerge through apertures in the cornice. This intricacy was inspired by the trellises and screens in Maggie Keswick Jenck’s book The Chinese Garden.
Richard MacCormac, chairman, MJP Architects
- Working details are attached as pdfs in the right-hand column