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AJ Architecture Awards 2018: Health & Wellbeing Project of the Year

dRMM has triumphed in the Health & Wellbeing category of the 2018 AJ Architecture Awards with its Maggie’s Centre in Oldham

Set in the grounds of the Royal Oldham Hospital, Maggie’s Oldham provides therapy and counselling to people affected by cancer, either directly or indirectly.

Conceived as a simple timber box on stilts, it floats over an evolving garden and frames views over suburbia to the Pennines, an elevation as metaphorical as it is literal, to lift spirits. Within, the plan is free-flowing but articulated to provide privacy for individual functions. 

The project is characterised throughout by an impressive degree of subtlety, nuance and an attention to detail that persistently looks beyond standard solutions to create a comforting, responsive and therapeutic environment. A bright, yellow floor reminds visitors of sunnier climes and gives off a warm, reflected light. This was carefully considered because cooler colours can make skin tones affected by cancer treatment look more unhealthy. There are no mirrors in the bathrooms and all materials are warm to the touch – oak is used for door handles, for instance – as cold surfaces can cause serious discomfort for those undergoing chemotherapy.

Cork panels on cupboard doors dampen internal acoustics and a soft felt curtain acts as a discreet room divider to cultivate an atmosphere of calmness and intimacy. The use of timber, specifically a cross-laminated timber structure made from sustainable tulipwood, reverses the impersonal institutional norms of hospital architecture to create an architecture of hope, humanity, scale and warmth. 

Highly Commended

Dumfries and Galloway Royal Infirmary by Ryder Architecture in collaboration with NBBJ

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4 crop

Set on a greenfield site on the edge of Dumfries, the project includes 344 beds, emergency care, day case and inpatient surgical suites, plus specialist oncology, maternity and paediatric facilities. Conceived as a garden hospital, it breaks down and humanises its huge volume by emphasising connections with landscape and light as an integral part of the healing process.


  • Maggie’s St Bart’s by Steven Holl Architects with jmarchitects
  • Scottish National Blood Transfusion Service – Jack Copland Centre by Reiach and Hall Architects 
  • Sheffield Children’s Hospital by Avanti Architects
  • St David’s Hospice by KKE Architects


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Armitage shanks cmyk hi


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