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Mae wins planning for £4m Maggie's-inspired day centre at Morden College


Greenwich Council has approved plans by Mae for a £4 million day centre for the elderly at the Grade I-listed Morden College in Blackheath, south-east London

Named the John Morden Centre, the 911m² scheme will bring together a number of existing facilities currently spread across the site of the charity’s historic home.

Morden College was founded by philanthropist John Morden and has been providing residential care in Blackheath for more than 300 years. The charity’s original college building was designed by Christopher Wren’s master builder and successor, Edward Strong.

The new centre, which, the practice says, was inspired by the existing building’s colonnades, will house consultation rooms, care facilities, a café, craft workshops and art spaces.

The architect claims the brick and timber scheme was ‘modelled on the Maggie’s Centres’ with the facility acting as ‘a place for residents to get support and solace’.

Alex Ely, principal at Mae, said: ’The centre will bring together amenities that will provide a vital resource for residents and the wider community. We worked closely with the trustees, senior management team and residents of Morden College to develop a design that helps to tackle social isolation and loneliness among older people by providing welcoming spaces to meet and interact.’

He added: ’The design proposes a series of high-quality spaces that are domestic and homely in feel and are connected to the surrounding gardens and landscape, allowing the residents to feel relaxed and engaged with the unique character of Morden College and its context.’

David Rutherford-Jones, chief executive at Morden College, said: ’The generous social spaces are unified by a meandering colonnade which forms a spine of circulation and opens up views and access to landscaped communal gardens.

The new centre echoes the architectural expression of the cloister, steep roofs and chimneys of the original almshouse

’The new building proposes a contemporary approach in terms of materials and composition while echoing the architectural expression of the cloister, steep roofs and chimneys that characterise the original almshouse.’

Work is expected to start on site in spring 2018 and take a year to complete.

Mae morden college image 1434 n465

Mae morden college image 1434 n465

Project data

Location Blackheath, London
Type of project Day care facility
Client Morden College
Architect Mae
Landscape architect J&L Gibbons
Planning consultant Stanway Little Associates
Structural engineer Michael Hadi Associates
M&E consultant Synergy
Quantity surveyor Faithful and Gould
Planning supervisor PFB Construction Management Services
Main contractor To be appointed
Funding Private
Tender date To be confirmed
Start on site date Spring 2018
Completion date Spring 2019
Gross internal floor area 911m²
Form of contract Design and Build
Total cost £4 million


Readers' comments (4)

  • I may not have this quite right; But, £4,000.00 per sq m ($520.00 sq ft) seems an awful lot of dough for a building of little architectural complexity - perhaps even less of merit.
    There seems to be a lot of money in the charity business.

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  • Thanks for your comment Ian, but just to clarify the £4million is not just the building but includes other works not described above. Your opinion about the buildings merit seems churlish though.

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  • Alex, Understanding that this comment facility is not a blog, I will nevertheless spring to clarify that no slight was intended and the word "merit" should be understood as referring to the significance of the project.
    That a perfectly acceptable, functional structure, entirely suited to its purpose, is not in question. Unless there are many other works, besides parking, demolition, landscaping and the standard administrative exactions; then the cost still is.

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  • Ben Ridley

    This looks like a great project (and lovely visuals too), congratulations on the consent.

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