Maggie’s, the charity which provides practical, emotional and social support for people with cancer, has applied for planning permission for a new Maggie’s Centre in the grounds of The Christie in Manchester. The Centre is designed by world-renowned architects, Foster + Partners.

Working in partnership with The Christie - a global leader in cancer treatment and research - the new Maggie’s Centre will provide free practical, emotional and social support for anyone living with cancer as well as their family and friends. The Centre will significantly enhance the cancer support already offered at The Christie to include Maggie’s evidence-based core programme of support delivered in an uplifting non-clinical environment, as well as a comprehensive service of complementary therapies. The new Centre is due to open in 2016.

Maggie’s Chief Executive, Laura Lee said, “We are delighted that Lord Norman Foster is designing the Maggie’s Centre at The Christie. Great architecture is vital to the care Maggie’s offers, creating environments that are both calm and uplifting. The application for planning permission brings us one step closer to the Centre becoming a reality and being able to offer the highest quality cancer support to the people of the North West.”

Deputy chief operating officer at The Christie, Dr Stephanie Jenkins, said; “This is an exciting step forward in a development which would make a huge difference to our patients and their families. A Maggie’s Centre would significantly enhance the cancer care and support already offered at The Christie, giving our patients access to a wider range of therapies and support. We look forward to the outcome of the planning application.”

As one of the leading architects of his generation, Lord Norman Foster’s works include an international portfolio of famous buildings including 30 St Mary Axe – otherwise known as “The Gherkin”, Hong Kong International Airport and Hearst Tower in New York. The design of the new Maggie’s Centre at The Christie is particularly personal to him as he was both born in Manchester and has had first-hand experience of the distress of a cancer diagnosis.

Set in a peaceful garden, the existing green spaces inspired the Centre’s design, which draws upon natural themes that engage the outdoors. Arranged over a single storey, the natural timber structure focuses around a wide, central spine with the roof rising in the centre to create a mezzanine level beautifully illuminated with natural light. Exposed lightweight beams and timber lattice support the roof while also defining different spaces. An integrated glass house extends from the south of the building, providing a space for people to gather and enjoy the therapeutic qualities of nature and the outdoors while the interior palette combines warm, natural wood and tactile fabrics.

To complement Lord Norman Foster’s design, the surrounding gardens are designed by landscape designer Dan Pearson, combining a rich mix of spaces, from the working glass house to bright clusters of flowers and tranquil water features. The colours and sensory experience of nature will become part of the Centre through micro gardens and internal courtyards, which relate to the different spaces within the building.

To the south of the Centre, a pool and moving water will provide a calm space for reflection set amidst the greenery. Deep canopies will shelter the Centre’s open terraces from rain, allowing people to enjoy fresh air and the garden whatever the weather.

Maggie’s Centres are warm and welcoming places with qualified professionals on hand to offer a programme of support that has been shown to improve physical and emotional well-being. The support available at the new Maggie’s Centre at The Christie will include psychological support, benefits advice, nutrition workshops, relaxation and stress management, art therapy, tai chi and yoga.

There are already 17 Maggie’s Centres in the UK and all are designed by leading architects. Each architect offers a unique interpretation of the same brief, based on the needs of a person living with cancer, to create the calm environments so important to the people who visit and work in the Centres.

For more information on Maggie’s please contact Emily Owen at
0207 386 3523
Catherine Duncan at
0207 386 3537

For more information on The Christie please contact
Maria Valentine at
0161 446 3613


We are delighted to be designing a new Maggie’s Centre in Manchester – this project has a particular personal significance, as I was born in the city and have first-hand experience of the distress of a cancer diagnosis. I believe in the power of architecture to lift the spirits and help in the process of therapy. Within the Centre, there is a variety of spaces – visitors can gather around a big kitchen table, find a peaceful place to think or they can work with their hands in the greenhouse. Throughout, there is a focus on natural light and contact with the gardens. The timber frame, with its planted lattice helps to dissolve the architecture into the surrounding greenery.
Norman Foster, Founder and Executive Chairman

Notes to Editors

About Maggie’s
Maggie’s offers free practical, emotional and social support to people with cancer and their family and friends. Built in the grounds of specialist NHS cancer hospitals, our Centres are warm and welcoming places, with qualified professionals on hand to offer a programme of support that has been shown to improve physical and emotional wellbeing.

Great design and architecture is vital to the care Maggie’s offers and so we work with world-renowned architects like Zaha Hadid, Richard Rogers and Frank Gehry, who give their time for little or nothing. Their skills deliver the calm, uplifting environments so important to the people who visit and work in our Centres.

The first Maggie’s Centre opened in Edinburgh in 1996. There are now 17 Centres across the UK, online and abroad, with more planned for the future. Maggie’s President is HRH The Duchess of Cornwall.

For further information about Maggie’s please go to

About The Christie
The Christie opened in 1901 and is now one of Europe’s leading cancer centres and the largest single-site centre in Europe. It provides radiotherapy through one of the largest radiotherapy departments in the world, has the largest chemotherapy unit in the UK and the largest single site early phase clinical trials unit in the world.

Because of its specialist nature, 26% patients are referred to The Christie from outside of the Greater Manchester and Cheshire area. It treats 40,000 patients a year.

It is an international leader in cancer research with world-first breakthroughs for over 100 years.

It has the second largest hospital charity in the country.

About Foster + Partners
Foster + Partners is one of the most innovative architecture and integrated design practices in the world. Over the past four decades the practice has pioneered a sustainable approach to architecture through a striking wide range of work, from urban master plans, public infrastructure, airports, civic and cultural buildings, offices and workplaces to private houses and product design. Based in London, with offices worldwide, the practice has an international reputation, with buildings on six continents. Since its inception in 1967 it has received more than 650 awards for excellence and won over 100 national and international competitions.

About Dan Pearson Studio
Dan Pearson trained at the RHS Gardens’ Wisley and the Royal Botanic Gardens, Kew, and began his professional career as a garden and landscape designer in 1987. He was one of the earliest contemporary practitioners of naturalistic perennial planting in the UK. Dan Pearson Studio, his London-based practice, works internationally on a diverse range of jobs from private city gardens, country estates and historic landscapes, to urban realm landscapes and public parks. The studio is known for its sensitive approach to hard landscaping and use of naturalistic planting. Dan is a Tree Ambassador for The Tree Council and a member of the Society of Garden Designers (MSGD). He is an Honorary Fellow of the Royal Institute of British Architects (Hon FRIBA) and was a member of the Jury for the 2011 RIBA Stirling Prize. In 2012 he was elected a Royal Designer for Industry (RDI).

Dan has been a weekly newspaper gardening columnist for over 14 years, writing for The Observer magazine since 2006.

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