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Architectural aluminium systems by Kawneer feature on a new Maggie’s Centre. Kawneer Glazing was “Tried and Trusted” to Help Cancer Patients
Architectural glazing systems from leading UK manufacturer Kawneer were used on the 19th and largest Maggie’s cancer care centre in the UK because they were tried and trusted.
Two types of Kawneer’s curtain walling were used on the centre at The Christie Hospital in South Manchester – AA®100 SSG (Structurally Silicone Glazed) for the triangular rooflights, with concealed actuators, and AA®100 mullion-drained as vertical glazing.
These were complemented in aluminium by AA®720 doors with bonded units to give a frameless appearance and AA®3572 lift/slide doors to move large panes effortlessly.
The heavily glazed design of the Manchester centre by Foster + Partners aims to establish a domestic atmosphere in a garden setting and, appropriately, is first glimpsed at the end of a tree-lined street, a short walk from Christie’s and its leading oncology unit.
The building occupies a sunny site and is arranged over 1.5 storeys, keeping its profile low in keeping with the surrounding residential streets. The bronze-clad roof rises in the centre to create a mezzanine level, naturally illuminated by the triangular rooflights from Kawneer, part of the Arconic group.
This is supported by lightweight timber lattice beams which also act alongside glazing as natural partitions between different internal areas, visually dissolving the architecture into the surrounding gardens.
The 500m2 centre combines a variety of spaces, from intimate private niches to a library, exercise rooms and places to gather and share a cup of tea. The heart of the building is the kitchen which is centred on a large, communal table. Institutional references, such as corridors and hospital signs, have been banished in favour of home-like spaces.
To that end the materials palette combines warm, natural wood and tactile fabrics. Support spaces are placed on the mezzanine level positioned on top of a wide central spine, with toilets and storage spaces below, maintaining natural visual connections across the building.
Throughout the centre, there is a focus on natural light, greenery and garden views. The rectilinear plan is punctuated by landscaped courtyards and the entire western elevation extends into a wide veranda which is sheltered from the rain by the deep overhang of the roof.
The sliding glass doors by Kawneer open the timber-clad building up to a garden setting created by the award-winning Dan Pearson Studio. Each treatment and counselling room on the eastern façade faces its own private garden.
The south end of the building extends to embrace a 30m2 greenhouse which provides a garden retreat, a space for people to gather, to work with their hands and enjoy the therapeutic qualities of nature and the outdoors. It will be a space to grow flowers and other produce that can be used at the centre, giving the patients a sense of purpose at a time when they may feel at their most vulnerable.
Project architect Darron Haylock, partner, Foster + Partners, said the project team visited several Maggie’s Centres around the UK to understand how they are used and to inform the concept for the Manchester project.
“It was important that the building should fit in with its surroundings, and that the local community should feel like an integral part of the process. So we took them on the journey with us – meeting the planners on a regular basis. The feedback about the centre has been extremely positive. People have just really warmed to the building, they really enjoy the spaces,” he said.
The centre was officially opened in April 2016 by the Duchess of Cornwall, almost two years after work started on the 1,922m2 site of a former car park that replaced low-rise ancillary buildings.
And since then it has won several awards including Greater Manchester Chamber of Commerce’s Building of the Year and two 2016 Wood awards - Structural and the “winner of winners” Arnold Laver Gold Award.
“The extent of glazed elements was carefully modelled with our engineers to ensure the right balance of daylight, solar gain and heat loss. The Kawneer product is a well-established product which fitted well with the design approach and detailing within the building,” said Darron.
Rob Bennett, director of Bennett Architectural Aluminium, who installed the Kawneer systems for main contractor Sir Robert McAlpine, said: “Lord Foster was heavily involved in this scheme and is widely regarded as one of the most prestigious architects in the world. It was a fantastic experience working with Foster + Partners. Their attention to detail, determination and enthusiasm was infectious, and motivated our team to deliver the most technically challenging of buildings.”
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