Maggie's Manchester

A delicate timber lattice structure is the central feature of the new Foster+Partners-designed Maggie's Centre in Manchester, winner of the 2016 Gold Award at the prestigious annual Wood Awards.

About this project

There are now over twenty Maggie's Centres in the UK and abroad, named after the late Maggie Keswick Jencks who, after being diagnosed with cancer, pledged to create a place of refuge for sufferers where they would find practical and emotional support in a non-institutional environment.

Throughout the centre there is a focus on natural light, greenery and garden views. Small courtyards on the east side are private external spaces leading from counselling or treatment rooms; on the west side are more open, public spaces that extend into the garden as verandas. All these spaces open up to the garden through large, full-height sliding glass doors.

The design is a synthesis of the brief, the structure and the choice of materials. The structure is exposed throughout the building and consists of laminated veneer lumber (LVL) trusses each with a set of diagonally opposed, double web elements, creating a delicate filigree of timber.

A series of LVL trusses form the central spine; they are set on the diagonal and rise to the ridge, where the spaces between them are infilled with triangular glazed rooflights.

At their bases each pair of diagonal trusses meets at a triangular LVL node; this connects them to the LVL column below and connects both to an LVL truss beam which cantilevers outwards to support the gently sloping roof, supported at its end by a slender steel column.

The use of LVL creates a sophisticated piece of engineering, strong and lightweight, yet with all the warm tones and domestic qualities that timber provides. The trusses were produced from Kerto LVL provided by Metsä Wood – 3mm thick rotary-cut sustainable Nordic spruce veneers bonded to form a continuous board and cut to suit the required basic shape.


Wood Awards, 2016 - Gold Award and Structural Award

Greater Manchester Building of the Year Award 2016 - Winner

The Structural Awards 2016 - Shortlisted

Further information 

This is a shortened version of a longer case study. You can read and download the full version at

Architect's view

Photography: Nigel Young/Foster + Partners

Key contacts


Maggie's Centres



Structural Engineer


Quantity Surveyor

Gardiner & Theobald

Timber supplier

Metsa Wood

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