ZÜBLIN Timber begins timber construction work for Maggie’s centre at Royal Free Hospital

A sculptural space designed as a haven of calm: the Maggie’s centre on the grounds of the Royal Free Hospital in Hampstead, North London, will offer free social, emotional and practical support to people affected by cancer.
Copyright / renderings (3): Studio Libeskind
Copyright / renderings (3): Studio Libeskind

ZÜBLIN Timber has been commissioned by British cancer charity Maggie’s to realise an architectural highlight in London. The timber construction specialists of German construction company Ed. Züblin AG are turning Daniel Libeskind’s sculptural design for a new cancer support centre into reality on the grounds of the Royal Free Hospital. The ZÜBLIN subsidiary’s project team began installing the parametric façade of the iconic new building designed by the renowned New York architectural firm, on 3 October 2022. The variously curved timber elements for the elaborate construction were planned and individually prefabricated at ZÜBLIN Timber’s Aichach plant.

Architecture as philosophy and concept
Maggie’s centres are built as warm, welcoming spaces on the grounds of cancer hospitals, which offer free practical and emotional support to people living with cancer, and their family and friends. The unique architecture of each centre is part of the cancer charity’s concept and philosophy, based on the conviction that a friendly design can facilitate the healing process.

“We are very proud to be working on our third project for Maggie’s, contributing our expertise to this challenging façade,” says Daniel Kreissig, Sales + Estimation International at ZÜBLIN Timber. ZÜBLIN Timber installed around 620 m² of laminated veneer lumber for the timber frame elements and for the façade panels of the parametric exterior. The two-storey cancer support centre provides 392 m² of space for a kitchen, library and exercise room, among other things. In addition to an outdoor garden, the building also features a winter garden on the spacious rooftop terrace that was designed as a place for outdoor rest and retreat for visitors.

ZÜBLIN Timber previously realised the timber construction work for the Maggie’s centres in Oxford (2014) and Oldham (2016). With the new building in North London, Maggie’s will operate a total of 25 centres in the United Kingdom.

The origin of Maggie’s cancer centres
Maggie’s is an organisation for cancer patients run by the Maggie Keswick Jencks Cancer Caring Trust. Maggie Keswick was a garden designer and the wife of architectural writer and critic Charles Jencks. Her experiences with her own cancer care were instrumental in the creation of the Maggie’s centres. Instead of a sterile hospital environment, she would have preferred to have had a more friendly space in which to process everything that comes with a cancer diagnosis: a flood of information to be evaluated and assessed, decisions regarding therapy options, questions concerning costs and financial support. Maggie Keswick died in 1995. In the last two years before her death, she worked together with her husband and her cancer nurse, Laura Lee to develop the concept on which the centres are built today. Dame Laura Lee is now the charity’s Chief Executive.

For more information visit maggies.org