Architecture and design – Manchester
Set in a peaceful garden, the existing green spaces inspired the centre’s design, which draws upon natural themes that engage the outdoors. The centre opened officially in April 2016.
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.
The surrounding gardens have been 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.
Deep canopies will shelter the centre’s open terraces from rain, allowing people to enjoy fresh air and the garden whatever the weather.
The architect – Foster + Partners
Lord Foster is one of the leading architects of his generation and the works of his practice, Foster + Partners, 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.
"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."
– Lord Foster