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Epic Buildings: Maggie’s Cancer Care Centre, Aberdeen

The Building Awards Small Project of the Year 2014 is a modern, innovative design delivered by architects Snøhetta and contractors Robertson Construction.

The purpose of this building was absolutely crucial to its design and construction. Maggie’s Cancer Care believe in providing homely, welcoming and peaceful surroundings for both patients and their families, where people can receive the care they need in a comfortable environment.

The project

With this in mind, architectural company Snøhetta developed an innovative design using a carved out, cave-like structure, full of natural materials, with an organic ‘pebble-like’ feel. The whole building has been designed to feel safe and nurturing. The “protective” concrete shell that makes up the exterior building, allows the centre’s intimate spaces to nestle inside, creating a real sense of safety.

Within the concrete shell lies a timber structure, made from white oak, and within this structure, the rooms and hallways of Maggie’s Cancer Care Centre run fluidly into each other, creating a feeling of space and light, while maintaining privacy.

The shell

The concrete shell of the centre is one of its most impressive aspects. It is just one, flowing and entirely free-standing structure, which meets all building regulations, despite it’s innovative, one-of-a-kind design. With a nearby helipad prompting compliance with Foreign Object Debris procedures, this shell is an impressive feat of cooperation between contractors, who performed some outstanding work in resolving procurement, engineering and construction challenges posed by the centre’s design.

Green credentials

The centre also sports some impressive green credentials. With photovoltaic solar arrays installed in the building’s grounds, the centre is able to significantly reduce its environmental footprint. Outstanding insulation further reduces the impact and costs of heating using the highly efficient underfloor heating system, which utilises external air heat transfer pumps to keep the centre cosy, with no need for convection heating on the building’s upper floors.

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