MERK Timber - Natural beauty

The latest Maggie's Centre cancer clinic brings together nature and well-being - aided by MERK Timber's high-quality product.

The buildings designed for the Maggie's charity are all architectural treasures and can now be found throughout the whole of the UK. Their design follows the principle that beautiful architecture can heal.

Maggie Keswick Jencks, who suffered from cancer, was convinced that a caring environment helps to improve one's health and deal better with an illness. She provided the impetus to combine cancer treatment with special architecture to create uplifting buildings.

When Maggie died in 1995, one year before the first centre was opened, her husband, landscape architect Charles Jencks, continued her vision. Over the years, he was able to convince many renowned architects to design the cancer support centres free of charge.

Wilkinson Eyre Architects from London created a timber tree-house design for the latest centre, which was opened in late 2014 in the grounds of Churchill Hospital in Oxford. A tree house is a retreat as well as a viewing platform, where one feels protected by the branches, yet still part of the outside world. The single-storey tripartite structure, supported on inclined columns, is constructed with glue-laminated beams, Leno CLT, Kerto-LVL and is covered with a folded flat roof. It gives the impression of a structure floating between the trees.

Large windows practically include the surrounding trees in the aesthetic and ensure plenty of natural light penetrates the rooms. The balcony skirting the building and visible internal timber surfaces all create the intended inviting atmosphere.

People need to feel as if they are at home, not in a hospital, and this new cancer support centre fits the building philosophy that unites all Maggie's Centres.

There are three principles involved in the design of a Maggie's Centre: the architect's freedom of design, careful choices and a design team that can tune into that vision.

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