Winner: Robertson – Maggie’s Cancer Care Centre, Aberdeen
Maggie Keswick Jencks lived with advanced cancer for two years. During her illness, she developed a vision for a different kind of cancer care – one that would take place in warm, friendly and inspiring places.
Maggie believed buildings could uplift people, with the environment of care playing an important role in a supporting a person’s treatment.
This is the philosophy behind Maggie’s Cancer Centres, a number of which have been built to complex and striking architectural designs – and the new centre in Aberdeen is no different.
Aberdeen is the last major city in Scotland to receive a Maggie’s Centre.
Robertson already had an established working relationship with the NHS in the area, having worked on a number of projects throughout the NHS Grampian campus in the city. Its team recommended Robertson to Maggie’s as a contractor.
“A project to be immensely proud of”
Snohetta, the Norwegian architect behind the 9/11 Memorial in New York City, was appointed to design the building.
It came up with a concept of an intimate care space nestling underneath a protective concrete shell – a cave-like structure with carved openings, based loosely on the shape of a pebble.
Despite the international flavour of the design, the project was delivered by a local team.
Robertson acted as main contractor, with project as well as health and safety management, surveying and architectural detailing carried out by local firms in collaboration with one another.
The building fabric was the most intriguing feature of the project: a single, continuously curving, free-spanning concrete structure.
The client and design team were initially unsure how to achieve this, but through collaboration and innovative procurement, Robertson devised a way.
The team decided to use sprayed concrete to make the structure part of the finished solution. Independent scaffolds were erected to support the frame on both the inside and outside, with concrete then sprayed and applied in situ.
“It is great to see international collaboration delivered by a local team”
In the end, a striking concrete shell was created for the building, with the sprayed concrete providing a natural finish. Airtightness levels were very high, acoustic performance was good and energy performance was also better than expected.
The initial design called for panel heaters to be installed, but thermal monitoring established that these would not be needed. Underfloor heating meets all of the buildings temperature requirements.
The construction itself was complex – the site was situated next to a live hospital with all that entails, including a helipad 50 m away.
Some 600 tonnes of concrete were batched on site in this difficult environment, minimising waste.
Fundraising for the centre was completed faster than for any other project in Maggie’s history, supported by high-profile figures such as Colin Montgomerie.
The local project team got on board, too, with the electrical contractor providing free labour and materials at cost and the mechanical contractor providing labour, materials and installation free of charge.
Our judges described this Maggie’s Cancer Centre as “a project to be immensely proud of” – and one that will leave an important legacy for those who require cancer care in Aberdeen.
Highly Commended: Virtus Contracts – Sam Wanamaker Playhouse and Globe Theatre Foyer
This scheme to build a new theatre next to Shakespeare’s Globe demanded historic skills to be relearned by the team and then combined with modern construction methods.
“A brilliant combination of modern and traditional construction techniques expertly delivered”
The judges were impressed with how complex contemporary building services were seamlessly integrated into the design, while around £1m-worth of carved oak was used for the building’s frame.
The team also a delivered refurbishment of the Globe’s foyer across 22 weeks, creating a new space to show off both theatres.
Atkins / Laing O’Rourke / Trafford Borough Council Lime Tree Primary School, Trafford, Greater Manchester
Bam working in collaboration with Network Rail Hooley Cutting Stabilisation
Cassidy + Ashton and Seddon Construction Riley Sixth Form Centre, Bolton School
Clugston Construction Refurbishment of Richmond Flats, Huddersfield
Colas Rail Morgan Sindall JV Energlyn and Churchill Park Station
Thomas Vale Construction Wilkinson Primary School