Maggie's South West

2007 - 2011

Maggie Keswick Jencks
Cancer Caring Centres

completed 2011
RIBA Award 2012

In 2007, Thore Garbers met Kisho Kurokawa, who asked Garbers & James to realise the concept of a project that he had gifted as a token of his personal friendship for Maggie Keswick-Jencks. Kurokawa died shortly afterwards in October 2007. Garbers & James subsequently developed the design, produced all requisite construction documentation and led the wider design team to complete the architectural project.

The scheme comprises a central welcoming drum at the calm social heart of the building, softly illuminated by an occulus rooflight at the apex of the elliptical roof. In a dynamic gesture, space spins out from the drum into the wings to provide a series of focussed spaces for classes, library research, counselling, retreat, relaxation and recovery. The form and mood of the interior space is detailed in the spirit of nurturing the individual, to encourage and demonstrate the “Joy of Living”, even in times of sickness, in the way that Maggie’s Centres are now so highly acclaimed for.

All of the interiors are closely connected to the landscape outside, enjoying surrounding views of neighbouring mature estate woodland as well as across Swansea Bay. On the ground floor direct access is provided onto integral decks that are sheltered by the wing-like forms.

Materially the scheme is crafted from high quality materials with longevity and sustainability in mind. High standards of workmanship and contractors’ pride all combined to make real the true vision of the project. Externally, the walls are made from precast concrete, embedded with titanium platelets, and the roof’s constructional geometry is clearly shown in the standing seam zinc work. Internally the solid maple floors provide a constant warm grounding for spaces that enjoy a myriad of views through small punched windows, as well as the dynamic of the ever moving blades of clerestorey light emanating from the wings' ridge-lines. A complementary fit-out using timber and rubber, as well as soft upholstery creates the final light and warm surroundings in which to feel relaxed and comfortable.


design team

Structural Engineer Arup
M+E Engineer KJ Tait
Landscape Architect Kim Wilkie with Terra Firma
Civils Ramboll UK
Cost and CDM Consultancy Turner & Townsend
General Contractor Sir Robert McAlpine

specialist sub-contractors

Precast Concrete Thorp Precast Ltd
Steelwork Littlehampton Welding Ltd
Roof Carpentry Ian Williams Carpentry
Roof Metalworks All Metal Roofing
Specialist Joinery J & E Woodwork;
Ian Williams Carpentry
Roof Glazing Ridlands
Flooring 21st Century Flooring

principal materials

Zinc Roofing Rheinzink
Concrete Thorp Precast Ltd
- maple
- rubber

Oldenburger Parkettwerk
Lighting Erco
Loose Furniture Supplied by Coexistence