Maggie’s Leeds

  • © Hufton + Crow
  • © Hufton + Crow
  • © Hufton + Crow
  • © Hufton + Crow
  • © Hufton + Crow
  • © Hufton + Crow
  • © Hufton + Crow
  • © Hufton + Crow
  • © Hufton + Crow

Application Type

Civic Trust Awards

Level of Award



Yorkshire & Humberside

Local Authority Area


Information about this scheme

This new Maggie’s Centre on the site of St. James’s Hospital in Leeds, has created an inspiring home that visitors from varied backgrounds would 'not have dared build themselves'. As well as serving 110 visitors a day, the centre has preserved the hospital’s only green space by making it more accessible and allowing views of the Yorkshire Dales, and a connection with the world beyond the hospital. The pillars of support at Maggie's are the counselling rooms, these are placed, like three pavilions, at different levels on the slope to support the roof. The space between them have become the natural heart of the centre, with views into each area, making it simple for visitors to find their way around and connecting every room with the garden – externally, this gives the building a different character from every angle. The challenge was to span and enclose the level changes and reinstate the greenery. Instead of a single, monolithic canopy, the roof is composed of three overlapping gardens, which step down and overhang to shelter communal areas. In this way, the hospital does not lose its last green space – it is lifted up and made more accessible and inviting. Maggie’s consider the kitchen to be the ‘heart’ of the centre so more social spaces for group activities including a library and exercise room surround the kitchen. Interiors explore everything that is often missed in healing environments: natural and tactile materials, soft lighting, and a variety of spaces designed to encourage social opportunities as well as quiet contemplation. Windows sills and shelves are intended for visitors to fill with their own objects to create a sense of home. Heatherwick Studio also designed two tables, inspired by the building's timber fins and built from cork and engineered beech timber, which reside in the centre’s heart. Careful consideration has been given to the interior layout ensuring that the circulation clearances allow for those with limited mobility to comfortably experience the centre. The rooftop garden, accessible to all users via the central lift, is inspired by Yorkshire woodlands and features native English species of plants, alongside areas of evergreen to provide warmth in the winter months. Inspired by Maggie Keswick Jencks' love of gardening, visitors are encouraged to participate in the care of the 23,000 bulbs and 17,000 plants on site. Maggie’s centres offer free professional support to anyone living with cancer and their family and friends. Through workshops, courses, one-to-one and group sessions, the staff at Maggie’s centres help change the way people live with and view cancer. Their support has been shown to improve the physical and emotional wellbeing of those they support.



Heatherwick Studio



Construction Management

Sir Robert McAlpine

Structural Engineer


Landscape Architect

Balston Agius

MEP Consultant

Max Fordham Consulting

Lighting Design

Light Bureau

Cost Consultant

Robert Lombardelli Partnership

Timber Structure Manufacturer

Blumer-Lehmann AG


CDM Scotland

Fire Engineering

Olsson Fire & Risk

Approved Building Inspector

Butler & Young

Primary Use Class

Class D1a - Medical/Health Service