MAGGIES CENTRE OLDHAM
Maggie's Centre, Oldham
Wright Landscapes were appointed to deliver Maggie’s Centre, Oldham. The building is raised above a garden filled with trees. A balcony stretches across the entrance side of the centre to provide an outdoor seating area, while at the rear, where the building juts out over a stone wall, a long horizontal window wraps the façade. New trees are carefully placed to surround the timber building, but also rise through its structure. They form a ‘wood’ which provides privacy and creates a strong connection to the seasons. Leaves turning from green too gold and by winter forming a filigree of twigs and white trunks.
The building’s elevated position takes in surprising views that reach over the rooftops of Oldham towards the Pennines beyond. From here you can stand and watch the weather move across the wider landscape, observing how the city turns to farmland, then to mixed forest rising the flanks of the great ridge.
The garden is framed by enclosing walls. The building ‘floating’ aloft is like a drop curtain to the scene, creating a picture window effect. Some woodland weaves between the structure of the numerous white birch and crispy bark of pine trunks. Layered drifts of woodland planting add depth and creates the impression that they have colonised this place naturally. Many native plants have been used, but have a cultivated twist like the copper variety of common hazel nut, Corylus purpurea, or a Dogwood which has particularly beautiful white flowers, Cornus‘China Girl’.
Differently graded raked gravels indicate paths, but do not dictate them. Some gravels are comfortable to walk over, others bank up and sweep through under the stands of birch trees. Embedded rocks emerge from the planting, with Pittosporum nana tobira mounding over them. A carpet of ‘mind your own business’ is encouraged to grow lawn like into the marginal spaces under the building.