An outstanding entry from Coppin Dockray Architects that was a resounding winner with all three judges for this category.

The building is set within an enclosed working kitchen garden, which is the focus of this Maggie’s Centre. A place where you can join in the gardening or just sit and watch the changing seasons.

The friendly building is not about itself, but rather about the people who use it. There are plenty of nooks, crannies, window seats and shelves that can be occupied in different ways. It gives choices about the everyday things and activities that make it feel like a home.

From the first visit, a visitor can glimpse left and right into the orchard and veggie patch, offering both reassurance and orientation. The greenhouse is a shared working space, and not just a place to potter in, it also provides a good spot for a restorative cup of tea.

The materials chosen to create the centre are local to its imagined Hertfordshire site of thatch, brick and garden. They are natural materials that are familiar and domestic and embody the idea of ‘wellness.’

The judges commented:

Ted Cullinan: “This entry starts with an excellent illustrated essay concerning the aims and qualities of the scheme. It starts like this “we imagine a place of sanctuary, a place where you can take part or sit in a quiet corner, a place of possibilities and choices”, and it continues with the same grace. The scheme, made from brick, timber and with thatched roofs, partly sits in the garden and partly creates the garden; and the garden has areas of orchard, vegetable growing and rest. The drawings are excellently graceful.”

From hand-drawn outlines and a plan that looks like it’s extracted from a secret diary with handwritten annotations for a personal gardening project, there’s real magic in these naïve illustrations, with a gorgeous colour palette and sensitive material selection.

Paul Swaddle, NBS

Karen Verrill: “I love the outside area in this design, and the idea of using the garden produce within the centre. The cosy book room is beautiful. I can already imagine how visitors would feel relaxed in this hypothetical building, and would be able to find a quiet moment in the window seats. The design is practical but the overall feeling is calm and uplifting which is very important in a Maggie’s Centre.”

Paul Swaddle: “Conceptually, a domestic-scale kitchen garden evokes exactly the atmosphere I’d want to find in a Maggie’s Centre if I needed its support, and this tapestry of gardens and perimeter-supported shelters is beautifully considered to provide a welcoming and relaxing home-like environment, that could also encourage resourcefulness and new skills.”