Parametric Timber Façade - Maggie's Centre


Project Year


Xylotek Role

Specialist Installation

Project Team

Architect: Studio Daniel Libeskind.

Photo Credits

Studio Daniel Libeskind


The new Maggie’s centre at the Royal Free Hospital in London will be an important hub to support people living with cancer. The curved parametric exterior façade panelling and rooftop terrace will form principal aspects of the natural, friendly design.  

As the main contractors, Zublin have developed the panelling for the façade and have sub-contracted Xylotek to carry out the specialist install onsite.  

The pre-weathered LVL (laminated veneer lumber) timber boards have been manufactured off-site and all cut to specific shapes to form the vertical panelling. The gaps for the window frames in the façade have been pre-cut, as well as holes for the external steel beams for the fire escape. The grey patina of the pre-weathered boards ensures the timber remains uniform in colour as the building is exposed to the elements. This design choice is in-keeping with the overall aesthetic of the project as the wood grain is still visible and celebrates the use of timber.  

Through a numbering system, all the individual panels can be identified and installed accurately. On site, the numbered panels are stacked into a vertical timber lifting frame in sequence. This frame is then lifted via crane and affixed to the façade cassettes. The panels are then removed from the frame and secured to the battens. The LVL boards will snap if lifted individually, so this method was devised to ensure safety, accuracy and efficiency. As the installation continues on-site, we are looking forward to seeing how the unique incline, curvature and form comes to life and envelops the centre.  

More about the Maggie’s Centres: Maggie’s centres are built as warm, welcoming spaces on the grounds of cancer hospitals, which offer free practical and emotional support to people living with cancer, and their family and friends. The unique architecture of each centre is part of the cancer charity’s concept and philosophy, based on the conviction that a friendly design can facilitate the healing process.

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