Paterson building is double the size of former facility which was severely damaged by fire in 2017

Building work on BDP’s £150m replacement for a fire-damaged Manchester cancer research centre has completed.

The 10-storey Paterson building at the Christie NHS Foundation Trust is set to become home to the largest concentration of scientists, doctors and nurses in Europe.

Designed for a partnership between The Christie, Cancer Research UK and the University of Manchester, the 25,000sq m facility is more than double the size of its predecessor, which was the largest single-site cancer centre in Europe.

Severe damage was caused to the previous cancer hospital by a fire in April 2017 caused by welding work being carried out on the roof.

Construction of the replacement building has taken two years longer than planned. Original main contractor Interserve was replaced by Integrated Health Projects (IHP), a joint venture between Sir Robert McAlpine and Vinci, in late 2019, before the pandemic contributed to delays. The scheme had originally been due to open in 2021.

Some 300 scientists and 400 clinicians and operational staff will deliver clinical trials covering the full extent of the patient pathway, from prevention and novel treatments to living with and beyond cancer.  

A central component of the building will be the new Cancer Research UK Cancer Biomarker Centre, which will focus on early cancer detection and diagnosis and enabling personalised management of a patient’s cancer to determine which therapy will bring the most benefit.

BDP principal and Paterson building project director Ged Couser said the scheme was a “prime example of what can be achieved with the right planning, funding and design to create effective, beautiful, highly specialised places that impact positively on communities, businesses and local people.”

“We are so proud to have worked on the new Christie Paterson and to be witnessing these moments as the building becomes occupied,” he added.

“It shows that great design can create flexible spaces which centre on diagnoses, patient care, and vital, world-leading research in a truly collaborative environment; about which, we are so excited.”

The building is part of a wider cancer research and service campus that includes clinical facilities and a Foster + Partners-designed Maggie’s Centre.