Contract, one of the leading publications for interior design and architecture, features Kaiser Permanente’s new Kraemer Medical Center on the cover of its “Innovations In Healthcare Design and Delivery” issue. Designed by the Yazdani Studio of CannonDesign, the atypical building brings the medical center’s radiation therapy services—services that are typically housed below ground to accommodate heavy equipment and to shield radiation—above ground and into the light.
As Sunil Shah, KP’s design director for Southern California, explains:
We wanted to demonstrate to the public that we had a unique, state-of-art building for cancer patients that was healing, stress-relieving, and full of natural light.
The article examines how the design team successfully applied a very simple design to a very complex building type. “Too often, architects get caught up in solving the functional needs of a healthcare facility—expediting patient, staff, and equipment flows—and then find they are stuck in a windowless maze,” Yazdani says. “KP wanted to create a simple plan and make wayfinding easy to allay the anxieties of cancer patients and their families.”
Other key excerpts from the article:
A building with a purpose
At the heart of the building are three linear accelerator treatment rooms enclosed within massive, two-foot-thick concrete walls. Each treatment area has a glass wall that opens onto a narrow zen garden and a living wall of lush plantings that create the illusion of a garden. The corners of the treatment rooms are rounded, and the concrete is clad in cherry wood to impart a sense of warmth to the waiting area beyond the reception desk.
Nature and the healing process
The graceful arcs of the exterior glass walls, which fan out to embrace a landscape of wild grasses and drought-resistant plantings, give the 16,000-square-foot building a strong presence. The inner panes of the double glazing are fritted with the image of a forest. Our design team digitized a photograph of trees as a composition of circles, and wrote a program to manipulate the image to avoid repetition and vary the intensity of the fritting.