Ben Juckes: Pushing Boundaries Through Computational Design

  • January 21, 2019
  • Author: CannonDesign

Surfing comes naturally to Ben Juckes, but contrary to what you’d think, he did not take up the sport in his native Australia, one of the world’s premier surfing destinations.

It wasn’t until he moved to Los Angeles and began working at Yazdani Studio of CannonDesign, the in-house laboratory led by Mehrdad Yazdani with a staff of approximately 20 architects, designers, 3D artists, technical specialists and other creative thinkers.

For Ben, the sports’ appeal was always more about the surfboard, the idea of manipulating its form to maximize its performance – the architecture of it all. He plunged into the study of computational design (CD) in Perth, where he pursued a Bachelor of Environmental Science in Architecture at the University of Western Australia (UWA). There weren’t any courses in CD there, however, a one-year student exchange program at the University of Arizona introduced him to visual programming languages like Grasshopper.

“I was blown away by all the tools and technologies that people were using there,” Ben recalls. “The idea that you had the ability to harness complicated geometries through simple procedures really fit with my style of designing, and I decided that this is the way I wanted to practice architecture.”

Ben returned to UWA and earned his M.Arch, continuing to develop his skills in CD. He, along with fellow students and professors who were early adopters, established the “Hub,” a regular event for students to collaborate and share knowledge. He was also part of the team behind Augmented Australia, an exhibition at the Venice Biennale 2014, curated by the creative team known as felix._Giles_Anderson+Goad. It included apps that allowed users to visualize unbuilt modern and historic structures across the country.

After graduating, Ben transitioned from teaching evening classes on parametric modeling to taking on sessional staff positions at his alma mater. Though he enjoyed being in academia and plans to return to it someday, he felt driven to gain practical experience.

“I realized I needed to immerse myself in the industry before I (could) actually teach people!” says Ben.

Drawn back to the States, he settled in Los Angeles, which offered a similar laid-back vibe and warm climate to Perth. A friend introduced him to Yazdani Studio. Though he had been focused on computer modeling, seeing the many physical models displayed around the studio was one of the reasons he knew it was the right fit for him.

“You walk in and see it’s a playground of models,” says Ben. “That says something about the way the studio operates and that it’s a really cool, collaborative environment.”

Four years later, he is now an associate, having established himself as an expert in CD. One of his greatest strengths is creating DIY tools and custom workflows that challenge conventional practice.

The studio doesn’t have a dedicated CD team; rather, each staff member is encouraged to explore their own ideas in organic ways.“We have shaped our tools, but the tools are now starting to shape us,” Ben observes. “The term ‘computational design’ covers an extremely broad variety of roles and relationships. As it becomes more widely used across the industry, we will start to see bigger distinctions between these roles and the creation of more specialized divisions.”

“With a more diverse range of roles, coupled with advancements in technologies and applications, I think architects will retreat from outsourcing and create a new paradigm of insourcing,” Ben adds.

The first project Ben worked on with Yazdani was Lassonde Studios at the University of Utah in Salt Lake City, a typology definer that hybridizes maker space and dormitory pods. The team utilized visual programming languages, like the Kangaroo plugin for Grasshopper, Dynamo for Revit, and other tools, to map relationships between programmatic elements. They also created a virtual reality game to help the university promote the project.

More recently, Ben has been focusing on Address Harbor Point, a set of slender, tapered residential towers on the waterfront in Dubai. By creating multiple iterations of physical models via 3D printers and utilizing Galapagos, another plugin for Grasshopper, Ben and his team have explored subtle rotations of the towers’ forms to investigate sight lines and maximize views from each unit.

These diverse experiences at Yazdani Studios have given Ben the space to dive even deeper into what excites him.

“A great thing about the style and culture Merhdad has created is that we all touch the projects in different facets, but we are encouraged to pursue and explore our own interests.” Those interests include making furniture, and, of course, surfing. He’s finally learned to surf along the coast of Los Angeles.

“I keep it practical outside of work,” says Ben. “It’s important to mix analog with digital. You have to get your hands dirty sometimes.”

Positive Energy & Excitement: Setting the Tone for Buffalo’s Future

  • January 10, 2019
  • Author: CannonDesign

The inaugural Buffalo Urban Futures Forum proved a success last Thursday at Buffalo’s famed Albright-Knox Art Gallery. The event brought together local leaders key to Buffalo’s recent resurgence to take part in a panel discussion about what comes next regarding urban development, infrastructure investment, sustainability and innovation for the city. We were proud to host the event in partnership with Next City, an international organization focused on inspiring better cities. Beyond the panelists, more than 200 attendees from standout Buffalo organizations attended to listen, contribute to the conversation, and think big about Buffalo’s future. A video of the event can be viewed on our Facebook page along with a photo gallery.

The full list of presenters and panelists included:

  • Michael Tunkey, Principal at CannonDesign, welcoming remarks
  • Tom Dallessio, President, CEO & Publisher of Next City, keynote presentation
  • Frank Cravotta, Executive VP of Creative Services for Pegula Sports & Entertainment Group
  • Tom Dee, President at Erie Canal Harbor Development Corporation
  • Rahwa Ghirmatzion, Director of Programs for PUSH Buffalo
  • Bill Maggio, Partner at Lorraine Capital and Chairman of 43North
  • Kelly Hayes McAlonie, Director of Capital Planning at SUNY Buffalo
  • Eileen Morgan, Chief Human Resources Officer for Delaware North
  • Meg Osman, Executive Director of Corporate/Commercial at CannonDesign, moderator

The discussion focused on bringing a strong cross-section of leaders from Buffalo’s strongest businesses, institutions and nonprofits to think boldly about how the city can capitalize on its recent resurgence for an even brighter future. Here are highlights from the discussion:

Tom Dee on a vision for the city’s waterfront:
“Our vision was established – to revitalize the waterfront and restore economic development. For us, it was all about public access. We have this great waterfront, and it’s so totally underdeveloped and we’re still in our infancy for what we’re doing. When we think about public access as our No. 1 guiding principle, nothing happens until we ensure the public that we get public access to the water’s edge. That’s number one. Number two is things to do. And, we’ve changed and transformed what you can do at the water’s edge. Over the next decade, I’d love to see our waterfront become known as one of the best in the world.”

Kelly Hayes McAlonie on being audacious with design:
“I spend a lot of time studying Buffalo between 1880 to 1910 and in that time, Buffalo brought in the very best architects in the world: Daniel Burnham, Louis Sullivan, Frank Lloyd Wright and I’m just going to ask you – what top tier architects are we bringing in now? We want and expect to be a top-tier city and I think we once again should be audacious. We should celebrate design the way we did 120 years ago.”

Rahwa Ghirmatzion on investing in existing neighborhoods:
“What we really need to look at as we’re having these conversations is how do we strategically and intentionally invest in (all our) communities and in (all our) youth, and in those sort of older, disadvantaged workers to make sure we’re upscaling them and training them in productive ways that will pay them family-sustaining wages. We need to do more of that. It needs to be serious and intentional and it needs to be now.”

Frank Cravotta on the power of local talent:
“We’ve brought in a lot of national talent for some of our projects, but with our recent effort at 79 Perry Street we looked local and I would say unequivocally that the local talent is excellent and we’re excited to move forward in that direction. We’re having a lot of fun with our new projects and we like it even more because we’re partnering with our neighbors.”

Eileen Morgan on recruiting talent to Buffalo:
“Buffalo is a great place to recruit from. Telling the Buffalo story is less and less of a challenge every week and every day. The resurgence has just been amazing – it’s really about building awareness about all the city has to offer. Because, when we recruit people into our roles, they bring their families. They’re living here, they’re working here – it’s not just about the job opportunity. It’s about schools, entertainment, sports; it’s critical we recognize we’re all invested in the city’s future together.”

Bill Maggio on igniting Buffalo’s start-up scene
“The evolution of everything that’s happening in Buffalo is making it easy for 43North to bring companies here. Having people come to Buffalo is the least of their concerns. Their concerns revolve around raising money, advancing their discoveries, mentorship… What we need is mentorship and so what 43North is doing is going outside Western New York and we’re convincing people who had a connection to Buffalo to come back and mentor these young companies. Mentorship is critically important for us to achieve transformation.”

Our team at CannonDesign is thrilled with the inaugural Buffalo Urban Futures Forum. We see the optimistic conversation as a launch point for more events and new momentum around a brighter future for Buffalo.

Watch the inaugural Buffalo Urban Futures Forum >

2018 Year in Review

  • December 31, 2018
  • Author: CannonDesign

As designers, we are incredibly fortunate to do what we love every day — to help organizations around the world leverage design to grow their missions, help their people, enrich their communities and so much more. As we look toward our future in 2019, we wanted to take a moment to reflect on this past year and share some of our proudest accomplishments.

ARCHITECT 50 ranked CannonDesign #4

The ARCHITECT 50 is the premier industry ranking for US-based architecture firms, and we are thrilled to have ranked #4 overall and #12 in design as part of the 2018 report. This ranking differentiates itself from others by measuring firms not by size or revenue, but on business and sustainability performance and design excellence. Learn more about this ranking.

We hosted our first company-wide Community Service Day

Giving back to our communities has always been a central part of our practice, but this year we took our commitment to a new level by hosting our first company-wide Community Service Day. Across the country, we volunteered with more than 30 nonprofits, devoting more than 2,000 hours to helping organizations like the Urban Farm in Denver, the Fenway Victory Gardens in Boston, the SPCA of Texas and more. See a full recap of our first Community Service Day.

gkkworks joined CannonDesign

Building off the success of our mergers with FKP and Bennett Wagner Grody Architects in 2017, this year, we welcomed gkkworks to the CannonDesign family. The merger brought five new office locations — Irvine, Pasadena and San Diego, California; Denver, Colorado; and Pune, India — and strengthened our ability to provide fully integrated design and construction services within our architecture and engineering practice. Learn more about gkkworks.

We launched our in-house innovation incubator, Amp 

Amp gives every one of our employees the opportunity to research, develop and test new ideas in a structured framework with the opportunity to bring their ideas to market and drive industry and firm-wide change. Since launching the incubator in early 2018, we’ve given seven teams the time and resources needed to push their ideas forward. Teams are exploring ideas like new energy modeling and data processing techniques, a mobile lactation pod concept, opportunities for building controls integration and the launch of CannonDesign’s first hackathon. Learn more about Amp.

We were recognized with 36 awards for design excellence and innovation 

2018 was an outstanding year for design recognition — as evidenced by the 36 awards we received for design excellence (and our #12 design ranking in the ARCHITECT 50). Although we don’t measure the success of our work purely on design awards, it’s always wonderful receiving third-party recognition from organizations and jurors we respect and admire. Awards included national recognition from the International Interior Design Association (IIDA), American Institute of Architects, Fast Company, Interior Design Magazine, FRAME magazine and more. See the full list.

CJ Blossom Park was named the best new laboratory in the world

Every year, R&D magazine recognizes exemplary research environments with Lab of the Year Awards — the world’s most prestigious honor for laboratory design. In 2018, CJ Blossom Park, designed by CannonDesign, was the only project to receive this honor. The design of the 1.2 million SF building is founded on our “New Scientific Workplace” concept — a radical design approach that replaces traditional laboratory planning ideas with integrated innovation strategies to create boundary-less environments that increase productivity, efficiency and creativity. Learn more.

We strengthened our commitment to diversity in the profession by launching our Diversity + Inclusion Council

Started largely as a grassroots effort by employees, our Diversity + Inclusion Council pushes forward programming focused on enriching the employee experience, fostering inclusiveness and driving change in the industry. One of the group’s signature events this year was a live broadcast with architectural historian Despina Stratigakos to present a lecture based on her book, “Where Are the Women Architects?” Learn more about our Diversity + Inclusion Council.

We took advanced design technology and data-driven design to new heights

Advanced technologies help us work smarter and more efficiently while pushing the boundaries of design. In 2018, we partnered with NVIDIA to launch Holodeck, a tool that empowers multi-user virtual reality experiences to enhance client communication and design outcomes, and took our use of data-driven design and visualization to new levels. Take a look at the 10 ways we’re using technology to deliver more value to our clients.

We completed 100+ projects

Across North America, more than 100 projects of all scales designed by CannonDesign reached completion. Although we think they’re all wonderful, here’s a few standouts:  VCU Medical Center’s Virginia Treatment Center for Children, which was designed to destigmatize behavioral healthcare; York University’s new Student Centre, which was designed to be one of the most inclusive university buildings in the world; and Texas Children’s Hospital’s 25-story Legacy Tower, which is providing care to some of the most critically ill and medically complex children. Check out more of our recent work, here.

A banner year for media coverage

Our projects, ideas and people were fortunate to be covered by hundreds of media outlets this year. Here’s some of our favorites: Metropolis featured our behavioral health practice and how CannonDesign is using architecture to help solve America’s mental health crisis; Popular Science featured CannonDesign and our projects in an article about designing storm-resilient hospitals; Waukee Innovation and Learning Center was profiled in The 74 Million as a “model for the nation”; a confidential CannonDesign project earned the cover of Architectural Record’s interiors issue; and Curbed wrote an article about our Yazdani Studio and the important role it plays in our practice. See all of our recent media coverage on the insights page of our website.

2018 will absolutely go down in the books as one of our favorite years yet. And while this year in review gives us the opportunity to pause and reflect on all we have accomplished, we already have our sights set on the future. Here’s looking at you 2019!

Four Exciting Takeaways from Innovation Accelerated By Design

  • November 26, 2018
  • Author: CannonDesign

The inaugural Innovation Accelerated By Design event hosted by CannonDesign’s Los Angeles office explored the role of design in spurring innovation. Last Thursday, more than 100 designers, educators, health and business leaders and innovators came together to hear leaders from Kaiser Permanente, Showtime and University of Utah share thoughts on how design can fuel innovation.

Hosted at the Herman Miller Showroom, Innovation Accelerated By Design welcomed inspiring presentations, sparked interesting dialogue, and offered exciting peeks into the future of design. The event featured a series of TED-style presentations followed by a panel discussion moderated by CannonDesign’s Director of Strategy, Swapna Sathyan.

Our moderator and speakers (From L-R) Swapna Sathyan, Mehrdad Yazdani, Troy D’Ambrosio, Sunil Shah, Jana Winograde

Starting with this inaugural event, our team is excited to build on the momentum generated and continue to feature thought leaders and industry experts through various channels and events in 2019 and beyond. For those unable to attend or simply interested, here’s a look at four key takeaways from last Thursday’s event.

Internal Disruption is Important
Sunil Shah, Kaiser Permanente’s VP of Facilities Strategy, Planning & Design, kicked off the evening with a thorough look at the health system’s legacy of innovation. He shared that from Kaiser Permanente’s perspective, “(their) buildings need to be a beacon – so what does that mean for design?” From breakthrough cancer centers, to its Health Hub concept, and even its new School of Medicine, Kaiser Permanente consistently leads the health industry in generating novel ideas to meet shifting customer demand and preferences.

Sunil was clear that this innovation doesn’t just happen and he shared that Kaiser Permanente is fully aware it must constantly “internally disrupts ourselves” to foster these exciting ideas and concepts. Sunil then focused more on how his team has opened around 50 medical office buildings since 2015 that reshape patient experience in healthcare. He shared that in healthcare, “Customer experience matters. Brand matters. The healthcare doctor’s office has a much broader role than an episodic event that happens in people’s lives.”

This recognition guides so much of Kaiser Permanente’s design efforts and they’ve rooted their visionary responses to elevating customer experience in “design, technology, services models and operational models.”

Unleashing Creativity Can Be Intentional
As one of the leading entertainment media companies in the world, Showtime Networks is a paragon for fueling creativity. The company’s President of Business Operations Jana Winograde shared how the company has redesigned its workplace in Los Angeles to empower its creative people and culture for the decades ahead. She highlighted, “For Showtime, it was about having a space that encouraged the creative process in every way, and creating and designing spaces for that.”

Jana touched on numerous features of the new workplace (set to open in 2019) as she shared renderings and video fly-throughs. She touched on how the company integrated technology, screening rooms, collaborative space and pushed the design solutions to inherently inspire those who will work within it. She also focused her presentation on Showtime’s need to “design a space that can adapt to industry change.” Jana shared that with the entertainment industry seeing new entrants in the form of technology companies, company culture, and recruit and retain is shifting in dynamic new ways.

“We looked across industries for the best workplace ideas and pushed ourselves to think about what we’ll need today, tomorrow, 10 years from now, to thrive. It’s a moving target; that’s how we think about our business, and we brought that same perspective to the workplace design process.”

Welcome Ideas from Everywhere
Troy D’Ambrosio, the Executive Director of the Lassonde Entrepreneur Institute at University of Utah, then took the stage to share how just two years after the university opened its breakthrough entrepreneurial education building, Lassonde Studios, it has quintupled the number of student-led startups on campus. “Last year, we had over 500 startups and 100 of those are still running,” he shared. Beyond this startup amplification, Lassonde Studios has also helped the University of Utah jump up in national rankings, increase student engagement on campus and accelerate funding streams.

In his presentation, Troy identified “unique compression of talent,” as a core driver for this success. Lassonde Studios welcomes students from all disciplines and levels to live in its 400+ residences and every student on campus is welcome to use its ground floor 20,000 square foot entrepreneurial hangar. The building enhances this idea of idea-sharing, as Troy added, “not only did we mashup students, but we mashed up types of spaces, like open collaborative zones, prototype spaces, workshops, hackable spaces, you name it.”

Troy added that one of the defining marks of Lassonde Studios is that students define it. “I walked in recently, and there was someone riding a scooter, someone playing the piano… it’s non-stop action and it’s 24/7 for those who live within it.”


It’s an Extraordinary Time to Be a Designer
Our own Mehrdad Yazdani helped close the series of presentations with a look at how the design process is evolving and why it must continually evolve to help organizations meet their ever-present challenges. After enthusiastically telling the attendees it was an extraordinary time to be a designer, Mehrdad shared that “we are living in a world that is rapidly changing. The emergence of new technology, (the) convergence of new generations – everything about how we work is changing.” To accommodate this change and stay relevant, Mehrdad concluded, “designers must change, too.”

Mehrdad’s presentation then focused on how prototyping, emerging technologies and new processes all help designers engage their clients and identify new solutions and opportunities that never previously existed. Having worked with Sunil from Kaiser and Troy from University of Utah closely, Mehrdad was able to highlight anecdotes from the design processes that informed their projects and unite the presentations dynamically.

“In such a remarkably evolving world, design is a common denominator that can help businesses, health systems, educators – it’s a powerful tool to help us create a brighter future.”

Inspired by the series of presentations and discussion, several audience members had questions for the crowd. The group also enjoyed the atmosphere of the Herman Miller showroom, food and drinks after the formal presentation had concluded.

Our team was thrilled with the quality of speakers for our inaugural event, their insightful presentations and we look forward to building on the great start to this event series.

Deb Sheehan Named to National Design-Build Institute of America Board of Directors

  • November 15, 2018
  • Author: CannonDesign

The Design-Build Institute of America (DBIA) has elected Deb Sheehan, CannonDesign’s executive director of strategy, to its national board of directors. In this role, Deb will join a board composed of design-build innovators from across the country focused on promoting the proven efficiencies of an integrated design-build approach.

The DBIA is an organization of more than 5,000 members. It functions as the industry’s preeminent resource for leadership, education, objective expertise and best practices for design-build — the fastest growing method used to deliver construction projects in America.

“The value of design-build project delivery is immense, and it is quickly becoming the premier way to deliver capital projects,” said Praful Kulkarni, fellow board member, 2017 board chair and chairman of the nomination committee. “Deb has devoted much of her career to advancing innovative ideas related to project delivery and will be a tremendous asset to the DBIA as we continue to grow and guide the future of design-build.”

With a background in business management, engineering, architecture and construction, Deb has overseen the design and delivery of more than $4 billion of design solutions for client organizations across the globe. She has led several high-profile projects delivered via integrated project delivery (IPD) and spearheaded the creation of CannonDesign’s construction delivery services division, which offers in-house design-build and construction support services. Recognizing the immense value of prefabrication, Deb also led CannonDesign in co-founding Integrated Modular Design (IMD) — a company offering prefabricated, modular building solutions that can be fully customized to meet client goals for design and functionality.

“The way architects and contractors deliver projects is quickly changing,” said Deb. “There is a lot of waste and inefficiency in traditional delivery methods and design-build has proven to deliver enhanced outcomes to clients. I’m thrilled to help the DBIA continue to evolve and broaden its influence on project delivery across the country.”

Deb, along with her fellow newly appointed board members, will assume this board leadership position in January 2019.

Celebrating 35 Years in DC: How We Started and Where We’re Going

  • November 14, 2018
  • Author: CannonDesign

We wanted to take a moment and reflect on the office’s 35 years in the DC area, and also re-introduce our practice and highlight the amazing things happening in our office through our clients, markets, culture and people. In 2019, we will focus on one of these topics each quarter and give you insights into how we are evolving to meet the challenges of our world.

Looking back for a moment…
Our history in DC began with the acquisition of Faulkner, Fryer and Vanderpool Architects in 1984. At that time, CannonDesign was expanding and growing — with five offices and 280 people — but still much smaller than what we are today.

We have been extremely lucky to develop incredible client relationships over the years, working with so many notable Washington, DC institutions in all major sectors including hospitals, corporations, schools, universities and government entities.

And leaping forward in 2019…
In 2019, we will focus on one of these topics each quarter and give you insights into how we are evolving to meet the challenges of our ever-changing world.

  • Clients – We plan to feature the incredible clients we have partnered with to create lasting change in their organizations. We can’t wait to hear from them.
  • Markets – We are excited to see the fusion of markets and blurring the lines between science, education, corporate and health. We will explore this growing trend through interviews, project features and market research.
  • Our Culture – We are so proud of our culture here. We will highlight how we are advancing the practice with innovative technologies, leading sustainable strategies in the built environment and integrating our services and project delivery methods to better serve our clients.
  • Our People – Our people are most important to us. We have an incredible amount of new talent and we can’t wait to share their stories with you.

  • Do you like cake?
    To celebrate all of you — our clients, stakeholders, partners and friends — we will be holding an anniversary party in Fall 2019. We’ll have interesting conversations, networking opportunities and, of course, cake.

Three Ways Quebec’s Largest Academic Medical Center is Combating Cancer

  • October 31, 2018
  • Author: CannonDesign

Rising 22 stories high and four floors below ground, the new Centre hospitalier de l’Université de Montréal (CHUM) is the largest hospital in Quebec and contains one of the largest cancer treatment centers in Canada. The extensive size and scope of the cancer treatment center is designed to respond to the increasing demand for cancer services in Montreal, Quebec, and across Northeast Canada and the Maritimes.

While the building design and its size are unique and impressive on their own, the way care is delivered within the cancer center, and the breakthroughs in research, are also hallmarks of the cancer care philosophy at CHUM. We’ve highlighted three ways CHUM is a model for other providers to follow in the future:

Breakthroughs in Immunotherapy
Oncologists at CHUM are harnessing technological advances in immunotherapy to treat patients in both the hospital and ambulatory clinic. Located in the adjacent Université de Montréal Hospital Research Centre (a building designed and completed by a separate consortium in 2014), a cleanroom cultures cells for clinical treatment using an advanced closed-system cell sorter – one of only about 20 such units in the world, and the first of its kind in Canada.

The final cellular product – produced at the Centre d’excellence en thérapie cellulaire at Hôpital Maisonneuve-Rosemont of CIUSSS de l’Est-de-l’île-de-Montréal – is then injected into CHUM patients as part of their personalized treatment. Scientists and oncologists at CHUM are currently using immunotherapy for patients who are no longer responding to standard treatments – targeting some of the most aggressive cancers and late-stage diagnoses.

CHUM’s standing as a center of academic medical excellence and its strategic research partnerships is helping to foster breakthroughs in cancer care.

Unmatched Cancer Treatment Capacity
As one of the most comprehensive cancer treatment centers in North America, its total size equals 125,513 sf in combined inpatient and outpatient areas. The CHUM Integrated Cancer Center (CICC) is recognized by the Department of Cancer and Social Services (DMC) as a supra-regional center for the specialties and treatment of complex cancers. In addition, as a center of regional expertise, CHUM is designated as a BrachyAcademy educational center for multiple specialties and a global Training Center in Brachytherapy techniques.

Located on two floors below grade, the CHUM’s radiation oncology department houses a wide array of technologically advanced treatment options, including:

  • 10 linear accelerator vaults (with two more planned in Phase 2)
  • 2 high-dose brachytherapy vaults
  • 2 MRI rooms
  • 2 CT and 1 PET/CT scanners

Of the 12 vaults, two include TomoTherapy, one houses a CyberKnife, and one is dedicated to a VERO®, the most advanced stereotactic body radiation therapy (SBRT) system available in the world and only found in a handful of locations in North America.

Located on the top two floors of the ambulatory tower, the cancer center houses medical oncology spaces to support ambulatory oncology clinics and the infusion center — including 67 exam rooms, 58 infusion bays with stunning views of the city, dedicated lab spaces, a dedicated USP 797 & 800 compliant infusion pharmacy, and dedicated administrative and clinical offices.

Human-Centered Design
While treatment approaches and breakthrough technology are most critical to helping cancer patients, CHUM also offers important access to nature and opportunities for respite to elevate the patient experience. Breaking down the project’s scale, public space components are woven into the campus to make it as open, transparent and welcoming as possible. To eliminate the confusion that is inherent with large, complex medical centers, the space provides clear and supportive visual cues to reinforce a path of travel with defined destinations to assure patients and visitors.

CHUM includes a number of publicly accessible rooftops gardens that recall medicinal herbs dating from the founding of New France. Expansive windows in patient rooms, waiting areas and infusion treatment spaces offer some of the best views of the city. The same consideration for access to nature and daylight is applied to staff zones and lounges that provide views to the surrounding landscape and balconies to support moments of respite and reflection.

An expansive public art collection, integrated throughout both the inpatient and outpatient areas, is intended to reduce stress, provide moments of reflection, and support wayfinding. One piece in particular, “La vie en montagne,” provides an uplifting experience in the outpatient clinic using mosaics of ‘‘radiant’’ words that make up its mountain peaks.

Each of these elements contributes to the innovative care delivery model at CHUM, setting a new precedent, particularly for the design of public healthcare, and generating a new era in cancer treatment within Montreal and beyond.

Learn more about our cancer care expertise >

Three Ways Jacobs Medical Center Elevates Cancer Care

  • October 15, 2018
  • Author: CannonDesign

UC San Diego Health’s Jacobs Medical Center is a visionary healthcare building that functions as three hospitals – housing centers for women’s and infants, cancer care and specialty surgery – in one 10-story building. The building has been widely recognized for its patient-focused design, with media coverage from CNN, Architect’s Newspaper and Dezeen while winning both a Fast Company World Changing Idea award and the AIA National Healthcare Design Award in 2017.

While these accomplishments celebrate the design and key features of the medical center, we wanted to call special attention to specific spaces in the hospital focused on cancer care. In Jacobs, floors four through six are home to the Moores Cancer Center, where multidisciplinary teams of specialists, surgeons and oncologists build on advanced tools to deliver personalized care and cancer treatment trials. With 108 beds, the cancer facility nearly doubles UC San Diego Health’s capacity to treat cancer patients in the area.

Here are three unique elements of Jacobs Medical Center that bolster its ability to deliver quality cancer care:

Pressurized Air to Reduce Infection
The air in the Moores Cancer Center’s blood and marrow transplantation (BMT) floor is positively pressurized and specialty filtered to help reduce the risk of infection for patients with compromised immune functions. These measures allow patients to leave their treatment rooms, walk around open areas of the unit and visit with family and friends.

“(Previously) patients (could) leave their room during certain periods in their treatment but only if they wear a mask because of the vulnerability to infection during this time,” said Edward Ball, MD, director of the UC San Diego Blood and Marrow Transplantation Program. “With the purified air there will be no living things, no viruses and no bacteria floating around. Patients can leave the room and not worry about getting sick.  When people are stuck in a room for so long; these differences are critical.”

This change allows physicians to be more at ease with patients outside of their rooms and empowers the BMT floor to deliver a higher level of care. Physicians can do more in one place, keeping patients more relaxed and in familiar environments as opposed to having to be whisked off to other floors for tests or monitoring.

Cross-Disciplinary Team
Jacobs Medical Center has been designated a Comprehensive Cancer Center by the National Cancer Institute (NCI) – part of the National Institutes of Health. This designation is reserved for cancer care facilities with the highest achievements in cancer research, clinical care, education and community contributions. NCI-designed comprehensive cancer centers have higher survival and recovery rates due to the fullness of care, diverse oncology disciplines, subspecialty expertise and multidisciplinary teams they support.

At Jacobs Medical Center, multidisciplinary cancer care is in the building’s DNA. Care teams supported in the Moores Cancer Center include specialist from:

  • Medical oncology
  • Surgery
  • Radiation oncology
  • Diagnostic imaging and radiology
  • Psychology
  • Nutrition
  • Nursing
  • Social work

These multi-disciplinary teams can better work together in the new space to determine and execute the best course of treatment for each cancer patient they serve. They also have access to state-of-the-art equipment for minimally invasive and robotic surgery, 3D visualization techniques, and other treatment approaches of brain tumors, prostate cancer and other cancers when needed.

Infused with Nature
Extensive research suggests access to nature can enhance patient care and outcomes. Jacobs Medical Center is designed as a “garden hospital” due to the unique ways it fuses building and landscape. Multiple elevated gardens and terraces bring nature up to the cancer patient levels and patient rooms have expansive windows that overlook the nearby canyon, oceans and sunsets. The Moores Cancer Center specifically offers a Bamboo Garden which houses clinical and research space for UC San Diego Health cancer services, staff and patients.

Outside of patient rooms in the Moores Cancer Center, daylight filters throughout the floors and family rooms are in prominent locations at the end of corridors to allow maximum light and views.

Each of these elements contributes to making Jacobs Medical Center a cutting-edge destination for patients needing cancer care from San Diego, Southern California and across the country. It is a model for other providers to follow in the future.

Learn more about our cancer care efforts >




CannonDesign Takes Part in 2018 AIA Day of Service

  • October 10, 2018
  • Author: CannonDesign

With the arrival of fall’s changing colors and cooler temps across the U.S., we thought it would be good to look back at one of our favorite days of summer 2018: the AIA Day of Service on June 23. With the National AIA Conference in Manhattan this year, AIA New York leveraged the final day of the expo to encourage visiting and N.Y.-based architects to give back to diverse communities in need and our team was proud to take part.

A few highlights from that great day:

  • Widespread Impact–Volunteers worked on various service projects for non-profit organizations across the city, from Sunset Park to Chelsea, Harlem to Washington Heights, to the Upper West Side and Queens. This citywide approach amplified the day’s positive impacts.
  • Design Community–The event brought the design community together as a single team. Representatives from CannonDesign, FXCollaborative, Perkins Eastman, James Wagman Architect, Murphy Burnham & Buttrick Architects and 1100 Architect all took part which was great to see.
  • Team Focus–Each group was able to focus on a specific effort as part of the day. Our team helped the Center Against Domestic Violence (CADV) upgrade their multipurpose room. The CADV promotes the economic independence of domestic violence victims, educates young people about abusive relationships, and provides support services and housing to clients on their journey from victim to survivor. Thanks to Ryan Koella, Siobhan Lee, Deborah Verne and Carisima Koenig from our NYC Office for their time and effort.

Both AIA New York and HunterDouglas Architectural posted strong recaps of the AIA Day of Service. HunterDouglas even included our Ryan Koella in their recap video.

Numerous people and organizations helped make CannonDesign’s contribution to the Day of Service a success, including:

  • Tarkett provided flooring supplies
  • EzoBoard contributed a felt column cover
  • Benjamin Moore donated paint
  • Stalco Construction, PK Painters and JoMark Flooring all donated time, professional labor and expertise
  • Several NYC-based CannonDesign employees contributed money to help purchase IKEA furniture and other needed supplies
  • United Rentals provided Home Depot supplies for the project
  • AIA volunteers and staff from CADV all helped throughout the day

“This was a great team effort and it wouldn’t have been possible without the contributions of so many,” said the CannnonDesign team of the event. “Our work that day has inspired the CADV to continue improving the space. After seeing what we helped them achieve that day, they committed to updating the ceiling in the space. It was a fantastic experience driving valuable results for the organization and those they serve.”

Following the full day of service, participants met at the Center for Architecture for a reception that marked the end of the conference. Designers and volunteers shared ideas, lessons learned and experiences from the Day of Service that will inform future events for AIA New York and the AIA National Conference.

We were thrilled to be part of the event and look forward to future opportunities to make a difference in New York and through the design profession.

Photos: Jake Frisbie

CannonDesign’s St. Louis Office Celebrates 10 Years in Historic Power House

  • September 18, 2018
  • Author: CannonDesign

In 2006, CannonDesign saw a rare opportunity for its St. Louis office in one of the city’s signature buildings: a vacant steam-heat power plant built in 1928 as part of the city’s post-World’s Fair economic re-development efforts.

Ten years later, after a major redesign and adaptive re-use process that gutted its interior and created a new-meets-old design concept, the Power House is still generating positive energy for its occupants — our St. Louis headquarters — its neighborhood, and its city. We celebrate its first decade with a look back at its history and impact.

When built, the Power House powered a dozen downtown city buildings, including City Hall, the Kiel Opera House, and multiple municipal buildings and courthouses. Its coal-burning mechanics were visible to the public through the glorious 26-foot-tall arched windows. A significant building for residents, the Power House was a flagship of great civic initiative and a pillar of municipal pride.

But in 1980, after more than a half-century in operation, the plant was decommissioned. Falling sharply into disrepair, its beautiful brick facade became an eyesore; its roof infamously sprouted trees — an ironic last hope for life on this blighted neighborhood cornerstone. A landmark on the National Register of Historic Places, the Power House needed new fuel.

It sat vacant for some 25 years, until CannonDesign purchased it as a new home for our St. Louis regional office. The team quickly realized its potential as a truly unique office environment, and as an emblem of the neighborhood’s rebirth.

Under the project leadership of principal Thomas Bergmann and design leadership of David Polzin, the new design that emerged reflected CannonDesign’s ideals of creativity, collaboration and sustainable design.

“We wanted the office to be demonstrative of our values. We wanted to inject the work environment with an atmosphere that would stimulate design exploration; we created multiple soft spaces for teams to come together to collaborate, and we pursued LEED Gold certification, working with our engineers to understand building performance,” says David.

The challenge was a small building footprint, but a large volume of space. The immense interior was gutted to its brick shell, maintaining the only massive steel plate columns. A whole new interior was injected into the brick shell, calling for “ship-in-a-bottle”-precision construction methods.

All-new HVAC, plumbing and electrical infrastructure were added; concrete foundations were exposed as walls for conference rooms; and two new floor plates were added above the ground floor to make use of the building’s dramatic height. By holding the new floors away from the exterior walls, all employees benefit from access to significant daylight and beautiful beautiful panoramic views of the neighboorhood.

[Learn more about the Power House’s adaptive re-use design in High Performing Buildings.]

The new design was an immediate success for CannonDesign’s 100-employee St. Louis team, as David explains: “The most gratifying part about the building has been the joy of seeing it used as it was intended … it has been transformative for our design culture.”

It also signaled a new day for its community. Since opening, the office has renewed the area’s interest in adaptive re-use of its historical structures, and has inspired a new generation of similar projects throughout the design-build landscape.

For CannonDesign, the project has garnered us with multiple international awards, including the AIA Institute Honor Award, the SARA Distinguished Building of the Year, and the ARIDO Project of the year, among others.

But beyond awards and recognition sits the nearly century-old truth of the great Power House — that in generating and distributing power to a city, even a hallmark building is more than its beams and bricks. When it becomes a city’s hub of energy, growth and later rebirth, it becomes the very cornerstone of its identity.

That the company’s vision in 2006 paid off is an enormous feather in our cap, to be sure. But that it did so in honor of the city’s legacy of design, industry and midwestern sense of community, is an even bigger reward.

Happy new 10th birthday, Power House! A toast from your CannonDesign family, working hard to fuel your next 90 years!