The design of Kaiser Permanente’s Radiation Oncology Center in Anaheim, CA is, “about helping improve medical outcomes,” according to a new Fast Company piece entitled – To Design New Cancer Treatment Center, Kaiser Borrows from the Luxury Spa Industry.
The piece talks about how Kaiser Permanente, CannonDesign and its Yazdani Studio worked to advance the historical reality of cancer radiation therapy, which often takes place in sterile, dim, underground spaces. Instead, the Kaiser Permanente facility brings its radiation spaces above ground and into the light. This helps patients connect with the calming influences of nature and light during their treatment visits.
The full FastCo story is available online. Below are key excerpts:
Mehrdad Yazdani on the building design
“I started thinking completely independent of functionality – what should this building be? I began to draw and almost paint on my computer this notion of a beacon of hope, something that was light, somewhat ethereal, and something that was distinguished but at the same time gave the patient and their family a level of comfort.”
On connections to nature
Virtually every space within the center (offers) a room with a landscape view. “The plan is the result of keeping the cancer patient and their emotions and experience front and center and then designing around that reality,” added CannonDesign’s Carlos Amato. “Harnessing natural light, views to nature, and a soothing interior helps create a calming and nature-oriented experience rarely seen in these types of buildings.”
On containing the radiation
In order to build the structure above ground, the architects still needed to find ways to contain the radiation. They oriented the three treatment rooms in the building’s core and constructed thick concrete walls around them. Yazdani refers to this area of the building as “the vault.” Medical offices, support spaces and CT imaging rooms, and exam rooms, are located along the building’s periphery.
Carlos Amato on the facility’s successful design
“With healthcare facilities, design is almost always compromised for other priorities, but with the Kaiser Permanente Radiation Oncology Center, it’s not. The building plan and design is simple – and that’s on purpose. That simple planning celebrates nature and light.”