Healthcare Design has recognized Kaiser Permanente’s Radiation Oncology Center with an Award of Merit in its annual Healthcare Design Showcase. The building, designed by the Yazdani Studio of CannonDesign, was one of two projects out of 55 submissions to receive this year’s recognition. Judges commended the building for its “beautiful planning and simplicity of design,” as well as its innovative approach to opening its linear accelerator rooms to nature and light.
Bringing cancer treatment into the light
Typically, radiation therapy centers are located below ground to accommodate heavy equipment and shield radiation. These spaces serve a very functional purpose, and are typically barren of natural light and amenities that support the psychological and emotional needs of cancer patients. Kaiser Permanente did not want to build that type of facility. Instead, the health system sought to create a state-of-the-art medical center that brought its oncology radiation services above ground and into the light.
The overall design concept was driven by the distinct needs of cancer patients and their treatment schedules, which typically occur five days a week for five to eight consecutive weeks. To alleviate the stress and discomfort that comes with treatment, natural light, views to nature, and soothing interior colors were harnessed to create a calming and nature-oriented experience that feels more like a spa than a diagnostic and treatment center. The heart of the building houses three linear accelerator treatment rooms enclosed within three-foot-thick concrete walls; the concrete is clad in cherry wood to impart a sense of warmth to the waiting area on the other side of the room. A glass wall stretches across the footwall of each room, opening onto a plush vertical garden.
The project is a gateway building for Kaiser Permanente’s Orange County – Anaheim Medical Center Campus. The exterior glass facade enhances the medical center’s sculptural form and creates an interior/exterior connection with a custom glazing pattern that mirrors the surrounding landscape. The inner panes of the double glazing feature a digitized photograph of trees presented as a composition of circles. In areas that require privacy or protection from the sun, the pattern is intensified, while other areas are left clear to open up views
Demonstrating Kaiser Permanente’s commitment to sustainable design, the building is one of the few net-positive healthcare buildings in North America. Energy reduction strategies include an efficient envelope design, domestic water heating, natural lighting strategies and equipment cooling. The placement of a solar PV array on an adjacent parking structure generates enough energy to power the building with energy to spare.
Since opening, the project has been recognized as the “Best Health Project in Southern California” by Engineering News Record and was an Honorable Mention in Architects Newspaper’s Building of the Year awards. Last October, Contract featured the medical center on the cover of its healthcare innovations issue.
More about the Healthcare Design Showcase
The Healthcare Design Showcase is produced by Healthcare Design in conjunction with The Center for Health Design, the International Interior Design Association, and the American Society of Interior Designers. The winning firms will be recognized at an awards luncheon during the Healthcare Design Expo & Conference in Houston, Nov. 12-15, and will be featured in the August 2016 issue of Healthcare Design.