Form follows experience: A cancer center designed from the inside out
Understanding that a typical cancer patient will visit their cancer center more than 100 times during the course of treatment, we spent a significant amount of time understanding the needs and emotions that come with battling cancer. Key to doing so was engaging and empowering a Patient Advisory Group consisting of cancer survivors, current patients and family members to provide input on aspects of the care experience most important to them. In addition, we created a Whole Person Health Design Team consisting of staff members who work with patients in multiple settings. This team worked tirelessly with our designers and the Patient Advisory Group to collectively elevate the cancer patient experience.
To reduce the monotony that comes with regularly visiting a cancer center, we integrated moments of discovery and spaces for reflection into the design to make each visit feel slightly different. For example, an expansive wall connecting the two sides of the building changes color as people pass; dynamic materials and finishes provide visual diversity and appear differently depending on the time of day and angle at which they’re viewed; and a healing garden, pond, landscaped terraces and pedestrian walkways provide opportunities for patients and staff to decompress and connect with nature. Further connecting to nature is the use of locally-sourced Lannon stone, which wraps the exterior of the building and marks major public spaces inside.
From a planning perspective, we designed the infusion area to prioritize patient control and comfort by providing varying levels of privacy–fully private rooms, semi-enclosed bays, or small clusters. Patients have individual control over daylight and electronic media, in addition to scenic views and operable windows that provide fresh air as needed. “Multi-Disciplinary Day suites” with adjoined exam and consultation spaces support consecutive appointments with specialists, allowing patients to comfortably stay in one place for a significant portion of their visit.