Cambridge Tower A

The first stepping stone of legacy care

Cambridge Hero

Client
The University of Kansas Health System
Location
Kansas City, Kansas, United States
Size
500,000 square feet
Status
Completed 2017

Being the go-to healthcare provider for a diverse major metropolitan area requires robust resources and state-of-the-art facilities to welcome in patients and staff alike. In response to growing patient volumes, new service lines and increasing market share, The University of Kansas Hospital (TUKH) has embarked on an ambitious master plan that will eventually occupy three city blocks with a new inpatient hospital in the heart of its Kansas City campus.

The first phase of this master plan included an 11-story, 220-bed tower—Cambridge Tower A, which expands the campus footprint and creates a new centerpiece. The tower alleviates strain on existing campus inpatient services and allows that space to instead offer more outpatient services to meet those demands as well.  

Cambridge Vertical Lobby
The tower includes a significant new public entry and lobby facing Cambridge Avenue.
Cambridge Skybridge
A two-level bridge extends an interior concourse for the public on level 2 and connects the existing building’s surgery platform to 11 new ORs and the region’s first interoperative MRI on level 3.

The majority of the tower houses inpatient spaces are dedicated to surgical oncology, neurosurgery and neurology. From numerous explorations of these inpatient floors, the tower’s architectural design took shape as its signature “double-bent bar”—dictated primarily by considerations for staff visualization within the units. The tower’s linear form allows for end-to-end expansion, fulfilling the goal of the master plan of eventually replacing all existing beds on campus. 

Cambridge Tower A
The tower's bend and linear form carries through the interiors, creating dynamic angles throughout.
Cambridge Tower A
The tower's bend and linear form carries through the interiors, creating dynamic angles throughout.
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The size of the patient rooms are significantly larger than existing inpatient settings on campus.

Fostering community and empathy

Three floors of the tower are dedicated to cancer care, specifically for blood cancers. The 100-bed unit was designed with the safety of these vulnerable patients in mind, as well as their families and loved ones. All portions of the unit, whether a patient, staff or public area, were designed with thoughtfulness and empathy, keeping in mind that those who stay and work on this cancer unit are not able to venture beyond it for some time.

A main feature is a walking trail, which loops around the perimeter of the unit and goes by all communal places on the floor. A lighted wall guides patients walking down the hallway, with the lights changing and moving alongside them. The lights can be changed with the seasons or time of day (or to mark a Chiefs gameday) and give a sense of newness for patients who are receiving care for weeks. The curves and linearity of the walking trail wall and light feature mimic those of Cambridge Tower’s, and the materials used for it can be found throughout all floors of the tower.

Cambridge Cancer Exterior V
A wide-open, three-story vertical public space greets all who step off the elevator. Sculptural artwork hangs from the lobby ceiling and is visible from outside the building, giving the unit its own identity within the larger inpatient tower.
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A wide-open, three-story vertical public space greets all who step off the elevator. Sculptural artwork hangs from the lobby ceiling and is visible from outside the building, giving the unit its own identity within the larger inpatient tower.
Cambridge Cancer Walking Path
A walking path features a lighted wall lined with respite spaces for patients recovering from treatment.
Cambridge Tower A
A lighted wall guides patients walking down the hallway, with the lights changing and moving alongside them.
Cambridge Tower A
The meditation room is a soothing space used for group therapy and difficult discussions about palliative care.

Because of the linear nature of the hospital, it’s able to expand to more than four times its current capacity. Land has already been purchased to create a linear path for expansion in anticipation of the future.

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