Project category: New construction (completed June 2004)

Chief administrator: John Mendelsohn, President and CEO, (713) 563-4503

Firms: FKP Architects, (713) 621-2100; O’Neill Hill and Associates, LLC (713) 524-5555

Design team: Richard M. Harris, AIA, Project Manager (FKP Architects); James O’Neill, AIA, Lead Interior Designer (O’Neill Hill and Associates); Jim Diaz, FAIA, Design Architect (Kaplan McLaughlin Diaz); Lisa Charrin, AIA, Senior Equipment Planner (Equipment Collaborative); Jack Neale, Mechanical Engineer (Affiliated Engineers, Inc.); Muhammad A. Cheema, PE, Structural Engineer (Walter P. Moore and Associates)

Photography: © Craig Dugan, Hedrich Blessing; © Paul Hester, Hester + Hardaway Photographers

Total building area (sq. ft.): 782,000

Construction cost/sq. ft.: $375

Total construction cost (excluding land): $293,181,443

The new Lowry and Peggy Mays Ambulatory Clinical Building (ACB), in conjunction with the new Cancer Prevention Building, was designed to balance one functional complex within the world-renowned University of Texas MD Anderson Cancer Center. The ACB represents a new vision for MD Anderson, setting the character for the Legacy Campus, a 22-acre site. Together, the buildings advance clinic/diagnostic capacity as they embrace patient-centered design concepts. Individually, each building provides a critical service in delivering world-class cancer care. Since patients and their families respond to the environment depending on their current emotional and spiritual requirements, ACB recognized the patient experience as critical. Public spaces include areas of privacy and solitude and, at key points, allow for human interaction.

ACB’s openness and relationship to its environment bring nature inside while engaging the healing impact of nature on the exterior. A two-story window connects the great hall to the plaza spaces outside, and a two-story granite fountain brings the sounds of nature into the space. A variety of seating is spread out throughout the second floor and clinic waiting areas to allow patients to stroll or rest. The patient-centered design is evident in the use of wayfinding, patient care, and design elements, such as color and materials. These were chosen to create a warm, inviting setting for patients, family members, and staff. Brighter jewel tones designate the welcome desks that serve as check-in stations for each of the clinics. Warm woods and accent lighting create a homelike atmosphere. Accessibility is enhanced through a sky-bridge linking to surrounding facilities. This 1,460-foot-long, 25-foot-wide sky-bridge accommodates both pedestrian and cart traffic.

The structure includes world-class imaging and radiation therapy facilities in close proximity to outpatient clinics. Imaging modalities include PET/CT, high-strength MRI, CT, nuclear scans, mammography, ultrasound, and digital radiology. Radiation therapy modalities include linear acceleration/CT, CT simulation, and brachytherapy.

The building design accommodates intensive clinical trials. MD Anderson is known for its short, bench-to-bedside approach to discovering and deploying new clinical techniques. Research clinicians engaged in the planning process, to make sure that the setting would support recruitment and nurturing of clinical candidates. Clinicians and others were engaged in the design process to advance the patient-centered design approach. The result is a building that supports patient treatment in an environment that is medically appropriate and spiritually uplifting.