This new 20-room Intensive Care Unit (ICU) at Memorial Sloan-Kettering Cancer replaces an outdated 12-bed unit with limited patient privacy. The new unit, designed specifically for critically ill cancer patients, features state-of-the-art equipment, wired and wireless communication technologies, and finishes.

The 250-sq.-ft. rooms around the perimeter of the building include alcoves at the entry that feature individual staff work areas and pass-through supply cabinets. These card-access server cabinets open on both sides from the corridor and the room to allow staff to stock the rooms without disturbing the patient or having to put on a gown to enter the room.

The sliding doors leading into each room and the windows between each room are glazed with LCD privacy glass (so-called e-glass) that permits changeover from full visualization to complete patient privacy with the flick of a switch. The use of e-glass permitted the elimination of fabric cubicle curtains, thus improving infection control and facilitating cleaning of rooms between patients.

Traditional headwalls were eliminated and replaced with movable gas, power, and equipment “booms” that allow flexibility in room layout, acuity level, and treatment options. Each room is equipped with a Web cam that provides visualization for attending physicians and staff whether they are in or outside of the unit. Staff stations are positioned around the floor to give direct lines of sight to each patient room.

Project category: Remodel/Renovation (completed April 2007)

Chief administrator: Harold E. Varmus, MD, President, Chief Executive, (212) 639-2000

Firm: daSILVA Architects pc, (212) 889-1840

Design team: Paul Whitson, AIA, Principal-in-Charge, Architecture (daSILVA Architects, PC); Emelynn Hasky, Client Representative; Suzanne Dean, Project Manager, Interior Design (Granary Associates); George Mejias, Director of Facilities Design & Construction; Neil A. Halpern, MD, Chief of Critical Care Medicine; Paul Scalisi, Project Manager, Client (Memorial Sloan- Kettering Cancer Center)

Photography: ©2007 John Bartelstone Photography

Total building area (sq. ft.): 27,560

Construction cost/sq. ft.: Not Released

Total construction cost (excluding land): Not Released

Within the core of the ICU, the clinician stations provide multiple computer areas for medical staff to work within close proximity to the patients. The core is designed to be permeable to staff traffic, with multiple cross-corridors and clean and soiled rooms that connect the east and west corridors of the unit. Pneumatic tube stations at the north and south ends provide connection to stat laboratory facilities and blood bank. Medications are dispensed from a satellite pharmacy and from multiple Pyxis units positioned to be easily accessed from either side of the racetrack plan.

The ICU also includes two dedicated dialysis treatment rooms, a staff lounge, and a resident house-staff on-call suite. As clinical facilities took the bulk of the space in the existing hospital tower floor plate, a family waiting area and offices for the critical-care medicine staff and respiratory therapy are located in an adjacent building connected to this floor.