The UMDNJ New Jersey Medical School-University Hospital Cancer Center was designed to create a dignified, empowering patient environment and to make a statement about clinical care and medical research in the 21st century. The building’s unusual geometries—irregular openings and slanted interior walls—underscore the university’s mission to challenge conventional notions about healthcare and research and dissolve barriers between physicians, cancer researchers, and patients. The building’s façade has been pulled back to allow light to infuse the healing and research spaces, which are organized around an open atrium that connects the floors and augments wayfinding.

In the most advanced cancer center ever built in Newark, patients will be seen by doctors on floors one through four, and scientists will conduct research on causes and cures for cancer on the top three floors. The building’s design enhances medical care and translational research by facilitating clinical trials from bench to bedside all under one roof. A central atrium brings researchers, patients, and caregivers together. A resource center, wellness center, education spaces, and family waiting areas encourage learning, communication, and collaboration.

Project category: New construction (completed September 2006)

Chief administrator: Bruce Vladeck, PhD, Interim President, UMDNJ, (973) 972-4400

Firm: Hillier Architecture, (609) 452-8888

Design team: Steve Gifford, AIA, Principal-in-Charge; Phil Toussaint, AIA, Project Man-ager; Colin Mosher, AIA, Project Designer; Russell Swanson, AIA, Project Architect

Photography: Woodruff-Brown

Total building area (sq. ft.): 215,000

Construction cost/sq. ft.: $335

Total construction cost (excluding land): $72,000,000

The cancer center is also a federally designated Center of Excellence—an initiative designed to bolster research and education of doctors, scientists, and other healthcare professionals in underserved communities.