AWARD OF MERIT – 2020 Healthcare Design Showcase

The David H. Koch Center for Cancer Care at Memorial Sloan Kettering Cancer Center (MSK) is the institution’s—and New York City’s—largest freestanding cancer care center. Through innovative planning and design and seamlessly integrated technology, the 750,000-square-foot healing community integrates MSK’s pioneering treatment advances and patient care.

The David H. Koch Center for Cancer Care at Memorial Sloan Kettering Cancer Center was planned to accommodate under one roof nearly every aspect of cancer care across numerous specialties, including hematologic oncology, interventional radiology, dermatology, and endocrine, head and neck, pulmonary, and thoracic cancers, as well as phase I clinical trials. Staffed by approximately 1,300 people on 25 floors, with 231 exam rooms, 110 private infusion rooms, and 37 procedure rooms, the building also includes 16 inpatient beds for patients who may require a short stay. This enables patients to receive many of the services they need in a single visit.

Located in Manhattan’s dense Upper East Side, the building’s distinctive design identity supports and enhances its urban context. The building mass is broken into three vertically stacked masses—the base contains the entrance, linear accelerators and diagnostic facilities, the mid-section the clinical facilities, and the top the academic offices. The differentiation of these masses breaks down the form required to achieve the largest possible floor plates. This strategy created an interior environment with abundant daylight and expansive city and East River views, as well as accessible terraces. The building’s skin is composed of terra-cotta tiles with vertical fins that vary in depth depending on exposure to shield it from incident solar radiation. The building’s systems include power cogeneration and the resiliency to withstand a 500-year flood. It has achieved LEED Gold certification.

Through a curated hospitality-like environment, meaningful patient- and staff-centered programming, and seamlessly integrated technology, including Real-Time Location System (RTLS) devices, the building provides options for where and how patients and staff spend their time. With patients having more mobility, waiting areas were designed around the concept of neighborhoods that meet a variety of needs and interests and specifically envisioned to transform the high anxiety experience of “waiting” into a more positive one. This was achieved through three new typologies that return control, choice, and freedom to patients: “Restoration” provides patients with quiet, private areas; “Recreation” balances intimate and group spaces with areas for social activities; and “Activation” encourages connection and participation through active and vibrant programming. By incorporating all of these features, the building creates a new design paradigm for 21st-century cancer care.

Project category: New construction

Chief administrators: Paul Hamlin, MD, medical director; Elizabeth Rodriguez, DNP, nursing director; Jennifer Tota, senior director, ambulatory care

Firms: Perkins Eastman Architects,; Ennead Architects,; ICRAVE,

Design team: MSK Design (in-house design team); Perkins Eastman Architects (architect, interior designer for clinical and administrative spaces, medical planner); Ennead Architects (associate architect); ICRAVE (experiential and interior designer for public spaces); JB&B (MEP engineer); Thornton Tomasetti (structural engineering); Turner Construction Co. (construction manager)

Total building area (sq. ft.): 750,000

Completed: January 2020