Cancer treatment approaches are evolving, and so too are the facilities supporting that care. What were once disjointed patient journeys that left many traversing from building to building for lab work, exams, procedures, specialist consultations, pharmacy pick-ups, and lab work again are being replaced with thoughtful solutions that put all of those stops under one roof.

This trend in consolidation is sweeping the cancer care landscape and easing the way for those who are already under stress and experiencing fatigue. Addressing those realities are other notable solutions Healthcare Design found in a review of recent cancer care projects, with design teams striving to deliver comfort in every way possible—particularly through intense focus given to introducing nature and daylight, simplifying wayfinding and reducing steps taken, and giving control back where possible.

The following profiles offer a collection of efforts that captured our attention over the past year, serving as ambitious examples of how to deliver on those goals and more. Read the project descriptions below, visit the photo gallery for an inside look at each project, and click on the project names for more in-depth coverage.


The William P. Clements Jr. University Hospital Harold C. Simmons Comprehensive Care Center Radiation Oncology Building, Dallas
The University of Texas Southwestern Medical Center opened its new $66 million radiation oncology center in early April. The William P. Clements Jr. University Hospital Harold C. Simmons Comprehensive Care Center Radiation Oncology Building is a three-story, 73,000-square-foot facility designed to create a single point of care for radiology therapy by consolidating existing campus locations into one clinical space, with room to grow up to 30,000 square feet.

Perkins+Will (Dallas) provided master planning, architectural design, and interior design for the project. Treatment modalities include seven therapy rooms, designed to minimize patient stress and provide staff with a highly efficient, functional layout. Two clinical exam areas—one for first-time patients and one for returning patients—enhance efficiency and privacy, while versatile waiting areas support family members. The second-level clinical staff space incorporates a layout that celebrates collaboration, transparency, and communication between disease-oriented teams.


Children’s Cancer Hospital Egypt 57357, Cairo
Leaders at Children’s Cancer Hospital Egypt 57357 (CCHE) and the Egypt Cancer Network are working toward the goal of becoming one of the most comprehensive pediatric cancer treatment and teaching hospitals in the world. When all construction work is completed (an academic building scheduled for completion in 2020 and a hospital expansion in 2022), the existing hospital will have more than doubled its capacity to 550 beds and 16 operating rooms. Additionally, CallisonRTKL (Washington, D.C.) has been assisting CCHE to build a new outpatient center, scheduled for completion in 2019, with more than 250 infusion chairs and an advanced radiotherapy center, with plans to add proton therapy, as well.

The center is designed with a flexible planning module, allowing it to easily adapt to growth and changes within various modalities over time. Using a patient/family-centered care model that addresses clinical, emotional, and spiritual needs, the design also incorporates spaces for interactive play throughout the campus. CCHE is partnering with Dana-Farber Cancer Institute and Boston Children’s Hospital to help develop its programs and has recently engaged in a new fellowship program with Harvard Medical School to establish a research institute.


Valley Health Cancer Center, Winchester, Va.
The 52,000-square-foot Valley Health Cancer Center at Winchester Medical Center in Winchester, Va., designed by Perkins+Will (Washington, D.C.), was completed in August 2016 and supports coordinated access to a range of advanced cancer services in one facility. Patients benefit from exposure to natural elements throughout the center—from a plant wall in the building’s two-story entry to a wheelchair-accessible healing garden to infusion bays with garden views.

Additionally, clerestory windows allow natural light into interior exam and consultation spaces, while a light-filled waiting area with a centralized core promotes clear wayfinding to the suites of outpatient services. Upstairs, a glass skywalk connects to a diagnostic center, giving patients easy access to medical imaging, lab services, and genetic counseling. Treatment spaces include two linear accelerators for radiation therapy, surgical oncology physician offices and exam rooms, breast care services, and an integrative care suite with alternative therapies.


Cleveland Clinic Taussig Cancer Center, Cleveland
This seven-story building represents a collaborative, multidisciplinary approach to cancer care, with all of Cleveland Clinic’s cancer services combined under one roof, including surgery, medical oncology, radiation oncology, genetics, nutrition, social work, and imaging. The building, which opened in March, is organized by specific cancer types so that patients can receive most of their treatment in one area.

Led by architects William Rawn Associates Inc. (Boston) and Stantec Architecture (Cleveland), the design embraces natural light, with most patient areas having abundant views to the outdoors, reception areas filled with daylight, and infusion rooms featuring floor-to-ceiling windows. Even a lower-level radiation and imaging services area benefits from a 35-by-8-foot skylight. The first floor houses support services, including art and music therapy, a wig boutique and private prosthetics fitting area, a spiritual area, a wellness center, a mentoring program, and a resource center.

Additionally, the first level features a large blood laboratory and an outpatient pharmacy, minimizing wait time for the stops each patient makes at the beginning and end of each visit. The center includes 126 exam rooms, with 98 treatment rooms nearby. Private chemotherapy infusion suites line the north side of the building overlooking a tree-lined lawn, and the radiation treatment area includes six linear accelerators and a Gamma Knife suite.


West Cancer Center, Memphis, Tenn.
The West Cancer Center is the product of a 2012 partnership between the West Clinic, Methodist Healthcare, and the University of Tennessee’s Health Science Center—together bringing specialists in cancer care and research under one roof. This multidisciplinary approach also provides researchers and clinicians the opportunity to develop new drug therapies and protocols using a multilateral strategy.

The 123,000-square-foot East Campus location in Memphis, Tenn., opened for patients in December 2015. Brg3s Architects (Memphis) served as architect, as well as the interior designer alongside Methodist Healthcare, on the largely remodel project. Patient services are organized by levels, with diagnostic services and radiation oncology on the ground floor, clinics on the second level, and an infusion suite with 65 stations on the third level with access to a roof garden.


Fort Worth Adolescent and Young Adult Oncology Coalition Unit, Fort Worth, Texas
The Fort Worth Adolescent and Young Adult (AYA) Oncology Coalition Unit at Baylor Scott & White All Saints Medical Center–Fort Worth opened in June to care for patients ages 18 to 29—the first AYA oncology inpatient unit within an adult healthcare facility in the U.S. HKS Inc. (Dallas/Fort Worth) and Edwards + Mulhausen (Austin, Texas) worked with the Fort Worth Adolescent and Young Adult Oncology Coalition to design the space, inspiring an open, modern design defined by an array of colors, textures, and depths that also strives to be warm and welcoming.

There are spaces in the unit where patients can go to be contemplative and quiet, to socialize or gather with family members and friends, or to watch TV and play video or board games. Other features include deep, built-in seating throughout and an “encouragement wall,” where patients can write meaningful messages of support.


Cincinnati Children’s/UC Health Proton Therapy Center, Liberty Township, Ohio
Part of a major expansion of existing cancer treatment programs, the Cincinnati Children’s/UC Health Proton Therapy Center has an adaptable floor plan to accommodate changing technology and care protocols and broadens the range of cancer treatment services available. Designed by Tsoi/Kobus & Associates (Boston), the center opened in October 2016 and features two treatment gantries—one for children and one for adults—with the potential to add a third.

The 89,000-square-foot building is physically linked to the existing medical complex at Cincinnati Children’s Liberty Campus. A sloping site provides a two-story entry façade, with the proton therapy areas located below grade for more efficient radiation shielding. Separate entrances provide a branded identity for both Cincinnati Children’s and UC Health, the adult patient partner in the center’s development. The facility features two separate waiting areas, as well, which flow to separate adult and pediatric nurses’ stations and then to separate patient prep spaces. The two areas meet at a shared treatment corridor, where both adult and pediatric patients access treatment bays.

Creating these targeted welcome spaces that flow into this central treatment area offers the opportunity to easily adapt the spaces to support future user groups, while the multiple treatment bays and a dedicated research bay provide additional future flexibility. Similarly, mechanical equipment was placed behind treatment areas and other public spaces to allow for easy technical adjustments in treatment bays without disrupting procedures in adjacent spaces.


Jordan Valley Cancer Center, Salt Lake City
Jordan Valley Cancer Center (JVCC), part of the Iasis Healthcare network, is a full-service cancer center providing medical, surgical, and radiation oncology services in diverse specialties, including hematologic, gynecological, urological, head and neck, gastrointestinal, and breast care. Designed by TSA Architects (Salt Lake City), the two-story, 25,000-square-foot facility opened for service in September 2016. To support a holistic center that aims to “treat, prevent, and thrive,” JVCC promotes ease of access as one specialty clinic flows to the next.

Flexible procedure rooms were designed to function for both inpatient and outpatient exams and procedures. Patients also have the choice to receive treatment in several flexible infusion zones, allowing them the option to socialize, be alone, or even sit fireside while controlling their individual lighting and entertainment. Great care was taken to keep medical equipment out of sight, ensuring that the patient is exposed to equipment only when necessary.

A hospitality aesthetic was adopted to ease patients’ fears and was accomplished by utilizing materials and design features that evoke the healing elements of nature: earth, fire, wind, water, and wood. With an eye on anticipating future needs, the design also allows for overhead expansion of the radiation vault as well as an optional adjacent vault, should the need arise.


New Hanover Regional Medical Center Zimmer Cancer Center, Wilmington, N.C.
Opened in August, the renovation and addition for the New Hanover Regional Medical Center (NHRMC) Zimmer Cancer Center in Wilmington, N.C., consolidates a hospital-based oncology program with a local physician-based practice. The goal of the project, designed by architecture firm LS3P (Raleigh, N.C.), was to create a welcoming, comforting, and supportive patient experience on the main NHRMC campus.

Transparency and lightness are overarching design goals achieved via an expansive entry lobby with a double-height atrium; floor-to-ceiling curtainwall glazing that brings natural light deep into the space; and warm wood, teal accents, and contemporary lighting. A patient advisory group contributed much to the design and function of program spaces. For example, to honor and signify the path toward healing, a Journey Wall based on an abstract DNA chain is used to guide patients from the entrance to the Inspiration Center, which serves as an anchor for the cancer center and its programs while offering a multipurpose space for educational sessions, healthy cooking demonstrations, and yoga and tai chi classes. The Inspiration Center also features an interactive art piece that allows patients to express their feelings and share stories.


Memorial Sloan Kettering Monmouth, Middletown, N.J.
Memorial Sloan Kettering (MSK) Monmouth is a 120,000-square-foot renovated facility designed by Perkins+Will (New York) and completed in November 2016. The freestanding outpatient treatment site offers central and southern New Jersey residents a new option for care closer to home. Previously a vacant 1980s suburban office building, the new space was transformed into a modern cancer care center.

The design concept is based on a “walk through the woods.” To deliver on that theme and create a natural, light-filled space, a large courtyard was cut into the existing building and a series of glass-enclosed pedestrian bridges that cross the courtyard were created. One of the bridges serves as the center’s main entrance and follows the east-to-west arc of the sun to maximize daylight exposure. A seamless glass wall and pedestrian corridor were placed at the building perimeter, overlooking a wooded ravine.

Based on research conducted by the design team as well as MSK’s input, an emphasis was placed on creating warmer, softer, and “more humane” treatment spaces, as well, with close attention specifically paid to changing rooms, exam rooms, consultation rooms, and infusion therapy suites.