The cancer center is the first phase of development of a 17-acre site master planned by CO Architects to house ambulatory care programs of the Peter and Paula Fasseas Cancer Clinic at University Medical Center UMC. The master plan anticipates 350,000 square feet of development supported by 1,250 parking spaces.
The cancer center provides outpatient exam and infusion treatment services to patients in a convenient, accessible facility. Major programmatic elements are clinical examination space, infusion clinic space, family/friend waiting rooms, conference and counseling space, pharmacy, laboratory, staff workspace, and amenities including a resource library and caf.
The architecture and nature are closely integrated through use of elements such as abundant daylight, trellised terraces, and vistas to beautiful mountain ranges beyond. A sense of beauty and calm is provided by a healing garden that is an integral part of the design. The Cancer Center reuses the foundation and steel frame of a 50-year-old hospital that previously occupied the site. Segments of the deep floor plate were removed, creating three courtyards to bring natural light and garden views to corridors and patient care areas. The full width of the building was extended by two structural bays to the south to form a new public entrance, lobby, and administrative suite. CO Architects divided the building into three clinic modules, each with a courtyard that brings abundant natural light into the interior spaces.
The Cancer Center is the product of evidence-based design, and was blueprinted only after extensive interviews with the clients representatives, including patients, nurses, and physicians. CO Architects designed a naturally lit refuge of hope, invoking the power of the desert landscape to be defined as a place of inspiration and healing. The visual and physical access to the outdoors provides patients and staff at this intimate facility with a connection to the healing power of nature.
Tucsons rugged natural beauty has been incorporated into the patients and staffs daily experience, thanks to integration of the three courtyards into the buildings organization.
All elements of the buildings design are intended to relate to the natural landscape. Arizona sandstone, plaster, and metal panels are used on the exterior. Trellises and covered entries provide shade from the sun. Interior finishes include natural materials or those made from natural products, such as stone flooring and wood paneling. The color palette is neutral earth tones. Interior spaces are washed with soft, indirect light.
Cancer Patients and Architecture
Cancer patients who are undergoing treatment are physically weak, emotionally frail and are insecure about their appearance. The Cancer Center provides an environment and an experience that is supportive as well as healing.
Patients arriving at the clinic are protected from the elements by the large entry canopy, and valet-park. As they enter the building they are greeted by a concierge who guides them to their destination. Throughout the building there are places to sit and view the gardens because the patients easily tire.
In addition to the clinical services of infusion therapy, imaging, and outpatient exams there is an array of patient amenities: a Resource Center to learn about cancer care; private rooms for massage therapy and yoga; a boutique offering soft clothing; a salon to help patients cope with hair loss and other side effects of the treatment; and a gourmet caf with outdoor dining.
Nature and Healing
The Cancer Center exemplifies a medical facility that invites nature into the healing process with landscape design by Ten Eyck Landscape Architecture that melds with the vision and mission of the Center. Here, the science and art of healing converges; medicine and technology are integrated with a healing environment closely linked to nature. The infusion therapy and exam rooms are organized around the courts and are all provided with restorative views. The waiting rooms, public spaces and corridors look out toward the garden and the distant mountains. The sandstone wall at the main entrance is pulled away from the building, creating a shaded area that serves as a porch. It is a transitional element that protects the glass on the south-facing side and sets the tone of the building. The trellises on the east and west sides of the building are important shade elements that give light and shadow to the building and also visually extend the inside toward the outside, integrating the interior and exterior. The bridges that span the arroyo are a symbolic elementas you cross the bridge you are leaving the parking lot and are entering a healing environment full of hope.
At the time UMC purchased the 17-acre site it was an eye sore along a major street in Tucsonan abandoned general hospital, closed and exhibiting accelerating disrepair.
Rather then demolition, the Cancer Center retained an existing two-story building that fronted Tucsons Campbell Avenue. The building was stripped down to its structure, the courtyards were cut into the original floor plate and square footage was added in both the north and south directions.
When the Cancer Center opened last year it transformed the city block along Campbell Avenue into a jewel in the desert. The gardens and the soft pallet of the local sand stone are a sharp contrast to the previous abandoned building and dirt lot.
UMC cancer programs were originally located at the University of Arizonas Health Sciences Campus and had no real identity, being relegated to the basement of a research building. The people in Tucson were largely unaware of its existence and reputation. Now Tucson can identify with and take pride in the programs and architecture of its anti-cancer efforts.
CO Architects is a nationally recognized architecture firm specializing in healthcare, academic, and science and technology architectural planning, programming, and design. The firms healthcare experience ranges from existing facility evaluations to new, comprehensive medical campuses including, hospitals, outpatient facilities, specialty clinics, medical office buildings, and facility expansion and renovation. CO Architects work on academic medical campuses includes new schools of medicine and allied health.