Memorial Sloan Kettering Cancer Center
West Harrison, N.Y.
TYPE OF FACILITY
Hunter Roberts Construction Group
102,000 square feet
COST PER SQUARE FOOT
What particularly struck Design Awards judge Rulon Stacey about the new Memorial Sloan Kettering Cancer Center in West Harrison, N.Y., was the prominent staircase in the middle of the lobby.
“We keep telling people to take the stairs,” said Stacey, a former hospital system CEO who now teaches at the University of Minnesota’s graduate program in health administration. “So the architects have taken them out of the dark part of the building and made them an integral part of the facility.”
The $75.3 million, 102,000-square-foot MSK outpatient facility, which opened last October, is the gold-prize winner in Modern Healthcare’s 30th annual Design Awards. It features sunlit rooms, a flexible design, valet parking and a full array of cancer treatment services. Those services include chemotherapy, radiation therapy, genetic counseling, nutrition and social support, and breast, gastric, gynecologic, thoracic, urologic and plastic and reconstructive surgery.
Patients using the chemotherapy infusion chairs have outdoor views, a direct line of sight to the nurses’ stations, and technology that lets them order food, call a nurse, select a movie or educational video, and control their lighting.
Mary Frazier, a principal with Philadelphia-based EwingCole, which designed the facility, said the central staircase connects the facility’s lower-floor lobby to second-floor services such as medical oncology, infusion rooms and the retail pharmacy. Frazier said it has become her firm’s practice to place stairs near elevators because it lets patients make a statement about their health progress.
“The original concept is for patients to affirm their wellness,” Frazier said. “They say, ‘I’m feeling good, I can take the stairs.’ But we find staff likes to use them, too.”
The project is a renovation of a 1950s-era office building located along a stretch of office parks in Westchester County. “It doesn’t look like a renovation,” said Design Award judge Agnessa Todorova, a healthcare architect and director of integration for Brisbane, Calif.-based Aditazz. “It looks timeless. It could have been built 50 years ago or just today.”
Removable partitions in the infusion area give the facility flexibility to add new technology or make other changes called for by clinical innovations. Todorova said the MSK West Harrison center showed that it was possible to customize a value-based design to come up with a fresh and attractive building. “It’s a very nice and elegant solution despite the constraints,” she said. “Its simple lobby and public spaces don’t scream ‘hospital’ to me.”
The project was awarded gold certification under the U.S. Green
Building Council’s Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design program because of its energyefficient design, use of recycled and low chemical-emission materials, water efficiency and access to public transportation.
Every effort was made to place medical equipment out of sight behind cabinets. Design elements were borrowed from hotel, residential and spa settings so patients would feel comfortable.
Henry Chao, a principal with HOK architects in New York who served as a judge, said he liked how the building fit with its surroundings and community. “It’s so New York and East Coast,” he said.
Frazier said there was a conscious effort to achieve that indigenous look. She said the project team visited a local shopping center to study the construction materials used and what kind of stores local residents liked to frequent.
The facility features photographic art supplied by the staff. Frazier said the art is changed quarterly, so patients don’t have to look at the same things over and over. “Patients repeatedly go back,” she said. “This gives patients a feeling of progress.”