Project category: New construction (completed February 2002)

Chief administrator: Paul Adams, MD, Medical Director, (810) 762-8490

Firm: SSOE, Inc., (248) 643-6222

Design team: Eric Murrell, Architect; Jim Moravek, Structural Engineer; Alex Dragoiu, Mechanical Engineer; Stan Braska, Electrical Engineer

Photography: Cris Burkhalter

Total building area (GSF): 30,000

Construction cost/sq. ft.: $180

Total cost (excluding land): $8,644,000

The Genesys Hurley Cancer Institute (GHCI) was created out of a vision of excellence in oncology care shared by two hospitals in a joint venture: the Genesys Regional Medical Center and Hurley Medical Center. The mission of the venture is “care, quality, research and life.”

The staff of GHCI's radiation oncology center and three private practices met extensively with the design staff to dissect and analyze every aspect of work life and patient care. Patterns of patient services and flow were superimposed over the staff's work flow so that all aspects of care were understood and efficiencies gained. Diagrams of those dynamic connections provided the underpinnings of the interior location of functions.

The new program had to fit the existing footprint and structural grids. GHCI staff had ongoing and intense meetings to provide feedback to the architect and ensure that the building expansion did not compromise functional requirements. The resulting design clearly enhanced the Institute's vision to create the most patient-centered space for seriously compromised patients, along with the most desirable and efficient work spaces for physicians and staff.

Every design element, from layout to furniture selection, was carefully considered from the patient and family perspective. The interior finishes and public spaces were designed to welcome patients and allow them easy access to any service, including laboratory services, clinical trials, counseling, nutrition, support groups, and meetings.

Believing that lighting has a great impact on an environment's ability to help healing, GHCI wanted the interior to appear open. Dramatic banks of full-story windows, curved glass, and vaulted skylights offer patients and staff abundant natural light. Obscured glass dividers and high ceilings throughout the facility promote an open floor plan, while curved nursing stations and a blend of wood and metal finishes convey the feeling of progressive care in a warm environment.

Restrictive program requirements in the ground level made the challenge of creating a warm, comforting environment in the radiation oncology suite particularly difficult. A complete makeover of the suite was required, along with the addition of a new vault and HDR suite. The department was transformed from a dark, linear basement space into a naturally lit, open space with flowing curves.

The team worked closely to develop a patient- and process-friendly atmosphere, where design reflects a new philosophy of care.