Quality patient care combined with the most advanced cancer treatments led to enormous growth in the William Beaumont Hospital—Troy's Radiation Oncology Department over the past decade. This growth required doubling the size of the department. The original goal of the project was to add a second linear accelerator to the department, but the project soon became more than adding high-tech equipment; the hospital wanted to erase the stigma of sterile, uninviting cancer treatment spaces. The planning team incorporated scale, color, texture, lighting, nature, and graphics into a design that dramatically improves the patient, family, and staff experience of the department. The original stark, windowless environment became serene; the team created a space that is high-tech, yet warm enough to calm anxious patients and their families.

The overall design theme strengthens the patient's connection to nature in a relaxed, homelike setting. Cast glass textured with a leaf pattern greets patients entering the department, and a saltwater aquarium framed by live plants engages them at the reception desk. Upholstered furniture and additional plants throughout the waiting area evoke a living room feel.

The relaxing aspects of nature are carried into the vaults. The new vault, designed to fit within an existing 30' x 40' courtyard, features a backlit panel reminiscent of a picture window. Patients entering the vault are met with views of lush gardens in the countryside. Panels above the linear accelerator offer views of a tulip garden.

Project category: New construction (completed September 2000)

Chief administrator: Richard Matter, MD, Medical Director, Radiation Oncology, (248) 293-1021

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

Design team: Tony Doemer, Architect; John Szekeres, Mechanical Engineer; Richard Kurzawa, Electrical Engineer; Jim Moravek, Structural Engineer (SSOE, Inc.); Robert Farrell, President (Atomic International [Ledite])

Photography: ©2002 Cris Burkhalter

Total building area (GSF): 9,165

Construction cost/sq. ft.: $240

Total cost (excluding land): $2,200,000