Connecting Cancer Care Centers with Nature

September 13, 2011
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Figure 1. Floor plan, infusion suite and pharmacy, Thomas Jefferson University Hospitals Ambulatory Care Center. © Payette. Figure 2. Section view at Thomas Jefferson University Hospitals Ambulatory Care Center. © Payette Figure 3. Cancer care infusion suite, University of Massachusetts Ambulatory Care Center. © Payette, Image by Rachellyn Schoen. Figure 4. University of Massachusetts Ambulatory Care Center. © Payette, Image by Rachellyn Schoen. Figure 5. Penn State Hershey Cancer Institute. © Warren Jagger Photography. Figure 6. Penn State Hershey Cancer Institute. © Warren Jagger Photography. Fiture 7. Penn State Hershey Cancer Institute. © Warren Jagger Photography.
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In the end, at each of these facilities, the most important element is the thoughtful design that went into crafting the experience of place, in the formal sense, for an individual or for a group of people together. Whether birds in trees, the beauty of flowers in a garden, or dappled sunlit views, distractions from treatment and connections to nature afford people in these facilities a greater measure of sustainability: as healthy buildings and as healthy people.

Yes, they all contain sophisticated behind-the-scenes systems that reduce how much they cost to operate and how many resources they consume, but for the average patient, nurse, or doctor on the average day, these things mean little. As these new facilities age, or are completed, the true tests of their sustainability and the green aspects of their designs may be how little noticed they are by the people who use them.

Like the prized institutions of previous ages, well-designed buildings with integral connections to nature will effortlessly become good places to be, despite the challenging reasons people have for visiting them. HCD

 

Michael Hinchcliffe, AIA, LEED AP BD+C, is an Associate Principal with Payette. He can be reached at mhinchcliffe@payette.com.

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Hershey Ctr. Garden

All I could think was: broiling hot sun. Thank God Therapeutic Landscapes has asked this week how important shade is to us. Even cancer patients and their relatives have skin and eyesight concerns.
Margaret Fleming

design and the patient

I recently saw a current-thinking designed patient room in a new hospital. The "cheery" colors seemed glaring to me and were all over the place in tiny areas. I had to be relieved that I will probably not be there for any medical care. Entering that roo or waking up there would drive me crazy. A hodge-podge of strong colors with no unity is not cheerful for many of us who just need a little peace with beauty.

A few basic rules from the New York School would have helped.

Margaret Fleming

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