Bound to enhance its reputation as one of America’s 50 Best Hospitals in 2010 by the independent healthcare ratings organization, HealthGrades, Florida Hospital Memorial Medical Center (FHMCC) is now treating as many as 80 patients a day at its new freestanding cancer institute in Daytona Beach.

Right on the heels of completing a new 12-story, 564,260 square-foot main hospital building, FHMMC turned to the architect of record, HuntonBrady Architects once again to design the new cancer center. Providing comprehensive services all under one roof, the multi-modal facility provides access to a full range of oncologists, specialists and social workers, as well as radiation and chemotherapy treatment. The modern space also houses an American Cancer Society resource center, appearance center, café and chapel.

Architectural highlights of the aluminum clad, one-story structure include a light-filled infusion bay overlooking a pond and wetland landscape, and an iconic cylindrical rooftop element making the center recognizable from the adjacent interstate highway. Barbara Horwitz-Bennett connected with HuntonBrady Architect’s Paul Macheske, AIA, ACHA, LEED AP, Director of Healthcare Design; Chris Dunlop, AIA, Project Manager; Aurelio Posada, AIA, Project Architect/Designer; and Darlinda Copeland, FHMCC’s Chief Operating Officer to catch up on the highlights of this noteworthy new center.


Darlinda Copeland: We had an existing cancer center attached to the old hospital by a connecting medical office building, but providing a freestanding cancer center was the best thing to do for our patients. Cancer patients have a lot of emotional turmoil in their life, so the best thing we can do is create an environment that is very user friendly, that is compassionate and that is multidisciplinary for the user. At our center, diagnostics, radiation, doctors, surgeons and social workers are all on the spot, accessible with one phone call and one place to park. This centralized, streamlined service also cuts down on delays in care, ensuring the fastest time from diagnostics to treatment, and providing all the experts in one place.

Paul Macheske, AIA, ACHA, LEED AP: The building shape really evolved around that concept, which was to provide multidisciplinary services, all accessible from a central, daylight-filled lobby. There were actually studies that had been done showing that it would have been more cost effective to put the new center into an existing medical office building, but the owner didn’t think placing it there would create the right environment for their patients, not to mention prohibiting future physical growth for the cancer program.

Chris Dunlop, AIA: The new facility places an emphasis on the outpatient experience with a focus on wellness. Some of these patients are very sick and are going through a tough experience, so in addition to providing comprehensive patient care, FHMMC wanted to remove this component from the hospital and give it a positive spin in its own environment.

Copeland: The architectural centerpiece of the new center is a non-denominational chapel, which serves as a spiritual space for patients and staff. In fact, we hold daily huddles for our staff to come together and pray, to review the day’s schedule and to make sure everyone is in sync.

Dunlop: When you walk into that chapel it is a very dramatic experience as it’s full of light and very uplifting.

Aurelio Posada, AIA: Architecturally, we used the chapel as a focal point, which turned out to be the signature piece of the building. We wanted to make something iconic and unique, and make the building recognizable from the interstate highway, but not compete with the hospital.

Macheske: So the chapel ascends from the building into a cylindrical rooftop element. This way the cylinder compliments the oval-shaped entry tower in the main hospital building, but is still an interesting architectural element in and of itself.

Posada: And although we didn’t use the same construction type for the center, we used the same color palette, so the look does compliment the main building.

Posada: With a scenic pond right on the site, we wanted to capitalize on that water feature and create an atmosphere of healing for the patients. Consequently, all of the infusion suites have a view of the pond through floor-to-ceiling windows.

Copeland: The pond view has received some great feedback and we’re planning to bring in two white swans, as well as work with the local garden society to enhance the landscaping surrounding the water.

Posada: There’s also lots of natural light in the infusion bays and waiting areas. Overall, it’s a very clean layout and easy to navigate. The interiors – including wood ceilings, warm colors, cove lighting, and local artwork – create a warm, hospitality-like environment.

Macheske: The overall goal was to provide function and comfort, and although this is not a LEED project, we did try to be good stewards of the environment by specifying finishes that have low VOC’s, recycled materials and designing for maximized daylight, which enabled the facility to be energy-efficient with lighting and power usage. On the exterior, high-performance, low-E glass and Kynar-coated aluminum panels serve as additional sustainable elements.

Copeland: As mentioned, artwork plays a large role in the interiors. In the lobby, we have two large commissioned pieces depicting beautiful nature scenes. And throughout the facility are purchased paintings, both spiritually based and nature scenes
. In addition, we have a partnership with Daytona Beach’s Museum of Arts and Sciences where donated artwork from local artists rotates out on a six-month basis. Those pieces allow us to have a community connection and provides a nice change for patients, giving them a little bit of variety. For our upcoming one-year celebration, we plan to feature survival art, which will be photos of survivors who have come through our center.

Macheske: Another distinguishing feature of the lobby is an open setting with intimate seating groups. At the same time, divisions through elements like low walls and plants enable patients to create privacy when needed.

Copeland: We decided to build the infusion center as an open space as many times cancer patients learn from each other and bond together, for example, in the infusion bays. We have actually received a lot of positive feedback regarding that. The open plan also provides ample space for family members, and curtains are available when privacy is needed.

We also offer wireless technology and have begun providing iPads to patients so that they can watch movies or surf the Internet while undergoing infusion treatments.

Copeland: The center houses two state-of-the-art Novalis Tx linear accelerators for performing stereotaxis radial surgery, which is a highly accurate, noninvasive treatment. As one of eight centers in the state of Florida which offer this treatment, patients sometimes come from other counties to use that machine.

With expanded services, such as stereotaxis treatment, we have significantly increased the number of cancer patients we are now serving since we moved into the new center. We also have a surgical oncologist on site, which is rare, and just the other day, we had a patient come all the way from Hawaii to see this doctor.

In terms of the linear accelerators, design wise, the coordination with all the equipment and architectural features was very significant.

Dunlop: These high-tech machines require lots of M/E/P coordination, not to mention working with the physicists to determine how to penetrate the vault to install all these mechanical and electrical systems. It is also very difficult to bring in natural light because you have to surround these linear accelerators with concrete vaults. So we brought in an overhead visual feature reflective of the night sky. In addition, LED lights move across the ceiling.

Copeland: Fortunately, we already had a strong working relationship and great communication with HuntonBrady and Robins & Morton as they were the architect and contractor for the main hospital, as well, so we already had great communication and a strong working relationship. They understand our budget, process, flow, and patient safety.

This was important as we had just spent $270 million on a new hospital and had a limited budget, particularly because we try to be good stewards of the funds were are endowed, plus the fact that it is a difficult time for reimbursement. In addition, we wanted to move into the cancer center as soon as possible.

We broke ground the beginning of January this year and actually completed construction by Oct. 1st. At the end of the day, we were able to build the cancer center in nine months.

Dunlop: Building a high-tech facility with a tight budget of $7 million, which equated to $218 per square foot, was very aggressive for a project of this stature. The real challenge was providing the best patient care with such a complex design.

Macheske: As the project is located in Florida, we also had to incorporate design for hurricane-impact construction, which further challenges a tight budget.

Posada: Ultimately, we designed the space to be able to expand vertically on the office side. In particular, the structure was built to support a second floor and expand the elevator. There is also room to expand horizontally on the site.


Project Summary

Client:Florida Hospital Memorial Medical Center

Architecture and Interior Design:HuntonBrady Architects

Lighting Design: TLC Engineering for Architecture/Hunton Brady/Lighting Partners

Landscape Architecture:HHI Design/KlimaWeeks Civil

MEP Engineering:TLC Engineering for Architecture

Construction:Robins & Morton Group

Photography:Ben Tanner Photography

Total Building Area (sq. ft.):32,000

Cost/Sq. Ft.:$218

Total Project Cost:$7 million