The one-story Mercy/UC Davis Cancer Center is the first building of a larger planned replacement medical center to be constructed on the site. Architecture, landscape and interior design are closely integrated. Daylight, access to views and a strong relationship between the indoors and outdoors in the public and patient areas are central to the design concept of balancing the need for advanced technologies with the creation of a healing environment closely integrated with nature


A trellised open-air entry court, a dedicated view garden for the infusion area and a natural palette for finishes and furnishings reinforce these themes of connecting with the daily and seasonal cycles of changing light and colors in the landscape, offering a therapeutic respite from the treatments and procedures occurring within the cancer center.

Programmatically, the facility consists of three major components, each with specific construction and spatial characteristics: the Radiation Oncology zone, which includes a linear accelerator room (enclosed by massive concrete walls to provide protective shielding), a simulator room, technicians' space and patient waiting; a Medical Oncology infusion area, defined as a large, open space with outdoor views to provide relief from the long treatment procedures; and Outpatient Clinics, characterized by modular, highly repetitive office and exam rooms. These three areas are flexibly planned to allow for future independent expansion without disruption to other departments.

PROJECT CATEGORY New Construction (completed May 2000)

CHIEF ADMINISTRATOR John Headding, Chief Administrative Officer, (209) 384-6410

FIRM Anshen+Allen, Architects, (415) 882-9500

DESIGN TEAM Structural Engineering, ESE Consulting Engineers, Inc.; Mechanical Engineering, Mechanical Design Studio; Electrical Engineering, HCS Engineers, Inc.; Landscape Architect, Christopher Ford Landscape Architect

PHOTOGRAPHY © Mark Luthringer





The building form is a clear expression of its functions. Those functions, lending themselves to similar spatial and construction characteristics, are grouped into two principal zones: a block of wood-frame construction—housing smaller, modular clinics, radiation therapy planning and staff/support areas—and the larger volumes of the linear accelerator, infusion room and public lobby/waiting areas with higher ceilings, clerestories and concrete shear walls. A circulation spine connecting the two volumes is articulated by a wave-shaped ceiling extending from the entrance canopy through the center of the building to the lobby and reception area, providing an architecturally integrated visual cue that assists in wayfinding and in defining the clearly separated patient, visitor, staff and inpatient circulation routes


Public areas offer the choice of privacy or social interaction. A Resource Center overlooking the entry court provides a place for education, reading and personal research. An art program, including commissioned sculpture and paintings integrated with the architecture and interior design, further aids in fostering a holistic approach to cancer treatment.

A designated area for staff provides opportunities for routine interaction among the medical oncologists, residents and technicians. A unique characteristic of the facility is the provision of telemedicine and videoconferencing capabilities, bringing the academic expertise of the Mercy/UC Davis Cancer Center to the community of Merced