ZGF Architects LLP in Portland, Ore., faced a major challenge in 2008 when it began a master plan for St. Charles Bend Cancer Center, in Bend, Ore.: The hospital’s existing radiation oncology services were attached to the main hospital, while medical infusion services were provided off campus, about a mile away.

“It was not a good deal for patients,” says Karl Sonnenberg, partner at ZGF and the architect of record on the project.

The master plan yielded a project to consolidate both services into a new facility, but it was soon waylaid by the recession. A few years later, leadership gave ZGF the green light once again—but this time requested some money-saving changes to the design.

The consolidated building was put aside in place of a 16,000-square-foot addition for chemotherapy/infusion that would attach to the existing 8,000-square-foot radiation department. Existing staff, waiting, and prep areas were also renovated to create a seamless experience for patients and families and to expand services by adding a small spa area for complementary therapies, such as massage.

With a plan in place, the project team turned its attention to the site, which, according to Sonnenberg, had a lot going for it—including long-range views of the Cascade Mountains and Pilot Butte, an extinct volcanic in the city, plus an existing irrigation pond and landscaping, which provided a buffer between the building and an adjacent parking lot.

Architectural features within the two-story addition were designed to take advantage of those views, including a large open-plan infusion room on the second floor, fronted by floor-to-ceiling windows. In addition, an outdoor deck off the second-floor infusion room cantilevers over a healing garden, which is available to patients for treatments when the weather permits.

Healthcare Design Showcase jurors especially appreciated these efforts to connect to the site as well as the project’s use of regional materials, giving the team an Award of Merit.

Sonnenberg says the different views, environments, levels of socialization, and light and sound controls also available in the infusion area are an example of the owner’s commitment to putting the patients’ needs first.

“What’s convenient for the staff is if all the patients are turned facing the nurses’ station, away from the view, so the staff can watch them,” he says. “We agreed [the patients] should face toward the view, with the nurse work areas somewhat decentralized.”

The project team also employed an abbreviated Lean process to develop the onstage and offstage areas in the facility. For example, an open staff work area is surrounded by exam rooms that are accessed from a separate patient hallway.

“The advantage is that the staff are right there outside the room, they can enter and exit quickly, and they can spend more time with patients as opposed to walking back and forth,” Sonnenberg says.

Anne DiNardo is senior editor of Healthcare Design. She can be reached at anne.dinardo@emeraldexpo.com.

For more on the 2015 Healthcare Design Showcase, check out:

Healthcare Design Industry Reaches A Middle Ground

Bright Ideas At Nemours Alfred I. DuPont Hospital for Children

Sum Of Its Parts: King Abdulaziz Medical City Behavioral Health Facility