With the goal of delivering cancer care closer to the local community, UMass Memorial Health Care embarked on creating a new Cancer Center addition to Marlborough Hospital in central Massachusetts. UMass worked closely with architects from The S/L/A/M Collaborative, to create a building that would focus on the human experience of cancer care, providing a nurturing and healing environment, close to home, eliminating the need to travel far for care. Existing treatment services at the hospital were limited to medical oncology; the new cancer center now includes radiation oncology, diagnostic imaging, the opportunity for clinical trials as well as an exam suite for comprehensive treatment.
One of the key design decisions was the siting of the new cancer “pavilion”. UMass Memorial desired to connect the new pavilion to the hospital but provide a unique and separate entrance allowing patients private access on a direct and unencumbered level. Approaches to the building and to the entry sequence were created to give a sense of hope for patients. As the concept developed, both the client and architect began to identify the “The Beacon of Hope” as the defining feature. In conjunction with the client, the design team created a glass and wood entrance which is filled with natural light by day and renders a warm glow in the evening or in inclement weather. The interior space is crafted with exposed wooden beams and the experience is enhanced by views to entry gardens, wood wall panels and millwork. The associated treatment suites flank the “Beacon” providing clear access and orientation.
One of the challenges of the project included educating local sub-contractors on the means and methods of IPD, Integrated Project Delivery which was the collaborative team process used to deliver the project. The project was one of the first in the region to utilize the IPD method, which allowed for design and cost decisions to be made with the entire team present, keeping the project schedule and budget on track.
The team collectively worked to understand how patients, families and staff would react to the new space, by including them in the design process. The outcome is an addition that embraces the needs of the community it serves.