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Monday, May 18, 2009

Harold Alfond Centre for Cancer Care, Maine, United States

New facility allows patients a choice for treatment
This new 55,000 square foot free-standing, outpatient, comprehensive cancer care center was designed to create a flexible patient-focused healing environment for a prominent hospital in Maine. It is one of the first healthcare projects in the United States to be candidate for LEED Silver Certification.

The overarching theme of the design for this project was "connection to nature." The facility is located on a pastoral site with rolling hills, wetlands, and a meandering stream. Responding to the beauty and unspoiled nature of the site, the team created a building that was nestled into the earth, not merely placed on top. From a functional perspective, the team needed to strike a balance between the conflicting priorities inherent in a cancer treatment facility; to provide a supportive, calming atmosphere while still providing the clinical requirements necessary to administer treatment.

Cancer patients need some privacy but often do not want to feel alone in the clinical setting. Design solutions, such as the use of translucent glass in the infusion areas, allowed patients to see that others were present yet still maintain a degree of privacy.

Perhaps the most critical components of the cancer center are the design features that allow patients to exert control over their experience. They can have private treatments with only their family present, or they can receive treatment in a more public area with the support of other patients. Patients can receive treatment indoors or out. They also have the ability to change their preference as their needs change.

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