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Award-winning oncology centre takes inspiration from spa design

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An oncology centre has taken its design inspiration from the spa world, using soothing interior colours, nature and light to alleviate the stress and discomfort that comes with cancer treatment.

Kaiser Permanente’s Kraemer Radiation Oncology Center in California has recently received an Award of Merit from Healthcare Design in its annual Healthcare Design Showcase for its work.

Judges commended the building for its “beautiful planning and simplicity of design,” as well as its innovative use of nature and light.

“Traditionally, radiation treatment centers are placed below ground to accommodate heavy equipment and to shield radiation,” said the architects, Yazdani Studio of CannonDesign, in a statement. “These spaces serve a very functional purpose, and are typically barren of natural light and amenities that support the psychological and emotional needs of cancer patients. Kaiser Permanente did not want to build that type of facility. Instead, the health system sought to create a state-of-the-art medical center that brought its oncology radiation services above ground and into the light.”

The architects created three linear accelerator treatment rooms enclosed within three-foot-thick concrete walls, but clad the concrete in cherry wood to impart a sense of warmth to the waiting area on the other side. They also designed a glass wall that stretches across the footwall of each room, opening onto a Zen garden and vertical garden.

"I started thinking completely independent of functionality—what should this building be?" Yazdani told Fast Company Design. "I began to draw and almost paint on my computer this notion of a beacon of hope, something that was light, somewhat ethereal, and something that was distinguished but at the same time gave the patient and their family a level of comfort."

In addition to the Healthcare Design award, the building has also been recognised as the “Best Health Project in Southern California” by Engineering News Record, and was an Honorable Mention in Architects Newspaper’s Building of the Year awards.

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An oncology centre has taken its design inspiration from the spa world, using soothing interior colours, nature and light to alleviate the stress and discomfort that comes with cancer treatment.
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