Type of facility: Cancer center
Client: University of California at San Diego
Project architect: Zimmer Gunsul Frasca Partnership, Los Angeles
Construction manager: McCarthy Building Cos., Irvine, Calif.
Completed: May 2005
Size: 270,000 square feet
Cost: $72.4 million
Cost per square foot: $268
It's an unusual project-the combination of research with a clinic. They did a great job of combining the two, but not making patients feel like they're going to a research campus," says competition judge Jim Brinkley. No small feat, considering the Rebecca and John Moores UCSD Cancer Center has approximately 150 open clinical trials going on at any given time.
The building comprises two structures-a three-story clinical facility and a five-floor research wing-linked by a three-story lobby and views of an outdoor bamboo garden. The building hosts private infusion rooms, research laboratories and administrative programs, as well as distinctive spaces such as a "healing foods" kitchen, where classes are taught on preparing foods that help fight disease. The building also houses Cancer Commons, the building's "living room," which contains a fireplace and serves as a comfortable meeting place for staff, clinicians and researchers.
Judges note the uniformity of design, from the use of natural materials such as wood and stone to the warm colors accenting walls and furniture throughout the large space. "There's a consistency to detail all the way down and an approach to the design of the project that really comes through nicely," says judge John Messervy.
The design team sought to create a friendly and peaceful atmosphere for patients and visitors, and arranged a series of building elements at differing heights to imply a village setting. Varying exterior materials of metal and stone reflect the center's various purposes. Brinkley says he believes the architects managed to blend the elements of research and treatment effectively, creating a welcoming environment for both patients and employees.