Inspiring Space: The Chihuly Sanctuary
“The focus of any medical facility should always be the patient. Someone going through a trying time with cancer should never feel helpless,” notes Ewing. “No one wants to need to visit a place like this. Creating a comfortable, accessible, and even endearing facility is paramount to creating a positive experience.”
The goal was to avoid the feel of the traditional healthcare setting (note that NVCI is not a hospital, providing outpatient care only). Yet NVCI needed to be capable of conducting clinical trials and medical, oncology, and radiation research, and offer digital-imaging resources such as PET/CT, MRI, ultrasound, nuclear medicine mammography, a linear accelerator (figure 3), and x-rays. “They asked for a building that could house cutting-edge technology to help Nevadans in a way that's never been seen in our state,” remembers Ewing. “Our task was to make sure all the pieces fit into a wonderful layout.”
“The facility is very user-friendly from both a patient and researcher/physician perspective,” say Nicholas Vogelzang, MD, director of NVCI. “It is rare to be a researcher and be able to help design your work space, especially in cancer research. This facility is as accommodating as any cancer center in the world.” It also has helped Dr. Vogelzang recruit leading cancer clinicians from throughout the United States.
In addition, NVCI's center was designed to support many functions, including patient care, educational seminars (figure 4), prevention research, supportive programs, and patient counseling. The idea is not to simply treat and care for cancer, but to provide patients with the personal tools necessary to navigate very intimidating waters.
Everything in the building was designed to flow in such a manner that it almost became automated. Valet service is available for patients' cars, and patients check in at the front desk, where they are escorted to their appointment. If there is time between various appointments, patients have the option of taking advantage of various amenities around the building to help them relax (figure 5)."