CAMDEN, N.J. — MD Anderson Cancer Center at Cooper in Camden, N.J., designed by architecture firm Francis Cauffman, has opened. The 103,000-square-foot, four-story, $100-million treatment center is a collaboration between The University of Texas MD Anderson Cancer Center, and Camden-based Cooper University Health Care.
The center is a healing environment, tailored to patient needs. Its design brings progressive outpatient cancer treatment services under one roof, including medical oncology, radiation oncology, surgical oncology, gynecologic oncology and urology. This makes it easier for interdisciplinary specialists to communicate and collaborate, resulting in a higher level of care. The multidisciplinary approach means that cancer patients benefit from the expertise and resources of an entire team of cancer specialists working collaboratively for the best possible outcomes.
“This new facility will make the cancer treatment process more comprehensive, as well as more comfortable for patients,” said Generosa Grana, M.D., director of MD Anderson at Cooper. “Our number one priority is creating an outstanding patient experience, and Francis Cauffman’s insightful design supports our patients’ needs and promotes healing.”
The center’s design reflects patient feedback, as the design team collaborated with cancer patients during the design process. The project team hosted focus groups and discussed design elements with patients, including infusion environments, patient room layout, furniture and finishes. Patients emphasized the desire to be able to have a voice in their environment when they received treatment, so designers created both private and shared infusion spaces.
“It was a pleasure working with Cooper to meet their goal of a sustainable, modern cancer center that allows for collaboration between specialists, to the benefit of patients and staff alike,” said Kenneth Kramer, AIA, Francis Cauffman principal, Healthcare. “Our meetings with former cancer patients and caregivers gave us a heightened sensitivity and purpose that allowed us to design a facility that truly meets the needs of patients receiving treatment in a challenging physical condition.”
The center’s interior creates a calming atmosphere. A dramatic sculptural feature, the Tree of Life, welcomes patients and visitors in the lobby. This technological representation of a tree includes branches and resin cube leaves in soothing, gently shifting colors. Studies have shown that representational nature in art has positive benefits on patient outcomes. It has also been proven that color therapy affects mood: cool colors are calming, while warm colors are uplifting.
Serene, attractive plantings and flowers surround the building, including walking paths and a lush courtyard. A tranquility garden, accessed from a second-floor waiting area, offers patients and visitors a soothing, natural space to rest and relax.
The project is currently on track to receive a LEED Silver rating. Sustainable elements include furniture made from healthy, natural and recycled materials, energy-efficient equipment, and low-VOC construction materials.
Contractor P. Agnes, owner’s representative Stantec and Cooper worked closely with Francis Cauffman to expedite the building’s completion by starting the first phase of construction before concluding the final phase of design. Throughout the entire construction, the team worked together to manage the scope, cost and timely completion. Francis Cauffman’s design team included Partner Engineering and Science, Inc. (mechanical, electric and plumbing engineering), O’Donnell & Naccarato (structural engineering), VITATECH Electromagnetics (electro-magnetic shielding) and Zipf Associates, Inc. (elevator).