MSK Nassau

Architect: EwingCole

Owner: Memorial Sloan Kettering Cancer Center

Location: Uniondale, New York

Category: Built - more than $25 million (construction cost)

Memorial Sloan Kettering Cancer Center has, for more than 100 years, demonstrated its commitment to patient care and research while contributing many important therapies to the field. This project is part of the center’s growing network of new construction and renovations aimed at better accommodating its patients and research programs, catering to those living just outside New York City. It offers comprehensive oncology services, including surgical and radiation consultations, as well as a number of specialized services, such as pain management, survivorship services, and nutrition counseling.

Drawing on hospitality concepts, the design creates a unique ambulatory cancer treatment facility in Long Island’s Nassau County that allows the center to deliver efficient and state-of-the-art treatment while remaining warm and inviting. Most interactions between patients and staff are held in intimate spaces found throughout, reinforcing the center’s personal approach to care. In an effort to provide patients choice and a level of distraction, each room in the facility is reminiscent of residential settings. The library features live-edge wood that forms oversized periodical displays and access to adult coloring books, while the veranda ushers daylight in through its large exterior windows and its luminous mesh ceiling. The game room’s bold colors invite patients and families to unwind with a board game or round of foosball.

Patients arrive through a hotel-like drop-off area and garden. The garden surrounds the building and toggles between formality and simplicity, eventually giving way to screening/healing spaces. A series of alternating solids and voids, the facility’s façade, volumes, and terraces echo residential typologies. Inside, their articulation further defines the interior public and waiting areas.

As a response to the surrounding expanses of parking and suburban retail, the team turned the medical treatment zones inward to create an internal “backyard.” Natural light floods the zones through skylights above, and textured wood panels elevate the atmosphere by referencing backyard walls. Staff work at stations that evoke garden rocks and allow for close observation of patients. Special attention was paid to the infusion rooms, which feature patient chairs that are oriented toward the light from the windows. Lounge spaces outside the private infusion rooms offer patients opportunities for rest or socialization.

“The jury loved the sense of hospitality in the interiors; these spaces offer a calming environment for patients fighting cancer...The rooms are like beads on a string of different experiences. The scaling and material detailing are very residential and are well integrated with the exterior.”

Additional information

Project team

Architecture and Interior Design, Lighting Engineers, Schematic Planning: EwingCole  

Engineer - Civil : RMS Engineering  

Engineer - MEP: Lizardos Engineering Associates, P.C.  

Engineer - Structural: Silman Engineers  

Contractor: Hunter Roberts Construction Company  

Landscape Architect: Cairone and Kaupp


Ralph Johnson, FAIA (Chair), Perkins+Will

Curtis Fentress, FAIA, Fentress Architects

Tushar Gupta, FAIA, EYP Architects & Engineers

Carl Hampson, AIA, SRG Partnership

Claudine LeVan, AIA, Nemours/Alfred I. duPont Hospital for Children

Sean A. Menogan, The UCHealth System

William Roger, FAIA, HOK

Image credits

Building entrance

Halkin/Mason Photography, LLC

Exterior main entrance

Halkin/Mason Photography, LLC

interior seating area

Halkin/Mason Photography, LLC

socializing space outside private room

Halkin/Mason Photography, LLC

Public waiting space

Halkin/Mason Photography, LLC