The David H. Koch Center for Cancer Care at Memorial Sloan Kettering Cancer Center
Category: Built- More than $25 million (construction cost)
The new 750,000-square-foot David H. Koch Center for Cancer Care at Memorial Sloan Kettering Cancer Center represents the latest chapter in the institution’s 137-year effort to prevent, control, and, ultimately, cure cancer. The center is the largest freestanding cancer care facility for both Memorial Sloan Kettering and New York City at large. Across its 25 floors, the center offers seemingly every aspect of cancer care, allowing patients to access the varied services they may need in a single visit.
Accommodating a staff of nearly 1,300 people, the $1.5 billion center includes 231 exam rooms, 110 private infusion rooms, 37 procedure rooms, and 16 inpatient beds for patients who require short stays. It serves those requiring hematologic oncology and interventional radiology and those dealing with endocrine, head and neck, pulmonary, and thoracic cancers. The center also provides phase I clinical trials and outpatient bone marrow transplants.
“A simple approach to the massing and façade allows the huge structure to be broken down to create an iconic architectural solution” - Jury comment
The building comprises several smaller-scale facade elements that help break the massing into smaller volumes. That strategy has created a welcoming facility that is responsive to programmatic needs for openness and privacy. The team’s careful consideration of the floor plate requirements for the center’s diagnostic imaging environments—including one of the nation’s first MR-Linac suites—shaped the five lower floors. Above, the clinical floors support efficiencies for different service lines. While they were designed to feel and operate as neighborhoods of smaller physician practices, the clinical floors also foster collegiality and research endeavors. The building is crowned with several floors of academic offices, reflecting Memorial Sloan Kettering’s long history of collaboration between physicians and scientists.
Along the building’s facade, varying fin depths and window sizes respond to solar orientation and program requirements while providing a distinct exterior identity. The responsive facade reduces solar heat gain and glare, but it also provides its occupants ample natural light and sweeping views of the East River and greater New York City. The balance of light and views is a central component of Memorial Sloan Kettering’s commitment to building welcoming and healing environments.
"Functionally, its operations are pushing the boundary in medicine while providing warm and welcoming spaces in this urban jungle context.” - Jury comment
“A simple approach to the massing and façade allows the huge structure to be broken down to create an iconic architectural solution,” said the jury. “Functionally, its operations are pushing the boundary in medicine while providing warm and welcoming spaces in this urban jungle context.”
One of the center’s most innovative features is its integration of real-time location system (RTLS) devices. Untethered from waiting areas because of RTLS technology, patients are encouraged to roam. This freedom transforms the anxiety-producing experience of waiting for an appointment into more productive time. Additionally, given the center’s adjacency to the East River, the building’s systems are reinforced by features that will allow it to continue to operate even in a 500-year flood event.