Parsons Provides Inspiration for Memorial Sloan-Kettering Cancer Center Alternate Design Models
Memorial Sloan-Kettering Cancer Center (MSKCC) and Zimmer Gunsul Frasca Architects teamed with Parsons The New School for Design in an external partnership project to explore new interior designs for an alternative delivery care model for the hospital’s chemotherapy patients residing in Brooklyn.
The project began when MSKCC, the world’s oldest and largest private cancer treatment and research institution, invited Parsons, a veritable factory of famed designers founded in 1896, to develop ideas for the patient-centered model as part of physical expansion plant that has seen the hospital build a network of outpatient centers and research facilities.
Sofie Bamberg chemotherapy center
The goal of the partnership was to harness the work of Parsons interior design students to inspire new design concepts for a 7,745-square-foot ground-floor satellite chemotherapy delivery site in downtown Brooklyn that would provide treatment to patients closer to their homes in a more streamlined manner.
Students in instructor Aki Ishida’s Interior Design Studio II developed design proposals that alter how a clinical facility could be experienced by both patients as well as the public. Their designs were required to allow 12 patients to be treated concurrently at any given time. The goal for Parsons was to challenge the roles that interior designers can play in contemporary society by shaping the physical, emotional, and psychological experience for patients in ways that empower them. Below are three examples.
Tracy Ong treatment center
Sofie Bamberg: “To give the patients an environment with as flexibility and comfortable as possible, I designed the chemotherapy center from the principles of the human body, taking all five senses in concern. This was done while meeting the needs of functionality that a hospital demands. I used solar tubes to reflect daylight into the community area and designed a light therapy ceiling for the treatment rooms, which gives the patients the ability to control the color, intensity and temperature of the light. I found inspirations for my design in the urban site, combined with the quiet and peaceful nature of Northern Europe. All together, I created an area in which the patient can find peace and harmony, where light, sound and materials will synchronize and give patients the motivation to go through the difficult experience of chemotherapy.”
Tracy Ong treatment center
Tracy Ong: “The satellite treatment center for Memorial Sloan Kettering is designed around giving the chemotherapy patient a sense of control through an environment that changes and moves according to the scale of the body. Vertical panels around the room collapse to provide seating, storage and privacy (through dividers). The ceiling is composed of layers of laser cut-patterns that project shadows of different depths, creating the experience of being underneath the trees. Control over the color and the brightness of the lights enable the patient to define his surroundings, making the experience feel safe and personal.”
Erik Malave water feature
Erik Malave: “The design goal for the cancer center was to diminish the feeling of isolation for patients undergoing treatment. This was achieved through making connections with its urban site and fostering a sense of community within the clinic. An inviting environment containing the necessary triggers that would encourage patients to leave the comfort and privacy of their rooms was created. Evoking the serenity of ancient Roman atriums, the central communal fountains provide an opportunity for relaxation and social interaction. The space is activated with visual, tactile, and audio sensory stimulation through the use of ambient lighting, wood detailing, and the flow of water. It is a place to sit, read, chat with family and friends, or for quiet contemplation. Sliding doors in the rooms allow patients to invite the comforting sight and sounds in.”
Renderings courtesy of Parsons The New School for Design.