Douglas and Nancy Barnhart Cancer Center at Sharp Chula Vista Medical Center
- Project Address: 769 Medical Center Court, Chula Vista, CA 91911
- Project Owner/ Developer: Makena Medical Buildings, LLC
- Owner Contact Name/ Email: email@example.com
- Project Architect/ Designer: NTD Architecture
The Douglas and Nancy Barnhart Cancer Center is a new comprehensive diagnostic and treatment center that is designed specifically for cancer patients.
The design for the center evolved from NTD’s Esquisse process, which is a unique approach to the programming and design of projects in which the facility leadership and healthcare professionals become participants in the planning and design of the project. It is an intensive, collaborative work session in which the clients, administrators, physicians and staff have the opportunity to work directly with the design team in programming, planning, and designing a project.
The resulting design is patient-centered, staff friendly, and specific to the needs of those living with cancer. The first story of the building houses radiation oncology, the second story has medical oncology, and the third story houses private physician’s offices. The center was designed to be un-intimidating, and it is scaled to fit in with the residential surroundings.
Minnesota limestone was chosen as an exterior finish to introduce a warm color palette and reduce the sterile feeling that is often associated with treatment facilities. Major consideration was given to patient dignity and privacy, and special entry points were designed for returning patients who also benefit from dedicated parking. This entry allows the returning patients who typically are not feeling well to arrive and go directly to their appointments while bypassing the busy lobby. Staff and all other visitors to the third floor physician’s offices will have separate entrances as well.
The Cancer Center will serve patients who have already been diagnosed with cancer and are referred to the center for further diagnosis and treatment. The facility was designed to respond to patient flow, and to correspond to treatment plans. The exterior features large windows that allow natural light into the building. The patient/family areas and doctor’s offices benefit from that light as they are all strategically located on the perimeter of the building. The interactive Resource Center, which is integrated into the lobby, is highly visible to encourage use by patients and their families. The lobby space will also double as an event space for educational and fundraising events.
The Cancer Center was built with only adhesives, paints, carpets, and composite wood products that have low levels of potentially irritating off-gassed contaminates as Cancer patients are considerably more vulnerable to pollutants of all kinds. Additionally, extra sensors are used to monitor the indoor air quality and increase the percentage of outdoor air when needed.
The core of the facility is where the treatment areas are located. The physicians, physicists and dosimetry spaces are all consolidated and grouped together so the practitioners interact with each other in order to create the synergy needed to form a comprehensive approach to a patient’s treatment plan. Private family consultation rooms were designed to the scale and feel of a residential living room, and interior design maximized on calming colors and comfortable furnishings. Rather than relying on large amounts of signage, interior design and artwork was utilized at key points throughout the facility to develop a system of visual wayfinding cues. Radiation therapy patients have a special gowned area that evokes a spa-like feeling and encloses a private garden, and the roof of the building also has a separate garden for all visitors to enjoy.
Caring for cancer patients is stressful for everyone involved, including the center’s staff. Special ‘on-stage’ and ‘off-stage’ areas were developed for the staff, which will allow them space outside of treatment and patient areas where they can decompress and enjoy their own private garden.
The new Cancer Center houses the latest CT Simulation, a High Dose Radiation Room and two vaults with Varian’s newest Trubeam technology in radiation therapy, the Trilogy and the Trilogy STX. In addition to the state-of-the-art machinery, the two linear accelerators will be located in vaults that are the first of their kind. The typical linear acceleration vault is a concrete maze that encompasses a dark, overwhelming and intimidating space. In the early stages of the design, NTD worked closely with the physicist to create unique, mazeless vaults with gardens open to the sky. Stress upon entry to the vault is further minimized by installing the equipment on the entry wall tucked out of view behind custom casework focusing the patient view on the natural outdoor garden that can be seen through a floor to ceiling window. A beautiful outside rock wall does double duty as a garden accent and radiation shielding which will allow daylight and garden views in while controlling radiation.
The facility provides both patient comfort and state of the art care. Sharp Healthcare saw the need for this comprehensive center that would marry patient needs and care with research and technology. Each team member was wholly committed to the success of this project and several of the key team members brought their own personal experiences as survivors, friends or family members of those affected by the disease into the design process. Makena Medical Buildings, LLC, Medical Real Estate Development, LLC., Barnhart-Reese Construction Inc., Kitchell and NTD donated $100,000 for healing artwork and features throughout the facility as a way of giving back to the future patients, facility users and family members whose lives are touched by cancer. The new Douglas and Nancy Barnhart Cancer Center is destined to become a benchmark for cancer treatment, Sharp Healthcare, and all of those dedicated to The Sharp Experience.