Date of Award

5-2014

Document Type

Thesis

Degree Name

Master of Architecture (MArch)

Legacy Department

Architecture

Advisor

David Allison

Committee Member

Daniel Harding

Committee Member

John Jacques

Committee Member

Dr. Cynthia Pury

Abstract

A cancer diagnosis can result in a loss of decision-making and control for patients. The majority of clinical treatments fail to adequately address corollary symptoms and needs that arise both from treatment and from the disease itself. Thus, the architectural problem identified in this thesis inquiry is how can an outpatient cancer centre treat the whole patient comprehensively, while at the same time instilling control and re-empowering the patient? This thesis project proposes a patient-centered environment designed to support the myriad and nuanced needs of the cancer patient, as well as a site-specific proposal for a comprehensive outpatient cancer treatment centre located in Spartanburg County, South Carolina. This cancer centre is designed with the notion of patient-empowerment as a design driver, and incorporates non-traditional complementary treatments in addition to those clinical treatments typically offered in the conventional North American cancer centre.

By way of supporting this topical area of inquiry, the following topics comprise the scope of inquiry undertaken in this project: Clinical Cancer Treatment Architecture: the three main facility types in which cancer treatment occurs - freestanding, aggregated, and monolithic. Complementary/Alternative Treatment Architecture: both cancer-focused and general alternative treatment centres were also investigated, in order to determine what complementary therapies might be appropriate to incorporate with a clinical cancer treatment center. Additionally, these facilities were helpful in giving cues as to what physical design drivers could help guide the subsequent thesis design proposal.

The review of many personal cancer patient blogs and video diaries (all openly available online) was important in framing the experience of the patient. What therapies were commonly feared, personal aversions that developed as a result of treatment, and similar notions written or spoken about all helped to give a sense of what it might be like to be in a patient's situation, and what design decisions might have been helpful in nurturing a more positive experience.

Design principles were developed out of the topical inquiry and architectural investigation, with the focus of patient empowerment at hand. Similarly, site selection, programmatic development, and the final design proposal were each conducted through the lens of the patient experience, and how best to instill control before, during, and after treatment is delivered (that is to say, before the patient arrives, the experience of receiving care, and what is taken away once they leave the treatment centre).

The resulting design proposal developed from this investigation is a 45,000 square foot outpatient cancer treatment centre located in Spartanburg County, South Carolina. The facility comprises a full hematology and infusion therapy suite, a radiation therapy suite, an alternative medicine suite, a physical therapy program, mind-body therapies, and a diet and nutrition area. Patients originating in the Cities of Greenville, Spartanburg, and Greer, and all surrounding areas will utilize this centre.

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