Entry number: ie08010
Project Name: Tahoe Forest Cancer Center
Building Type: Health Care
Completion Date: June 2007
Architect: Gaunt-Zimmer Design
Building Location: 10956 Donner Pass Rd # 330, Truckee, CA 96161
Electrical Engineer: ECOM Engineering, Inc.
General Contractor: Geney-Gassiot, Inc.
Structural Engineer: Anderson & Doig Structural Engineers
Photographer: Gaunt-Zimmer Design
Mechanical Engineer: Ainsworth Associates
Oncology Design: Goldman Consulting Group
Statement of Design Approach:
Tahoe Forest Cancer Center is a hospital, out-patient facility located in the small Sierra Nevada town of Truckee. Situated on the 3rd floor of an existing M.O.B., the clinic is for patient consultations, exams and treatments, including chemotherapy infusions. To start, the space had no improvements, and due to the confines of the existing building, every bit of available space was used. "Warm," "cozy" and "healing," were all words that were consistently talked about as we discussed the concept and design intent. The Users wanted a space where their patients could come feeling welcomed and comfortable, much like they would if they were at home. They also wanted a space with state-of-the-art medical equipment, where efficiency and function were of great concern in this highly specialized use.
Immediately coming off the stark, white corridor, you are greeted with soothing sounds of water and the warm stone and amber lighting of the custom, built-in reception desk. This sets the precedent and acknowledges the importance of being in a healing space. You cannot see the exam rooms or the infusion chairs. The IV poles and chemotherapy machines are all out of sight. The medical supplies and equipment are all nicely tucked away into their hidden, built-in homes, leaving only a clean, calming space where one truly can experience healing.
In the Treatment Area, the computerized charting stations, medical supplies and nourishment station all have their place within more custom, built-in casework, such as the "nurse's pantry." Each infusion chair is positioned under soffits to create a more human scale, yet also takes advantage of the huge forested views and the gas fireplace, much like being in your living room. Each chair is also equipped with individual audio/visual equipment, again, nicely tucked away into programmed spaces.
Living in a small mountain community brings with it certain visions of gazing out into the serene, quiet forest, sitting in an over-stuffed chair next to a warm, crackling fire. One might not associate this cozy image with a top class medical facility, but this is exactly the association we have created in the "healing space" of Tahoe Forest Cancer Center. Oncology is a very specialized, precise medical practice, and often comes with negative or fearful connotations. Knowing this and working with the Users as a team, we resolved to create a new prototype for the design of medical cancer treatment centers.
Natural Daylight & Healing Views
The most important aspect of this space is human sustainability. With natural daylight traversing the entire depth of the space, and the forested mountain views out the windows in the Treatment Area, medical healing is enhanced by nature.
All rooms in the space have occupancy sensors or dimmers. Each major area / room has multiple options for lighting, so that not all fixtures need to be on at once. All lighting meets California's Title 24 Energy Standards.
Specific materials were selected and used not only for their aesthetics, but also for their environmental sensitivity. Wood trims are medium density fiberboard (MDF), the "wood" floor is Toli vinyl sheet flooring, and the carpet is antimicrobial, all three of which contain recycled content and can be recycled themselves. The high durability of the flooring materials will lengthen the use of the products, extending the life span and reducing the amount of materials into the waste stream.
Size & Energy
The space occupies existing square footage in an existing building. With the compact footprint, the function of the space is much more efficient, for both the Users and the need for heating and cooling.
The mechanical system was specifically designed for the size and specialized use of the space, using only the energy necessary, without over-sizing the system. In addition, the system was designed for necessary clean air flow within the space, and was integrated within the whole building's hvac system.
The computerized charting system in the Treatment Area and Nurse's Station eliminates paper use and waste.
The natural gas fireplace is not only energy efficient and supplements the already efficient mechanical heating system, but also eliminates any air pollutants from wood particles entering the outside air.