Page D1.2 . 05 February 2003                     
ArchitectureWeek - Design Department
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    Sunshine on Cancer Care


    At the lower two levels, glass and thick concrete walls extending out from the older structure alternate for a strategic play of openness and containment. In plan, the pavilion extends the footprint of the institute with two strong, linear steps parallel to the original outer wall and perpendicular to the street. These concrete walls act as spatial gaskets that admit light and views at all levels and accommodate circulation on the ground.

    The main entrance to the pavilion is at one end of these new walls, opening to the sidewalk and the street. The other end opens to a stepped, concrete well with stairways to the surface and a small terraced garden tucked into the basement level.

    Between these two ends, a large bay of glass and steel in the outer wall lets light flood into the lobby and also marks the terminus of a major new circulation spine that leads to the elevator bay serving the entire 14-floor building.

    Just outside the glass wall, the blank exterior wall of the neighboring bank building has been strategically "borrowed." A sculptural water feature plays against the older concrete facade, visually anchoring the new main circulation spine and further blurring the boundary between indoors and out.

    A secondary circulation spine runs along the outer wall of the addition at the basement level. In the long light well and gallery, patients' stories and reflections are posted and on view for everyone coming through the facility. A resource library and store anchors one end; the other end holds a small, comfortable conference room that looks out at the small terraced garden.

    In keeping with Taoist principles, these spaces are completed by the patients who come and occupy them for a time. Among the posted stories of cancer patients is this account of someone's experience in this building: "Joy, beauty, love and laughing... sadness anger, and terror — sure, let them pour in. Depression, dullness, apathy — these were the beasts I could no longer afford to feed."

    Clair Enlow is a writer and architecture critic in Seattle and a contributing editor to ArchitectureWeek.



    ArchWeek Image

    The entry/ addition to the Swedish Cancer Institute designed by NBBJ.
    Photo: Assassi Productions 2002

    ArchWeek Image

    Resource library.
    Photo: Assassi Productions 2002

    ArchWeek Image

    Level one floor plan, ground floor.
    Image: NBBJ

    ArchWeek Image

    Level two floor plan.
    Image: NBBJ

    ArchWeek Image

    Level three floor plan, top floor.
    Image: NBBJ

    ArchWeek Image

    Basement floor plan.
    Image: NBBJ


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