When the Journey meets Hope and Healing

Talk to any of our staff here at ACI Boland Architects and you will hear us talk about “The Journey”. The journey of architecture – the process, the discovery, the experience.  So what?  Doesn’t every design firm understand the design process or “The Journey”? Who cares and why does all of this matter? 

In 2014, Shawnee Mission Medical Center opened its new Cancer Center on the southwest corner of the campus located at I-35 and 75th Street. Executive Director of Shawnee Mission Health Oncology Services, Becca Bell understands the importance of the Journey.  “We’re built on the Shawnee Mission Health foundation of providing much more than medicine,” said Bell.  “It’s really about the whole cancer journey, not just the treatment.”

With a cancer center: experienced doctors, the best medicine, and the latest technology are some of the things that matter most.  As designers we understand the little things that affect the patients matter as well. It is about an environment that supports personalized care with compassionate caregivers and having an understanding that it’s about life, and about thriving, growing and recovering quickly from this disease.

To ensure the Center was designed with the patients in mind, focus groups were held to learn what the patients’ value most in a treatment center.  These groups revealed patients wanted a convenient, comfortable space to receive their therapy.   To meet these basic requests, the infusion therapy bays were designed with the patients’ comfort in mind.  Each bay includes additional outlets for patients’ electronics, a television, and cabinets for personal belongings, a comfortable recliner with extra seating for guests. There are also two private rooms where patients can have additional privacy if desired with more space for guests.

In addition to giving the patients convenience and comfort, we wanted to design a space that felt holistic and appealed to every sense.   We lined the 14 treatment bays with windows that filled the space with natural sunlight and nature.  Relaxing hues and use of wood and other natural surfaces imparts feelings of warmth by creating an additional connection to the environment.

You see, the Journey is not just about meeting our clients’ criteria and goals for a project; it’s also about understanding how our design will ultimately affect how others live.   This is our passion – responding to the uniqueness of each project, and each person whose life journey will be impacted by how we do our jobs. That is what matters most!