Architecture as Medicine: The UF Health Shands Cancer Hospital, A Case Study

UF-Shands Cancer Hospital

Architecture as Medicine is a case study of an innovative University of Florida cancer hospital, focusing on its many patient-centered design features as well as the highly effective planning process and construction management strategy involved in its realization. The 192-bed, 520,000 sq. ft. structure completed in 2009 is a free-standing eight-story building consisting of a six-story bed tower and a two-story podium. The podium houses operating rooms, emergency/trauma facilities, and additional patient, staff, and visitor services. The tower includes five floors devoted to patient rooms and one for mechanical systems and dining facilities. The design embodies many evidence-based design features, including clear way finding, abundant exposure to natural light, excellent ventilation, noise abatement, access to nature, and sophisticated single occupancy patient rooms. These features are discussed at length and carefully documented with illustrations. Also included is an analysis of the hospital’s innovative Arts in Medicine Program that has proven highly effective in reducing patients’ stress. In addition, the study examines the many energy-saving features of this LEED Gold certified building. A brief post-occupancy study based on questionnaires distributed to staff, patients, and visitors concludes the study, demonstrating the positive responses of these groups to the hospital’s humane and effective design features.

About the authors:

Reuben M. Rainey is William Stone Weedon Professor Emeritus in the School of Architecture at the University of Virginia and is co-founder of the School’s Center for Design and Health. Alana M. Schrader is an interior designer and medical planner at FLAD Architects.