Zimmer Gunsul Frasca Partnership
La Jolla, California
In planning its new Rebecca and John Moores Cancer Center, the only National Cancer Institute-designated comprehensive cancer care center in the region, UCSD sought a facility that would bring researchers, clinicians, prevention specialists, and educators under one roof in a “bench-to-bedside” approach to conquering cancer. It hired Zimmer Gunsul Frasca to design a holistic healing environment: a large, multi-function building reduced to a residential scale that nurtures a culture of interaction, peacefulness, and patient-friendliness.
Encompassing 270,000 square feet, the Moores center is comprised of two structures: a three-story clinical services and administrative/educational building, and a five-story research center. These two wings share a common base and are linked by a series of healing gardens that the architect designed to satisfy the different needs of staff and patients. By combining a series of smaller elements, each with differing heights and mass, ZGF created a village atmosphere—rather than a monolithic hospital building.
While the building’s ground level provides direct paths from the main entrance lobby to the waiting areas for each clinic, bridges or programmed spaces connect the second and third levels. A commons area at level two, along with outdoor gardens on the first and second floors, offer spaces to nurture interaction as well as healing zones where patients may wait during treatments. Research laboratories occupy floors two through five.
Materials along the exterior elevations reflect the center’s different functions. An aluminum and glass curtainwall distinguishes the laboratory wing. Limestone contrasts against large bay windows along the office and clinical building, while fritted glass accents the canopies and curtain wall spandrel bands. Steel Rimex shingles highlight other functions throughout the structure.
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