Needing a new, relocated Cancer Center, Virtua Health chose an old Acme Supermarket adjacent to their new Health & Wellness center for the project site. We delivered a bold, comforting design, adapting a deep and cavernous space into a well-lit place of healing. By reframing a former basic retail box for ambulatory oncology, we not only provided a community setting for a needed service, but avoided the decay of a structure that still has viable physical life. The new Cancer Center is an inspiring, patient-first facility that accommodates radiation oncology, an infusion treatment suite, and a cancer administrative suite.
Upon arrival you see the White Box: a monumental entry dressed in semi-opaque white panels, its elevation slightly at odds with the sidewalk, “supported” by three white column legs, an implied fourth leg absent. Because cancer isn’t a normal event, the White Box isn’t a normal, straightforward entry point – it’s off-balance. But it’s also a beacon: bright, warm, and uncluttered. It reminds the visitor that, though cancer is disruptive, it’s something we can pass through. Below the White Box and above the columns is a canopy. From a distance, the canopy and columns appear as a pair of hands, shielding visitors. From outside, the Main Gallery is visible through a full-height glass opening allowing visitors to orient themselves before entry. Skylights were installed above the Main Gallery to provide diffuse, controlled light that eases the deep distance through the center of the building’s footprint.
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