Memorial Sloan Kettering Monmouth Ambulatory Care Center
Providing care to patients closer to home was a driving force behind Memorial Sloan Kettering selecting a suburban New Jersey location for their new outpatient treatment facility. Looking to alleviate a patient’s need to travel to the main Manhattan campus, they purchased the vacant 1980’s office building and, with our design team, re-imagined the rectilinear building through dramatic alterations.
The team used biophilic design practices to reposition the otherwise obscure building into an airy, light-filled haven. Filling the space with a day-lit courtyard and exterior views of the surrounding woodlands, the facility transformed into a tranquil healing experience. The patients—and their caregivers—remain the focus, with the empathetic design and comprehensive program aiming to make them feel, at all times, comfortable, connected, and in control.
Research has shown that incorporating nature into the built environment promotes healing and well-being. To maximize MSK Monmouth’s setting, we cut a path to the center of the rectilinear structure, creating a greenery-filled courtyard that also allows light to flow into building spaces it otherwise wouldn’t reach. A series of glass-enclosed pedestrian bridges traverse the site, offering glimpses of the neighboring woodlands.
Throughout MSK Monmouth a series of “micro-experiences” replace traditional waiting rooms. These spaces—dens, parlors, and libraries located alongside the main corridors—provide different kinds of opportunities for patient and family respite. We worked closely with MSK to collaborate on the areas, designed according to the amount of time users will spend in them. MSK is now using the concept as a branding element throughout its ‘One MSK’ network of local healthcare facilities.
Research played a substantial role in the project and we reimagined the physical areas where patients feel most vulnerable. The findings—informed by additional research conducted by MSKCC—resulted in more comfortable changing, exam, and consultation rooms, with special attention paid to preserving patient control and dignity. This was achieved through a variety of touchpoint experiences that create moments of discovery, in order to reduce anxiety and stress.
Rather than a main entrance, MSK Monmouth has three distinct entries. The first—located on the building’s upper level and approached via a glass bridge—accommodates general use. The second, on the lower level, serves daily radiology and oncology patients. The third is dedicated to caregivers, practitioners, and hospital staff.