Virtua Samson Cancer Center

  • area / size 66,000 sqft
  • Completed 2018
  • Francis Cauffman Architects designed the Virtua Samson Cancer Center with sensitivity to patients, located in Moorestown, New Jersey.

    Virtua Health turned to Francis Cauffman Architects (FCA) to rezone and repurpose a former ACME supermarket that sits adjacent to its Health and Wellness Center in Moorestown, New Jersey into a cancer care center. The new facility accommodates radiation oncology, an infusion treatment suite, a cancer administrative suite, and a third party infusion practice. The facility was designed to promote a sense of hope, serenity, and healing, with comforting and welcoming features such as high ceilings, windows that let in natural light and vibrant artwork depicting nature.

    The reimagined space features high ceilings, windows that let in natural light, and vibrant artwork featuring scenes found in nature. Skylights are used in the central circulation concourse that each destination entrance is located off of. The design team strategically placed treatment rooms depending on patients that are sensitive to natural light versus those that aren’t. The building’s previous structure had very high ceilings, prompting a challenge for smaller rooms that require acoustical privacy; a substructure was implemented to allow the ceiling and lighting to be suspended from it, minimizing the need to construct walls to the full height of the structure.

    Understanding that cancer patients’ needs and perceptions require a unique design sensitivity, FCA took to the building’s exterior to portray a symbol of hope for patients and visitors alike. The “White Box” is a stand-in for the occurence of cancer in a patient’s life, since the event of cancer is not a normal, everyday event. The monumental entry is dressed in semi-opaque white panels that create one, uniform object that can be seen from the street. The front elevation is at odds with both the roadway and sidewalk, jutting out at the left edge, instead of being parallel. The front elevation is also imbalanced and off center, with three vertical columns that hold up a misaligned upper mass. The design intent is to allude to the event of cancer without overwhelming visitors, hoping that each appointment and transition through the “White Box” will be positive. As such, the “White Box” alludes to the imbalance of a cancer diagnosis, but is bright, uncluttered, and refined in its presentation and detailing.

    Additionally, an effective wayfinding system boosts trust, loyalty, and satisfaction with patients. The Main Gallery can be seen from the exterior by way of a full-height glass opening, allowing visitors to find their bearings both within the building and outside the complex while bathing the circulation path with natural light throughout the day. Skylights also provide diffused, controlled light to ease the deep distance as it penetrates into the center of the building footprint.The tall ceilings of the Main Gallery transition to more intimate seating areas, where a lower ceiling provides a sense of being taken care of while waiting. The Trespa clad canopy provides visitors with a cue to indicate the main entry point. The canopy and column can be seen as a pair of hands, providing cover horizontally and shielding from the sun’s glare vertically.

    ArchitectFrancis Cauffman Architects
    Photography: Jeffrey Totaro