CARTI Cancer Center
John Hogshead, Jimmy Smith, Marvina Williams, Stephen Barefield, David Goldschmidt, DeDe Woodring, Brenda Smith, Laura Weirick, Micah Lipscomb, Keith Curtis, Katie Jansen, Korinna Hirsch, Christine King | Polk Stanley Wilcox Architects, Associate Architect | Nabholz Construction Services, Contractor | Uzun+Case, Structural Engineers; Oncology Solutions, LLC, Programming
CARTI Cancer Center provides single-facility comprehensive oncology care with a unique identity designed to foster a collaborative approach between the clinicians, caregivers and patients. The building while providing a multitude of necessary services emphasizes a comforting and sensitive patient environment. Selected by CARTI to lead a multidisciplinary team the firm provided architecture, interior design, landscape architecture, and branding services.
Set atop a heavily wooded ridge, the new CARTI Cancer Center overlooks undulating hills and rock formations, with long views to the mountains beyond. Taking inspiration from its surroundings, solar orientation and sustainable design strategies, the Center’s exterior pays homage to the local landscape through the uses of locally sourced stone and other building materials. The north side of the building, where all waiting areas are situated, features walls of floor-to-ceiling glass that create a dramatic and iconic presence from the main roadway below. This orientation of the waiting areas provides intuitive wayfinding for patients, and takes advantage of daylighting and the beautiful views of nature. The east and west façades are solid limestone panels with punched openings. These openings represent an illusion of carving into a hard shell, and gradually cutting through the rock, metal, and glass to the soft nurturing interior.
A healing garden, green roof, and entry landscape combine to provide an immersive nature experience for patients, visitors, and staff. The design expresses the unique landscape of Arkansas by featuring native plants and stone harvested on site. The healing garden includes a dining terrace, a water feature, and a looped path system that provides a meditative experience for users. The parking area features planted swales designed to filter stormwater and provide a pleasant experience for visitors.
To provide easy access for patients and their care partners, the facility is organized taking into consideration the flow of care from first-time visit to on-going care. The first floor, main entrance level, contains the “first-time” visit functions. The second floor, with a convenient walkway connector to the parking deck, becomes the primary entry level for the multi-visit patients whose activities are progressively located for the most convenient and shortest travel.
Arrival to the facility focuses on hospitality. A fireplace, comfortable lounge seating situated near the entrance, with handcrafted wood benches placed nearby for those waiting for transportation. Once inside, the spa-like atmosphere is indented to comfort and soothe patients. The branding, signage, and wayfinding of the building also complement the natural surroundings by using calming colors and patterns.
A unique identity was designed to address the needs of the clinicians and caregivers, while providing a comforting and sensitive patient environment. This brand successfully reinforces CARTI’s commitment to patient-centered care. The use of emotive words like “Care, Hope, Love and Heal” double as thematic wayfinding devices and reinforces CARTI’s brand throughout the facility. Visual techniques and patterning depict notions of weaving and interlocking, which symbolizes CARTI’s merging of forces, and dedication to comprehensive patient care.