What's Happening

What's Happening

Seattle Cancer Care Alliance

January 14, 2011


Seattle Cancer Care Alliance House - Seattle, WA



  • Owner: Seattle Cancer Care Alliance
  • Type of Project: Temporary housing for oncology patients
  • Size: 84,103 square feet (including 20,732 square feet of parking)
  • Cost: $18.4 million
  • Construction Time: April 2008 - August 2009
  • The Need: To provide temporary housing for out-of-town oncology patients during their treatment
  • The Challenge: Designing and constructing a high-quality healing environment that met strong infection-control measures and sustainability goals within a fixed budget during a time when construction costs were rapidly escalating

The Building of America Network Team Members

Photos Courtesy of Michael Burns Photography

Located just minutes from Seattle Cancer Care Alliance (SCCA), a world-class, comprehensive cancer center in Seattle, Wash., the new SCCA House caters to the needs of oncology patients, allowing them to receive treatment in a setting that feels like a home away from home. “SCCA House provides temporary housing for out-of-town oncology patients during their cancer treatment in Seattle, which can vary from a short duration treatment to six weeks,” said Albert Spencer, senior project manager of facilities planning and construction for SCCA, the project’s owner.

SCCA House features 80 fully furnished units, offering an affordable, convenient, safe and healing environment that was designed and built to meet the unique needs of oncology patients and their caregivers, according to Spencer. The program also includes common spaces, a street-level commercial space and underground parking for 40 cars. Common spaces, which include a kitchen, a dining room, a television/movie room, a wellness room, a meditation room and a living room, are organized around a landscaped courtyard, according to K. Scot Carr, AIA, project lead for Weinstein A | U, the project’s architect.

Creating a welcoming and non-institutional environment while maintaining a high level of infection control was critical to the project’s design, and the team interviewed patients, caregivers, staff members and physicians to ensure this happened. Each detail was thoughtfully planned and executed. “Examples include accommodating the patients’ heightened sensitivity to smells by enclosing access doors to the trash chutes within a small closet,” said Spencer. In addition, each guest room was laid out so the bathroom is placed between the patient bed and the caregiver bed, allowing for as much separation and privacy between patient and caregiver as possible, and all the guest room doors are recessed from the hallway and staggered to provide privacy, according to Spencer.

The project, which earned Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design (LEED®) gold certification, boasts a wealth of sustainable elements. “The project advances an aggressive environmental position that prioritizes durability, energy-efficient building systems, indoor air quality and occupant comfort,” said Carr. Some of its environmentally friendly features include a high-performance heating and cooling system with heat recovery, extensive daylighting, energy-efficient lighting, a high-performance thermal envelope, and efficient building components, and well as adhesives, sealants, paints, carpets and composite wood items with low volatile organic compounds (VOCs), according to Carr.

Northwest Window Installation, LLC was responsible for the entire window and door envelope process. “While most of our waterproofing products are hidden from the public view, the quality of work remains undiminished,” said Jeremy Vargas, owner of Northwest Window. “The nature of the work required a high degree of accuracy and attention to details.”

Photos Courtesy of Michael Burns Photography

The team was challenged to design and construct a high-quality healing environment that met strong infection-control measures and sustainability goals within a fixed budget during a time when construction costs were rapidly escalating, according to Spencer. “This was overcome by carrying several design alternates throughout the design process followed by close collaboration [among] the owner, contractor and architect in selecting and implementing appropriate strategies,” he said.

In the end, the project was successfully completed thanks to its strong team members, who were all very motivated to do the best job possible. “Everyone knows someone who has battled cancer,” said Spencer. “The project team shared in common a commitment to the mission and purpose of SCCA and the benefit of SCCA to patients and their families battling cancer. We all focused on and were committed as a team to the success of this very challenging project. The House reflects the contributions of all project team members.”         

— Amy Pagett


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