Senior Project-North Shore Cancer Treatment and Healing Center

I have recently graduated from UW-Stout with a degree in Interior Design.  In the Interior Design program at Stout, you are required to complete a senior project.  The only requirement for this project is that it is a commercial type of project.  This left me with multiple options.  With the types of projects that I already had in my portfolio, it was obvious to me that I should do something in healthcare.  However, this didn’t narrow my options down by much with there being so many types of medical facilities out there.  I remember my professor mentioning that the project should be something that you have been personally affected by or something that you are highly interested in considering that the project is a semester long and TONS of time will be spent with it.  I kept this idea in the back of my mind.

The summer before my final semester at Stout, my grandmother was going through chemo therapy.  I remember sitting with her through her treatment.  I found myself analyzing every little detail of the space; the type of flooring material, door swings, the lack of views to the outdoors, and the institutional feeling of the entire space.  This space was definitely a not one that I would not want to spend much time in.  Unfortunately, the people there didn’t have much of a choice when it came to spending time there.  Not only were these people fighting a horrible disease but were also had to sit in this poorly designed space while they fight the disease.  This was the main inspiration for my project.  I wanted to create a soothing space that made patients feel comfortable and connected to nature.



Project Description: Design of the Northshore Cancer Treatment and Healing Center: a cancer treatment facility that embraces traditional medical practices along with holistic healing. Location: Duluth, MN

Programs Used: Revit, Photoshop and InDesign

Skills Obtained: Commercial Design, Healthcare Design, Space Planning, Concept Development, Interior Architecture, Color psychology, wayfinding, ADA, Programming, Construction Documentation, Material Selection-healthcare specific, Furniture Selection.

Concept: The design of North Shore Cancer and Healing Center encompasses traditional medical practices along with holistic healing. The Seven Levels of Healing which embody mind, body, and spirit, was driving force in creating a soothing and natural healing environment. Given that nature has been proven to heal, the goal was to create seamless connection between structure, landscape, and well-being.

Duluth’s well known attributes were integrated into the design.

Agates: Agate can help to strengthen the body’s connection to earth. It can give courage, energy, strength, and dispels fears, all of which increase self-confi- dence. It can also lessen feelings of envy by ground- ing the emotions. It is a stone of harmony and by bring- ing the elements of one’s being into harmony, it greatly enhances healing.  The formations of this stone were used as inspiration when designing overall form of the building and interior architecture.  The color palette was also derived from agates and Duluth’s natural hues; warm tones from the iron and rock combined with icy cool tones.

Lighthouses: The lighthouse is a symbol for the spiritual strength and emotional guidance which is available to us during the times we feel we are being helplessly tossed around in a sea of inner turmoil which is often a feeling that many cancer patients go through.  Split rock light house, a famous lighthouse in Duluth, MN at one time offered this guidance to ships.  Taking this idea of lighthouse, I created a light shaft(shown in rendering below) that comes from the roof to the floor behind each reception desk.  Just like a light house guides a ship to land, the light shaft helps guide patients to the reception desk.  Not only does this feature guide patients in the right direction but it also allows natural light to flow through the space.

Since cancer is often a disease that an entire family goes through, spaces meant to accommodate families, will be of high importance. To create a more comfortable space, patients will be given a high level of control of their surroundings. Also, positive distractions will be put in place to make the space so intriguing that there mind will escape the reality of cancer treatment. 

inspirationcolor coded first floor

First Floor Plan by Departmentcolor coded second floor

Second Floor Plan by Departmentrendered first floor

First Floor Plan Renderedrendered second floor

Second Floor Plan Renderedentryview

Perspective View: Entry
cafeviewPerspective View: Cafe and healing Garden

Screen Shot 2013-02-21 at 4.38.33 PMInfusion Suites

integrative therapies scheme

Integrative Therapies Materials


Lab Materials


Entry/Reception Materials and Furnishings


Cafe Materials and Furnishings


Infusion Materials and Furnishings