Designing for a better future

Demand for specialist cancer care is predicted to double over the next 15 years. An ageing global population means an increased incidence of the disease, while significant advances in diagnosis and treatment give new hope to cancer sufferers, improving mortality rates but also creating a new group of survivors who will require ongoing care and support. Cancer care providers must keep up: growing their capacity, offering the latest screening techniques and therapies, and adapting their services to patients with more complex needs.

Understanding Clients’ Needs

We understand the unique challenges that this exciting, rapidly evolving field presents, and the constant innovation that it requires from design teams – to accommodate state-of-the-art technologies alongside complementary therapies, for example, or create places that meet the highest clinical standards while offering a warm, supportive welcome to patients and their families.

Our global teams are proud to be working on projects that are among the world’s most sophisticated buildings dedicated to cancer care and research – from one of only two NHS proton beam therapy centres in the UK, to a hospital that brings a range of imaging and surgical technologies together under one roof for the first time in Gothenburg.

Engineering Cancer Care and Research Facilities - Oncology Institute of Nîmes

Oncology Institute of Nîmes

Adapting Hospitals to Offer Patients Outstanding Care

Cancer treatment and research are evolving rapidly, with new tools for diagnosis and treatment, a growing number of patients with increasingly complex needs, and higher expectations of what cancer hospitals should offer for both those receiving treatment and for the medical staff providing it.

Our teams create unique solutions that respond to the demands of 21st century medicine. We incorporate proven innovations in building design, services and technology and the latest ideas on physical and psychological wellbeing to create cancer centres that are treasured by their communities and exemplars of world-class care. For example, one of Sweden’s most advanced hospitals, a new imaging and intervention centre makes it possible for specialists to use diagnostic techniques such as Magnetic Resonance Imaging (MRI), Computerised Tomography (CT) and Positron Emission Tomography (PET) in the same spaces as surgery for the first time.


Sahlgrenska University Hospital

Using State-Of-The-Art Techniques to Design and Implement Projects

Our specialists use some pretty advanced technologies themselves: 3D visualisations and walkthroughs enable medical staff to engage positively with the design process so that the finished building is exactly as they would like it to be. Computer modelling means our experts can thoroughly test every aspect long before construction phase, while the use of factory-built components offers unrivalled speed and accuracy on site, so that our clients always get the facilities they need, on time and on budget.


Olivia Newton-John Cancer Wellness & Research Centre

Delivering the Most Efficient Buildings Possible

Our clients want to focus their resources on supporting patients and developing new treatments, not always on the buildings themselves. So we focus ours on delivering flexible, robust structures and services that perform flawlessly now, and that will remain cost-effective to run and maintain even as environmental conditions become more challenging over the century.

As experts in sustainable design and smart buildings, we understand how to minimise energy and water use without compromising on patient safety, hygiene or the optimal conditions for scientific research. Our cancer facilities meet the most exacting clinical and laboratory conditions, as well as the highest local or global environmental standards – as at the University of Hawaii, where an expert team drawn from our local office and our global community of healthcare specialists designed a world-class research facility with LEED Gold-rated performance.


University of Hawaii Cancer Center

Hospitals Designed to Accommodate Specialist Equipment

Cancer care is one of the most technologically advanced fields of medicine, encompassing a range of diverse and highly specialised equipment for diagnosis, treatment and research.

For facilities dedicated to cancer treatment, this means hosting sensitive, expensive machinery in close proximity to vulnerable patients and their families, and protecting people and equipment from each other. Isolating building structures and services, ensuring redundancy in power and communications systems, and developing robust security procedures are just some of the challenges that our building designers meet on our clients’ behalf every day.

Creating Inspiring Workplaces

As for the people making the breakthroughs, we help our clients to support and inspire them with workspaces that encourage innovation and creativity and laboratories and offices ventilated with fresh air and flooded with natural light. We know that research scientists seek spaces that are not only functional and safe, but pleasant and comfortable – and that in a thriving life sciences sector, offering a good working environment is an essential part of attracting the brightest minds.


Centre for the North

Buildings for Today and Ready for Tomorrow

With longer life expectancies and a greater incidence of the diseases of old age, there is a pressing need to increase the capacity of dedicated cancer centres, and to place facilities for prevention and early diagnosis at the heart of communities.

WSP works with healthcare providers to ensure that their cancer care buildings can meet this demand, efficiently and sustainably. We design cancer centres that are flexible enough to expand or contract as the needs profile of an area changes, to offer new treatments as they become available, and to remain comfortable in a future climate that may be very different to the one we know today or in which energy costs are much higher.

We have also advised clients on many projects to optimise their current estates, such as the LEED Gold expansion and renovation of North Texas’ only dedicated cancer hospital in downtown Dallas. Or the Oncology Institute of Nîmes in southern France, where a major new addition combines advanced treatments with specialist patient support and upgraded transport networks provide easy access for patients, their families and healthcare practitioners.


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