Lawrence J. Ellison Institute for Transformative Medicine of USC
Changing the Soil of Cancer Research
“My job is to change you so cancer doesn’t want to happen anymore.”
—Dr. David Agus
Lawrence J. Ellison Institute for Transformative Medicine of USC is a world-class cancer institute with a mission that encourages healthcare professionals to collaborate and interact in a nature-centric environment. The Institute’s founding director, Dr. David Agus, believes in fundamentally changing the soil of research to impact how we think about fighting cancer and wanted to create a new strategy on the war against cancer.
The design of the 84,000-sq.-ft. interior was conceived around an environment where transparency and optimal collaboration inspire innovation of cancer research and transform patient wellness. By incorporating elements like biophilia, light, sound, and other sensorial strategies, the building connects to the healing components of nature to harness inspiration and create well-being.
The design incorporates principles of nature. As a result, the natural environment informs the materials and open spatial experience. Thermory (wood), plants, and a rich palette of earth-toned fabrics throughout the interior evoke nature in an abstract way. The views to the outside and planted terraces revolutionize the indoor/outdoor experience, providing a compelling connection to nature and encouraging wellness.
The design encourages the paths of each user to intersect and cross in order to amplify the power of collaboration and transparency in creating a transformative healing environment.
The goal of the design is to proactively create an interdependent collaboration between researcher, patient, and physician in order to provide the greatest impact in patient treatment. The design encourages the paths of each user to intersect and cross in order to amplify the power of collaboration and transparency in creating a transformative healing environment.
The program is divided into three types of spaces:
A laboratory and clinic rooms that support focused work for technical research and patient treatment
Comfortable lounge areas that encourage interaction, collaboration, and sharing
Public areas such as conference areas, a kitchen, and a multi-story assembly area
Designed to Evolve
Wherever possible, signage was designed as a modular system. Room signs can add or change occupants to support the Institute’s organizational flexibility. Every lab is designed to accommodate donor recognition, and the donor wall is designed to swap out modular panels as modest donors become major donors over time. Every piece is a part of the larger picture—an olive branch, a symbol of the holistic practice of wellness and a particular contributor to medical history.
The Lawrence J. Ellison Institute is situated along The Expo line, which connects it with the larger USC Campus and the opportunity to bring the university into the research community as necessitated.