Touro University Cancer Therapy Center

Vallejo, CA

What would a Cancer Therapy Center sited in an historical setting and surrounded by a protected wetlands landscape look like?


Studies for this prospective project were inspired by the surrounding wetlands and environmentally protected marshlands of San Pablo Bay. Views of open fields, expansive sky and natural wildlife were incorporated into the design of a healing environment for patients undergoing treatment, their family members and staff.

Looking Back, Looking Forward

The 140-year history of Mare Island’s US Naval Base resulted in an eclectic mix of buildings that accommodated military functions of all sorts. When the Navy abandoned the facility in 1999, the property was opened to private use.


Touro University took advantage by moving to a site on the southern portion of the base where they set about expanding their graduate level medical programs. Their ambitions included a partnership program with a healthcare provider and equipment supplier to offer Proton Beam Therapy for cancer patients in a teaching hospital on their campus.


The client had a narrow window of time in which to prepare their prospectus, so we started with some quick studies that explored programmatic needs and conceptual architectural solutions. A new technology at the time, Proton Beam Therapy required careful planning of patient flow and leveraging of equipment efficiencies so that patients’ time at the facility was short and pleasant.


Deep overhangs and shade structures reach out to welcome patients to the primary lobby and public spaces. Two-story indoor plazas and courtyard gardens provide spaces for gathering or quiet contemplation for staff, patients and family. And, by creating a sense of connection to nature for patients, their experience with high tech equipment could be one of comfort and hope.