Dana-Farber's Yawkey Center Sets New Standard

The corner of Brookline Avenue and Jimmy Fund Way now boasts the newest addition to the LMA. Dana-Farber’s Yawkey Center for Cancer Care builds on the organization’s long history of compassionate care.

The striking building rises 14 stories and adds 275,000 square feet of clinical space, seven underground levels of parking and a prominent entry on Brookline Avenue to the Dana-Farber campus. The Yawkey Center is designed to accommodate more than 100 exam rooms, more than 150 infusion spaces and 20 consultation rooms.

Designed By and For Patients
According to Maria Papola, vice president for facilities, more than 300 people – patients, families and staff – worked to create a building focused on patient comfort and convenience. The result is a stunning and functional environment that fosters healing.

Patients park under the building and enter the center through carefully positioned elevators. Laboratory services, pharmacy and other areas that most patients visit are centrally located. Exam and infusion spaces are organized by treatment centers, which consolidates expertise and fosters communities of patients with related illnesses and caregivers who are knowledgeable about them. Bridges between the Yawkey Center and the adjacent Richard A. and Susan F. Smith Research Laboratories Building connect clinicians with their research colleagues, encouraging collaboration and reinforcing the relationship between clinical research and treatment.

Illuminating the Patient’s Perspective. Dana-Farber has two patient and family advisory councils – one for adult patients and families and one for pediatrics. “Council members were involved from the beginning. They influenced the selection of the architect, how programs were located in the building, and the privacy, square footage, layout and orientation of exam rooms, infusion bays and treatment areas,” Papola says.

Evelyn Fowler, co-chair of Dana-Farber’s patient family advisory council and the wife of a patient, was intimately involved in the design of many aspects of the building. She sees the influence of patients and family members everywhere – in the bright and open spaces, the size, speed and convenience of elevators, the comfort of waiting rooms and treatment areas, the upholstery fabrics, extensive artwork collection, healing garden and conservatory. “The building is a testament to the care that Dana-Farber is known for. It represents the kindness, care, compassion and understanding of people at all levels of the institution,” Fowler says.

Input from patients and family was particularly meaningful in the infusion areas, where patients receive chemotherapy. The layout, which offers a combination of private and semi-private bays, was developed after hearing patients describe how on some days they needed to be alone, and other days they found the company of other patients comforting. The treatment chairs, as well as the seats for family members, were chosen after extensive input from and testing by advisory council members and staff. “The council helps the institute see the patient and family perspective, and that improves care,” Fowler says.

Built Green The Yawkey Center is designed, constructed, and operated in an environmentally and socially responsible way. Low-flow plumbing, light-dimming systems that adjust to available natural light, automated shades that raise and lower to maximize natural light and reduce glare, heat recovery systems and green roofs planted with native foliage are some of the many environmentally-friendly features incorporated into the building. The center is expected to receive LEED certification – the standard for environmentally-friendly design and construction.

Dana-Farber’s Yawkey Center for Cancer Care is named to honor the late Tom and Jean Yawkey, in thanks to their foundation's leadership support.