2017 Generative Space Award Presented to Jordan Valley Cancer Center

The Jordan Valley Cancer Center has been designated as this year’s winner of the international “Generative Space Award”, conferred by The CARITAS Project in the award’s 8th year. This prestigious recognition is awarded annually to a project that has cultivated A Place to Flourish, as evidenced by a conscious and continuous improvement of physical environment and organizational culture. Nathan Murray, Rebecca Weidler, and Stephanie Kwok were in attendance at the Healthcare Facilities Symposium and Expo in Austin, TX to receive the award and provide an hour-long presentation and discussion on this beautiful facility.

A panel of judges comprised of healthcare experts and architects from around the world assess each entry on the overall project, evidence of continuous improvement (or “generative space”), and the intimate relationship the project cultivates within 5 user groups: the Patient, the Family, the Visitor, the Staff, and the Community.

At the core of our philosophy is the truth that “design” encompasses so much more than just aesthetics. How a space functions and supports the owner’s mission, vision, and daily operations is all part of design. When we met with the Jordan Valley team, we drew out their intentions, needs, and wildest dreams for the center and used those things to establish guiding principles. Those guiding principles were at the heart of every detail large and small – things like a dual-sided, two-story fireplace, located such that members of the community are able to simultaneously enjoy a view of burning embers as patients sat fireside at infusion treatments; thoughtful placement of hallway lighting on peripheral edges that both eliminated overhead glare for supine patients and served as a “guiding” light, marking areas of clinical interaction and wayfinding path.

Director of Oncology Robin Anderson and Medical Director Dr. Anne Kieryn have worked for the last several years – before the opening of the Center – to establish a model of care that would revolutionize cancer treatment.  Not only is every aspect of a patient’s treatment located under one roof – yes, EVERY aspect – but they have an automatic, built-in liaison, cheerleader, and anchor of hope in the form of a Nurse Navigator who walks step-by-step with the patient from the very moment a potential cancer is on their radar. From corralling the patient’s providers, family, and support group to sit together for initial biopsy results, to scheduling appointments, advocating in behalf of the patient to billing, or even arranging transportation, the patient is never left to fend for themselves or wonder, “what comes next?”

The Center’s partnership with the American Cancer Society offers patients benefits not available anywhere else in Utah. A plethora of classes, survivor’s groups, and support groups are hosted weekly and cater to the needs of current patients, family and support personnel, all the way to survivorship and beyond. In fact, many of the groups are led by survivors and promote a strong culture, a tangible sense of community.

Cancer has always had something of a stigma – a barrier that felt almost real enough to touch. That’s all changed now at Jordan Valley. Their conference room, which is also for provider conferences enable them to join forces and rapidly develop treatment plans, is also used for fire department trainings, physician seminars and workshops, and other community events. They’re so busy, says Robin Anderson, they wish they had more than one room to share because it is constantly booked out.

Perhaps the greatest benefit of all is their ability to treat patients on the fly, without the need to book appointments far in advance. Dr. Kieryn loves that she can send her patient right down the hall to the other providers, or check a port for a colleague’s patient who was just leaving treatment. Every effort is made to save patients time and streamline their treatment for faster, better, and comprehensive experience that exudes hope and confidence in the Center’s ability to Prevent, Treat, and Thive.

We could not be more honored to see our project recognized among major winning healthcare firms from the US and beyond.

Judges comments:

‘The fact that the facility is a gathering place speaks to its success in removing the stigma of cancer. The spaces are actively connected to nature, look calm and…support collaboration; all needed in cancer care.’

‘I liked this from the beginning. Unusually for cancer centers, this entry… builds its story around communities, beginning with people living with cancer and moving outwards through families, staff and the wider locality. It puts into practice the ‘new paradigm’ LBD diagram in breaking out of a bilateral transactional relationship to embrace the admittedly complex interactions between service user, provider and community. The architecture follows… in carefully thought-through space-forming, empathetic finishes, and legibility. This story is therefore about people and not just space.’

…the Jordan Valley Cancer Centre is at heart a generative space, designed as such and recognized by its users as a good place to be at a time of crisis. I am therefore happy to recommend it for a Generative Space Award.’

‘I recommend the Jordan Valley Cancer Center for the 2017 Generative Space Award as the creation of the Center alone exhibits systemic improvements in health, vitality, and the well-being of the individuals, organizations, and the community as depicted in The New Paradigm diagram. The stand-out features of this project include its comprehensiveness of specialty providers and the Nurse Navigators model of care which makes the facility unique. The Centre definitely has the physical and social features that help create a generative space including a nature-inspired healing oasis. Additional examples of bringing in the community in this design is the shared community conference hall which hosts events for the Chamber of Commerce, city meetings, prevention workshops, yoga classes, etc.’


For more information about The Generative Space Award visit