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Smilow Cancer Hospital at Yale-New Haven, CT

September 2010
EDAC Advocate Firm Project
CAMA, Inc.


Firm's role on the project:  Planning, Programming, Architecture, Design, Interiors 


EBD Goal 

Promote the healing process for the patients of Simlow Cancer Hospital by using the evidence-based premise that appropriate art has the power to lower stress, anxiety and pain, as well as increase patient satisfaction through the improved perception of the quality of care delivered.


Roger Ulrich’s landmark study, “View through a window may influence recovery from surgery” in Science Magazine (1984) set the tone for an understanding of the effects of nature on improved health outcomes. Subsequent research cemented that long views of nature improved outcomes, where abstracted subject matter did not (Ulrich, Lunden, Eltinge 1993). In all patient areas on this project, art with a strong connection to nature was selected following guidelines from Ulrich and Gilpin’s Healing Arts: Nutrition for the Soul (2003). One of our challenges was determining the appropriateness of abstract art that referenced nature. We permitted these types of abstractions in more public areas if they met the standards set forth in our vision and mission. 


Cynthia Packard’s Dahlias is a warm vivid connection to a traditional gesture of endearment for women, an example that is in line with Ulrich’s category of flowers and gardens. In the mezzanine café, which overlooks the main lobby, there is a Sol LeWitt donation from the University Gallery. The subject matter is quite contrary to all research, but offers dimension behind grid and the textural paint finish adds variability found in nature so noted in E.O. Wilson’s research about Biophilia. It sets a bright and colorful tone for all of the artwork selected and complements the neutral building scheme.