The David H. Koch Center for Cancer Care at Memorial Sloan Kettering Cancer Center

Msk Koch Center For Cancer Care Ext River Elevation Dawn Copyright Jeff Goldberg

The David H. Koch Center for Cancer Care at Memorial Sloan Kettering Cancer Center

Located in Manhattan’s Upper East Side, the design of this prestigious healthcare facility creates a resilient, comfortable, and welcoming healthcare environment that facilitates healing and cutting-edge cancer care. The project represents New York City’s largest freestanding cancer care center.

Working with our partners at Perkins Eastman and MSK, we sought to design a building that telegraphs confidence in the exceptional culture of care that can be expected at MSK and defines a sense of place for the institution and the larger community that is calming and comfortable. The David H. Koch Center for Cancer Care at Memorial Sloan Kettering Cancer Center transforms the traditional image and experience of a medical center.

Todd Schliemann, Design Partner

The 750,000-square-foot MSK cancer care facility foregrounds the development and utilization of innovative outpatient treatment programs.

At 25-stories tall, the massing is broken into smaller volumes to reduce the scale of the building to fit the adjacent neighborhood. The assemblage of smaller scale volumes represents various programmatic needs, scaled vertically from most public to more private. Visual depth is achieved by means of the texture across the façade, and light-toned terra cotta is used to suggest the building’s positive and hopeful identity.

1212 Mskcc North River
Msk Koch Center For Cancer Care Ext Facade Fdr Drive Looking Up 1 Copyright Andrew Rugge

The façade is a collection of unitized façade panels based on the structural grid and consisting of terra cotta fins, flat panels, zinc and glass infill. The relationship between opaque (terra cotta) and transparent (glass) wall is balanced for environmental and natural light control. The varying vertical fin depths and window sizes responds to solar orientation and internal program requirements. The result is a responsive façade that reduces solar heat gain and glare, while also providing occupants access to an abundance of natural light and expansive views of the East River and city. By facilitating access to natural light and city views throughout the facility, the façade and massing design support MSK’s overarching commitment to provide a welcoming, healing environment that mitigates stress.

Mskcc Solar
Msk Koch Center For Cancer Care Int Waiting Activation 4 W People Copyright Chris Cooper

Given its river-adjacent location, the facility has been uniquely designed to survive the FEMA regulated 500-year flood event. To support this, all building systems have been designed to meet the need for resiliency such as floodgates at every vulnerable entrance, above flood elevation mechanical equipment, an energy “co-generation” plant on the roof, and a 25,000-gallon basement-level fuel tank that is protected by a submarine-style entrance and exit. In addition to enabling the building to remain open should a natural disaster scenario arise; these resiliency strategies reduce energy consumption and enable the building to operate at optimal efficiency.

Msk Koch Center For Cancer Care Ext River View 4 Copyright Andrew Rugge


New York, NY
MSKCC: 750,000 GSF
CUNY Hunter College Science and Health Professions Building (unbuilt): 336,000 GSF
Waiting Areas, Exam Rooms, Infusion Rooms, Procedure Rooms, Inpatient Beds, Restaurant, Café, Terrace, Retail Shop


Ennead Design Team
Todd Schliemann, Don Weinreich, Joseph Fleischer, Alex O'Briant, Zach Olczak, Melissa Sarko, Brent Stringfellow, Margaret Tyrpa, Kathleen Kulpa, Aaron Cattani, Do Young Cho, DuHo Choi, Alfonso Gorini, Brad Groff, Kyo-Young Jin, Edgar Jimenez, Wanlika Kaewkamchand, Nick Kratz, Ty Larson, Stephen Kim, James Macho, Graeme Reed, Harry Ross, Yong Roh, Joanna Williams, Hsin-Yi Wu
Collaborating Architect
Perkins Eastman
Photography & Videography
Jeff Goldberg/Esto, Demian Neufeld, Chris Cooper, Andrew Rugge/Perkins Eastman