A centre of excellence

Wednesday, 18 April, 2018

A centre of excellence

Inspired by similar centres in the US, the VCCC was designed to bring together world-class cancer research and treatment under one, beautifully designed roof.

The Victorian Comprehensive Cancer Centre (VCCC) is a purpose-built centre of excellence for cancer research, treatment, education and care, located in the prestigious Melbourne Biomedical Precinct.

The $1 billion, 130,000 m2 centre is home to cancer research, clinical services and educational facilities for the Peter MacCallum Cancer Centre (Peter Mac), Melbourne Health and the University of Melbourne. It also brings together an additional seven leading cancer organisations to form the VCCC Alliance in a collaborative effort to focus on improving patient and research outcomes: Austin Health, the Murdoch Children’s Research Institute, St Vincent’s Hospital Melbourne, The Royal Children’s Hospital Melbourne, The Royal Women’s Hospital, The Walter and Eliza Hall Institute of Medical Research, and Western Health.

An inspired model

The VCCC was inspired by the comprehensive cancer centre (CCC) model from the US, where cutting-edge patient services and research come together under one roof. There are 45 CCCs in the US; however, the VCCC is the first of its kind in Australia, connecting world-class cancer research, education, treatment and care.

Blending clinical, administrative and research facilities, the VCCC includes:

  • more than 20,000 m2 of dedicated research space for up to 1200 researchers;
  • 110 same-day beds;
  • 96 overnight inpatient beds;
  • eight operating theatres;
  • eight radiation therapy bunkers;
  • a dedicated clinical trials unit;
  • accommodation for families of country patients;
  • education and training facilities;
  • eight gardens and terraces comprising low-allergenic plants and materials; and
  • two over-road bridges to specialist facilities at The Royal Melbourne Hospital.

Joint effort

Delivered under a public–private partnership, the Victorian Government contracted the Plenary Health consortium — comprising Plenary Group, the Grocon PCL builder joint venture and Honeywell — to design, build, finance and maintain the project for 25 years. Plenary Health engaged an architecture team of Silver Thomas Hanley, DesignInc and McBride Charles Ryan (STHDI+MCR).

When the VCCC opened in June 2016, Premier of Victoria Daniel Andrews proudly commented: “The VCCC is about the world’s best clinicians, researchers, nurses, scientists and health professionals working right here in Victoria to fight cancer. We believe that everyone has the right to access the best treatment and technology, and the VCCC will guarantee just that.”

Design features

The VCCC is easy to navigate due to its simple layout formed around a central atrium, which provides natural light and assists staff, patients and visitors in navigating their way through the building.

Opportunities to increase energy efficiency and reduce greenhouse gas emissions have been incorporated into the design, including such initiatives as ‘free cooling’ air-conditioning systems to reduce energy consumption, innovative facade shading to reduce heat load impact, and 350 spaces for bicycle parking. Builder Grocon-PCL undertook a self-assessment against the Green Star rating tool, indicating the facility would have likely achieved a 4 Star Green Star certified rating, signifying best practice in sustainable construction. To further help the VCCC achieve its sustainability goals, Gerard Lighting provided functional, efficient lighting suitable for a versatile healthcare facility.

Future expansion

Plenary also delivered significant future expansion capacity upfront, at no additional cost, to allow for future growth. As an operational vote of confidence in how the facility was planned and designed, 100% of the expansion space has since been taken up.

In the expansion space on Level 1, Peter Mac teamed with the Sony Foundation to establish Victoria’s first YouCan Youth Cancer Centre. Soon, the Level 13 expansion space will house the Ian Potter Centre for new Cancer Treatments, providing a home for the Peter Mac-led Immunotherapy Research Program, the Australian Genome Research Facility, the Cooperative Research Centre for Cancer Therapeutics, the Innovative Clinical Trials Centre, the International Cancer Research Centre and the National Proton Beam Therapy Centre.

“The VCCC is a golden opportunity to pioneer new techniques and research in these most difficult areas of cancer care and treatment,” said Professor Sean Grimmond, director of Cancer Research, The University of Melbourne. “It will enable us to build completely new partnerships between a community of world-leading research and clinical experts.”

Awards/recognition received

  • Silver, Best Operational Project, 2017 PPP Awards
  • National Commercial/Industrial Construction Award over $100 million, 2017 Master Builders Australia National Excellence in Building and Construction Awards
  • Excellence in Construction of Commercial Buildings over $80 million, 2017 Master Builders Association of Victoria’s Excellence in Construction Awards
  • Victorian Architecture Medal, 2017 Victorian Architecture Awards
  • William Wardell Award for Public Architecture, 2017 Victorian Architecture Awards
  • Government Partnership Excellence, 2017 IPA National Infrastructure Awards
  • New Construction Project of the Year, 2017 Elevator World Project of the Year Awards
  • Best Project, 2016 The Design 100 GOV Design Awards
  • Architecture Gold, 2016 The Design 100 GOV Design Awards
  • Interior Design Gold, 2016 The Design 100 GOV Design Awards
  • Best Large Commercial Project, 2016 National Electrical and Communications Association Victorian Excellence Awards
  • Best International Healthcare Project, 2013 World Finance Magazine Infrastructure Investment Awards

Images ©Peter Bennetts/Plenary Group

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