Centro Medico ABC Cancer Center

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Centro Medico ABC Cancer Center

Centro Medico American British Cowdray (ABC), located in Mexico City, is one of the most renowned and respected private hospitals in Mexico.  The 100-year-old healthcare organization has continued to grow, offering a full range of healthcare services from obstetrics to plastic surgery.

In a move to further distinguish itself from the competition, the system has focused on providing its patients with specialty care service lines (or centers of excellence) which include orthopedics, critical care and cardiovascular services.  

Its latest center of excellence is a first-of-its-kind, comprehensive oncology center integrating radiation therapy, chemotherapy, surgical services, multi-discipline clinics, diagnostics and patient education and support areas (such as massage therapy, yoga and group therapy spaces) – all under one roof.

"The Centro Medico American British Cowdray Cancer Center consolidates many of the services located throughout the campus into one multi-modality center,” said Bruce Johnson, AIA, HKS principal-in-charge.  “This facility brings many of the oncology specialists together in one building, creating a team atmosphere for physicians.  This synergy creates the optimal treatment plan for patients in life-changing situations.”

The 4-story building encompasses on 6,200 meters (or 65,000 square feet) above grade. 

”The project is designed on a constricted site,” said Johnson.  “The urban area provides limited expansion avenues for future growth.  To meet this challenge, the hospital is creating a connector bridge to adjacent hospital functions across the street.”

The innovative design gives the medical center a visual identity not only within the community but internationally. 

According to Enrique Greenwell, the project’s senior HKS designer, the design is about strength and perseverance.  “In a world where the treatment of such a disease is often encased within the confines of thick concrete walls, this cancer center design embraces openness.  It features views to the horizon and incorporates the healing effects of natural light, which penetrate the building.  The center also re-energizes this Mexico City neighborhood with its bold and honest imagery.” 

This synergy creates the optimal treatment environment for patients challenged with persevering through an intimidating and life-changing experience. Chemotherapy is located on the top floor to provide views of the city skyline through landscaped terraces outside the windows.

A portion of the project site features a neighborhood park to further serve the community and integrate the building into the community fabric.  The entire street edge of the building also has landscaping along the perimeter.  Patient drop-off and valet services are available at two levels, and grade-level parking is located immediately adjacent to the building.

Several factors played a role in the design challenge.  According to Greenwell, the urban site is surrounded by residences, streets, office buildings, old warehouses and a private school complex. 

“The approach provides connectivity with the main hospital across the street, taking advantage of views of the city skyline toward the south and preventing undesired views of adjacent rooftops, while at the same time providing much-needed natural light into every space available,” he said.  “The southern façade of glass is canted outward to reduce the effects of the sun, promoting energy efficiency. Vision glass enhances and frames views, while spandrel and sandblasted glass block and filter natural light, so patients do not face undesired lines of sight.”

While the exterior architecture communicates a sense of openness, strength and stability, the interior spaces contrast this image – emphasizing lightness, transparency and warmth.  Upon entering the building, patients and visitors walk into a 4-story atrium filled with natural light and vivid color in the form of warm wood, terrazzo flooring, wood ceilings, earth-toned walls and local artwork.  The sound of falling water fills the space emanating from the focal structural fountain waterfall.

To create a comfortable treatment experience, the clinical areas will host many of the same elements with the addition of an expansive aquarium, abundant indoor plant life, quiet private alcoves and distinct retail areas including a café, massage therapy area and private boutiques.  Full-service educational areas provide avenues of individual cancer research ranging from computers with Internet access to an extensive library of publications.

An exterior healing garden with lush landscaping, private walkways and water features provide a respite for patients, visitors and staff. 

The ABC Cancer Center opened in April 2009.  The Oncology Center was the second project completed for Centro Medico ABC Medical Center.  In 2007, the ABC Women’s and Children’s Hospital opened.  HKS is currently working on the ABC Neurosciences Rehabilitation and Patient Tower, slated for completion in 2011. 


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