Fred & Pamela Buffett Cancer Center
Best Project

Owner: University of Nebraska Medical Center & Nebraska Medicine
General Contractor: Kiewit Building Group
Architect & Engineer: HDR
MEP Engineer HDR

The Fred & Pamela Buffett Cancer Center was designed to house all cancer-related functions of the University of Nebraska Medical Center in one facility.

The 615,000-sq-ft hospital/research center was designed by HDR to bring together patients, clinicians and researchers to diagnose, treat and prevent cancer. George Little, HDR CEO and chairman, emphasizes that the design concept focuses around the goal of building a space where the world’s best researchers and doctors collaborate under one roof to improve patient care and outcomes. The facility consists of three components: a 10-story, 98-laboratatory cancer research center; an eight-story, 325,000-sq-ft, 108-bed hospital tower; and an outpatient center that includes clinics, radiation oncology, surgery, radiology, a 24/7 treatment center, labs and collaborative treatment/diagnostics spaces. 

HDR and general contractor Kiewit Building Group achieved the client’s goal of collaboration, communication and problem-solving between scientists, physicians and patients with knowledge transfer zones, a resource and wellness center, 32 private in-patient rooms with tablet computers to access medical information and an in-site clinical laboratory service.

 Each floor of the research center is dedicated to a specific disease and has a corresponding and connected floor in the adjacent clinical facility that includes clinical trial areas and a knowledge transfer area where clinical and research faculty offices reside.

The Healing Arts program features commissioned artwork. Dale Chihuly created a $11.2-million, 3,667-sq-ft work with more than 3,000 hand-blown glass elements. Omaha artist Jun Kaneko designed an 82-ft, $3-million glass tower outside the center that utilizes light and color to represent DNA sequencing.

The $323-million center is the largest public-private partnership project for Nebraska Medicine and the University of Nebraska Medical Center. The center received $90 million in public funding from the state of Nebraska, the city of Omaha and Douglas County; and a UNMC/Nebraska Medicine employee campaign. The rest was privately donated.