5 Minutes With The David H. Koch Center for Cancer Care Team

David H. Koch Center for Cancer Care at Memorial Sloan Kettering Cancer Center, Awards for Excellence in Institutional Development Finalist 

Mary-Jean Eastman, FAIA, MRAIC, Co-Founder and Vice-Chair, Perkins Eastman

Todd Schliemann, FAIA, Design Partner, Ennead Architects 


Who has had the greatest influence on your career and what was the best advice he or she gave you? 

Mary-Jean Eastman: I have been in practice with Brad Perkins for over forty years, so unquestionably he has had the greatest influence on my career. We realized very early on that we had complementary skills and have built on that strength. A trusting relationship with someone who often has a different perspective has been a very valuable asset. 

Todd Schliemann: My father, who was an architect. He always said, “If you don’t give back more than you take, society doesn’t work.” 

As a ULI NY Awards nominee, what makes you most proud of your project? 

Mary-Jean Eastman: The David H. Koch Center was designed to serve some of the sickest cancer patients – those in very challenging disease groups like blood cancers and lung cancer. These are the patients whose lives have been consumed by their cancer treatment. This building is designed to support them in every step of their challenging journeys, and it is designed to enable their clinicians to deliver the best care possible. I am very proud to have directed the team that made this mission possible. 

Todd Schliemann: I am most proud that the building is a healing place. From the advanced and compassionate care that takes place within, to the activation and repair of the site’s urban edge of the City, to the welcoming identity, massing and facades, to the addition of a renowned and respected health care facility in the neighborhood and the enhancement of the skyline of the East River frontage, this building has many healing aspects. 

What about New York inspires you? 

Mary-Jean Eastman: The amazing people who strive for excellence in every field are a constant inspiration. This is especially true of the performing and visual arts, but also the amazing clinicians I’ve had the privilege to work with over decades. 

Todd Schliemann: It’s unbounded diversity. As an architect the richness of its physical nature and its many cultures provides fertile ground to make meaningful architecture that expresses place making, enriches its diverse cultures and brings a social and civic contribution to every project.