Situated on a 36-acre rolling meadow, the Center is tucked away in a wooded setting a half mile from the main thoroughfare. The landscape became the symbolic platform for understanding the challenges of, and opportunities for, mental healthcare treatment, and an essential factor driving building form and organizational plan.

To achieve the client's goal of providing “the best evidence-based care in North America,” the 64-bed Center offers an integrated program of inpatient care to adolescents, adults, and seniors. It also provides comprehensive outpatient services offering the latest advances in clinical neuroscience, and includes state-of-the-art diagnostic equipment as well as dedicated space for integrated research and educational programs.

In support of the “active treatment” model of care, the facility is designed as a “treatment campus” utilizing the entire site to maximize patients' exposure to mental health treatment. The Bridge Building, which houses a “treatment mall” composed of diagnostic, dining, recreational, and educational functions, is both a literal and a metaphorical bridge, spanning a swale that crosses the campus and providing a highly salient access point through which all patients pass.

Resembling a beautiful lodge, the Center is surrounded by paths and tranquil gardens, using a simple palette of stone, wood, and glass. On the exterior of each patient room, glass introduced between layers of stone and wood bends and turns, transitioning from transparent to translucent, balancing natural light and controlling views-a concept that encourages privacy for those rooms that face outdoor treatment spaces.

Patient care units meet individual needs, offering private patient rooms that accommodate “rooming-in” family members. A unique “frontyard, backyard, courtyard” design allows the landscape to permeate the interior of each patient unit, affording every patient direct access to multiple landscapes-a connection to nature that creates a “grounding” effect for patients to monitor the passage of time as well as weather and seasonal changes.

A symbolic point of arrival and departure, the lobby is a two-story glass-enclosed space with views to the creek, bridge, and woods. Public outreach helps eliminate the stigma associated with mental illness. Major assembly and staff training areas are used by patients and staff during the day and the community after hours. The dining room, with cathedral ceiling, features a stone fireplace that represents the warmth and comfort of home, enjoyable from either the outdoor terrace or dining room.

Jury Comment: Very nice project with some great details. Very sophisticated approach to the design solution and very welcoming. This is a project that truly means what they stated. Evidence-based design research was used in implementing the design and it is more than obvious.

Healthcare Design 2009 September;9(9):256-258