During the second week of November, the architecture firm NBBJ launched a podcast series called Uplift, that focuses on the transformative power of design. Its first 30-minute episode homed in on designing for behavioral health facilities, a hot topic given the increasing number of new construction and renovation projects in this subsector.
The podcast featured Dr. Susan Swick, Executive Director of Montage Health’s Ohana Center for Health in Monterey, Calif., which NBBJ designed and is scheduled to open later this year; Ed Cheshire, Architectural Project Manager for Nationwide Children’s Hospital Big Lots Behavioral Health Pavilion in Columbus, Ohio, which opened on March 1, 2020 and was codesigned by NBBJ and Architecture Plus; and Daphne Corona, Project Manager and Senior Associate with NBBJ in Los Angeles. Dr. Heena Sandry, an acute care surgeon who consults with NBBJ’s teams, hosted the panel.
Clients want facility design that destigmatizes mental health treatment, said Corona. “They want inspirational properties that are accessible and nonthreatening. The days of institutional lockdown are past.” Corona added the latest mental health facilities are being designed as “all-in-one” centers that combine acute inpatient and outpatient services, and are available to all populations.
The Ohana and Nationwide projects, though very different, illustrate how facilities design can support treatment. Swick noted that the 55,600-sf Ohana Center’s low-rise buildings form a serpentine shape that curves around a coastal site whose terrain provides a natural barrier for safety and security. Occupants have access to interconnecting courtyards, green spaces, and walking paths.
The center will include an outpatient treatment wing, 16 inpatient beds, rooms for one-on-one and family counseling, indoor and outdoor recreational and quiet spaces, a kitchen and dining area, a family resource center, space for community activities, classrooms for inpatient youth, and space for training and workshops.
Corona elaborated that Ohana Center’s physical design and landscaping are based on neuroscience principles that boost occupants’ executive function and personal agency, increase immune system health, and combat fatigue among caregivers. It is also one of the largest healthcare buildings to use mass timber, whose modular components contribute to its low-carbon impact.
Cheshire, who has been with Nationwide Children’s Hospital for 16 years, said that the design of the 386,000-sf Behavioral Health Pavilion also used natural wood to convey a “warm and welcoming” space.
This is an urban building, and it was important to design it to allow as much natural light as possible to stream into the inpatient units. The design emphasizes “neighborhoods” within each of the pavilion’s nine floors that encourage occupant and staff interaction. The pavilion also offers education and instruction about nutrition and physical activities.
Swick and Cheshire agreed that health systems don’t make money from behavioral healthcare, and that insurance reimbursement for services rendered can be like pulling teeth. The good news is that each of these projects is an example of philanthropic largesse: The Ohana Center is the beneficiary of a $106 million gift from Roberta Bialek Elliott, a longtime local resident who happens to be the sister of billionaire investor Warren Buffett; and the $159 million Nationwide Pavilion defrayed its cost with a $50 million pledge from Columbus-based retailer Big Lots Stores, which in turn brought in other donors.
Chesmire said he has been buoyed by the “community conversation” about Columbus’ mental health crisis, in search for solutions. He singled out “frontline pediatricians” who are active in prevention. Swick said she’s convinced that the number of young Americans struggling with mental health disorders can be reduced substantially through human investment and care. “I think about hope all the time, and hope is deep and real.”
Listen to NBBJ's podcast episode, "How to Design Now for the Behavioral Health Crisis."
Healthcare Facilities | Mar 26, 2023
UC Davis Health opens new eye institute building for eye care, research, and training
UC Davis Health recently marked the opening of the new Ernest E. Tschannen Eye Institute Building and the expansion of the Ambulatory Care Center (ACC). Located in Sacramento, Calif., the Eye Center provides eye care, vision research, and training for specialists and investigators. With the new building, the Eye Center’s vision scientists can increase capacity for clinical trials by 50%.
Healthcare Facilities | Mar 25, 2023
California medical center breaks ground on behavioral health facility for both adults and children
In San Jose, Calif., Santa Clara Valley Medical Center (SCVMC) has broken ground on a new behavioral health facility: the Child, Adolescent, and Adult Behavioral Health Services Center. Designed by HGA, the center will bring together under one roof Santa Clara County’s behavioral health offerings, including Emergency Psychiatric Services and Urgent Care.
Healthcare Facilities | Mar 22, 2023
New Jersey’s new surgical tower features state’s first intraoperative MRI system
Hackensack (N.J.) University Medical Center recently opened its 530,000-sf Helena Theurer Pavilion, a nine-story surgical and intensive care tower designed by RSC Architects and Page. The county’s first hospital, Hackensack University Medical Center, a 781-bed nonprofit teaching and research hospital, was founded in 1888.
Project + Process Innovation | Mar 22, 2023
Onsite prefabrication for healthcare construction: It's more than a process, it's a partnership
Prefabrication can help project teams navigate an uncertain market. GBBN's Mickey LeRoy, AIA, ACHA, LEED AP, explains the difference between onsite and offsite prefabrication methods for healthcare construction projects.
Modular Building | Mar 20, 2023
3 ways prefabrication doubles as a sustainability strategy
Corie Baker, AIA, shares three modular Gresham Smith projects that found sustainability benefits from the use of prefabrication.
Building Tech | Mar 14, 2023
Reaping the benefits of offsite construction, with ICC's Ryan Colker
Ryan Colker, VP of Innovation at the International Code Council, discusses how municipal regulations and inspections are keeping up with the expansion of off-site manufacturing for commercial construction. Colker speaks with BD+C's John Caulfield.
Healthcare Facilities | Mar 13, 2023
Next-gen behavioral health facilities use design innovation as part of the treatment
An exponential increase in mental illness incidences triggers new behavioral health facilities whose design is part of the treatment.
Sustainability | Mar 2, 2023
The next steps for a sustainable, decarbonized future
For building owners and developers, the push to net zero energy and carbon neutrality is no longer an academic discussion.
University Buildings | Feb 23, 2023
Johns Hopkins shares design for new medical campus building named in honor of Henrietta Lacks
In November, Johns Hopkins University and Johns Hopkins Medicine shared the initial design plans for a campus building project named in honor of Henrietta Lacks, the Baltimore County woman whose cells have advanced medicine around the world. Diagnosed with cervical cancer, Lacks, an African-American mother of five, sought treatment at the Johns Hopkins Hospital in the early 1950s. Named HeLa cells, the cell line that began with Lacks has contributed to numerous medical breakthroughs.
Healthcare Facilities | Feb 21, 2023
Cleveland's Glick Center hospital anchors neighborhood revitalization
The newly opened MetroHealth Glick Center in Cleveland, a replacement acute care hospital for MetroHealth, is the centerpiece of a neighborhood revitalization. The eleven-story structure is located within a ‘hospital-in-a-park’ setting that will provide a bucolic space to the community where public green space is lacking. It will connect patients, visitors, and staff to the emotional and physical benefits of nature.