Shortly before Mental Health Awareness Month in May, development and construction firm Skanska announced the topping out of California’s first behavioral health facility—and the largest in the nation—to target net zero energy. Located in Redwood City, San Mateo County, Calif., the 77,610-sf Cordilleras Health System Replacement Project is slated for completion in late 2024.
The campus will comprise four single-story mental health rehabilitation centers, each accommodating 16 clients, as well as a three-story co-housing building for 57 residents. With CannonDesign as the design architect, the buildings are arrayed around a central open space with sheltered outdoor seating, community gardens, and recreation areas. Cordilleras also will provide administration, medical, dining, and maintenance services, plus other staff and visitor services.
The project will generate onsite power by installing solar panels on the buildings’ roofs and the parking areas, offsetting the energy usage onsite. Through a design and modeling process, the project team was able to minimize the site’s power usage while maintaining occupant comfort. Cordilleras is targeting a Silver LEED certification and has the potential to achieve Gold.
Located on a wooded hillside south of San Francisco, Cordilleras preserves the existing natural environment and features biophilic design to support therapeutic healing. As a resilient facility, Cordilleras will be able to continue operations in the event of a natural catastrophe.
“More than 51 million Americans—approximately one in five adults—live with mental illness. As healthcare builders and designers, we can directly combat the stigma around seeking care in what was traditionally seen as cold, sterile treatment environments, as we expect to see increased demand for behavioral health facilities,” Lindsay Corotis, vice president/account manager, Skanska USA Building, said in a statement.
The original facility was constructed as a tuberculosis hospital in 1952 and adapted for behavioral health in 1978.