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Psychiatric hospital to feature biophilic elements, aim for net-zero energy

Healthcare Facilities

Psychiatric hospital to feature biophilic elements, aim for net-zero energy

Elevated walkways floating above courtyards will provide connections to nature for patients, visitors, and staff. 

By Peter Fabris, Contributing Editor  | August 18, 2023
HOK to Design New Behavioral Health Facility on Western State Hospital Campus in Washington
The new behavioral health facility on the Western State Hospital Campus in Lakewood, Wash., will prioritize transparency, biophilia, and a holistic treatment approach, balancing safety and security for patients and providers. Rendering: HOK

A new 521,000 sf, 350-bed behavioral health hospital in Lakewood, Wash., a Tacoma suburb, will serve forensic patients who enter care through the criminal court system, freeing other areas of campus to serve civil patients. The facility at Western State Hospital, to be designed by HOK, will promote a holistic approach to rehabilitation as part of the state’s vision for transforming behavioral health.

The design will prioritize transparency, biophilia, and a holistic treatment approach, balancing safety and security for patients and providers. To incorporate nature’s healing power, the building will be seamlessly integrated with the topography of the 216-acre campus. Access to nature and daylight is intended to improve programmatic function. Elevated walkways floating above courtyards will connect building spaces and provide connections to nature as patients and staff move through the campus.

HOK to Design New Behavioral Health Facility on Western State Hospital Campus in Washington
Rendering: HOK

Sustainability and energy efficiency are also critical design considerations, with the goal of achieving net-zero energy and LEED gold certification. The hospital’s exterior materials will create a non-institutional appearance with the aim of destigmatizing mental healthcare. A modular lattice veil across the façade will create a woven look and balance the brick and painted steel facades of downtown and neighborhood buildings, creating a rhythmic pattern.

“Our design supports the healing, rehabilitation and care of forensic behavioral health patients in ways that challenge more traditional, institutional design solutions,” said Loren Supp, Principal in HOK’s Seattle studio and lead designer for the project. “The new hospital will serve as a model for cities across the country, highlighting the necessity of investing in progressive mental and behavioral health services, programs, and facilities to ensure the best long-term outcomes for vulnerable populations.”

The project is part of a master plan that includes several other facility improvements to the existing Western State Hospital campus. 

Construction is anticipated to begin in 2023, with completion anticipated by 2027.

Owner: WDSHS and DES
Design Architect: HOK
Architect of Record: HOK
Associate Architect: Architecture +
MEP Engineer: AEI
Structural Engineer: KPFF 
General Contractor/Construction Manager: Clark Construction Group

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