HOUSTON – (Realty News Report) – Houston’s new psychiatric hospital won’t just be the largest academic psychiatric hospital in the country.
It will also overcome the stigmas about what public mental health hospitals should look like with a design that supports behavioral healthcare, says architect Diana Davis, principal and managing director of the Houston studio of Perkins and Will.
“The UTHealth Continuum of Care Campus for Behavioral Health is a transformative project that will not only provide the highest level of behavioral and mental healthcare but also work to combat stigmas on what a psychiatric hospital looks like,” says Davis. “Knowing that behavioral and mental health is a critical aspect of one’s holistic well-being, our team was thoughtful in approaching each design decision through research and with the interest of promoting healing.”
Slated to open in 2021, the 220,000-SF project is located near the Texas Medical Center, just south of Brays Bayou and east of Highway 288 at 5601 W. Leland Anderson St. Thousands of students receive training at the Texas Medical Center.
The 224-bed UTHealth Continuum of Care Campus for Behavioral Health is comprised of two separate buildings, spanned by a glazed bridge, and accentuated by courtyards and outdoor spaces.
First Public Mental Health Hospital in 30 Years
The facility public mental health hospital built in Houston in more than three decades.
The UTHealth Continuum of Care Campus for Behavioral Health is located near the Texas Medical Center and is comprised of two separate buildings, spanned by a glazed bridge, and accentuated by courtyards and outdoor spaces.
Perkins and Will is providing architecture, interior design, and landscape architecture services for the project. Inspired by the calming effects and healing benefits of natural light and nature, the design features scenic views and access to landscaped courtyards. Designers also utilized abuse-resistant and noise-reducing materials in conjunction with angular geometry to diminish noise and thereby reduce stress on patients and staff.
Perkins and Will says the exterior is designed to convey “the integrity of a state-of-the-art medical institution blended with the atmosphere of a safe, spacious, and healing environment. Buffered by a tree-filled exterior courtyard, the entrance is located beneath a long, shaded overhang to visually cue the transition from the outside to the inside.”
Inside each unit, a daylit central living space is surrounded by patient bedrooms. “A warm material palette sets the tone of a soothing and welcoming space,” the architecture firm says.
To help facilitate patient preparation from a hospital setting back to the larger world, the campus includes a therapy mall, offering opportunities for patients to practice skills needed for daily interactions. The therapy mall has the functionality to be utilized in multiple ways. It can serve as a salon or boutique, fitness center or space for hosting movie nights. Music therapy and group therapy sessions can also occur in this space.
The therapy mall and communal dining area are enhanced by floor-to-ceiling windows, bringing in an abundance of light while offering tranquil views of the courtyard greenspace. The design of the courtyard incorporates areas for outdoor group therapy and recreation opportunities for patients.
Given the purpose of the facility, designers took care to create spaces that were supportive of both patient and staff experiences. Specifically designed for staff, and complete with its own entrance, the facility’s Support Pavilion holds an education center as well as break rooms, on-call sleep rooms, and a mother’s room. Recognizing that the purpose for these units may fluctuate over time, designers factored this into their planning, allowing for flexibility and evolution of use.
The new inpatient beds and will provide access to mental healthcare, substance use intervention and treatment, and medical care via integrated treatment programs, caring for patients and guiding them toward a healthy transition back into their community.
Houston-based Vaughn Construction is serving as the project’s contractor. Construction began in June 2019. The hospital is expected to open in late 2021. A “topping out” event was held recently to celebrate construction progress on the hospital, which will be the largest the largest academic psychiatric hospital in the United States.
Perkins and Will says in its publicity materials that the firm was founded in 1935 “on the belief that design has the power to transform lives.”
Aug. 18, 2020 Realty News Report Copyright 2020
File: Largest Psychiatric Hospital
File: (2) Largest Psychiatric Hospital, the UTHealth Continuum of Care Campus for Behavioral Health, marks construction progress.