When we think of spaces supporting essential services we often think of a garage for fire trucks or a surgery suite for the ER. But what type of space comes to mind when we provide a space for a more ephemeral urgency like mental health?

Our Client (a psychiatrist) believes strongly that the design of a space can have an emotional impact on both the staff and the patients. Working with the owner we were able to develop three strategies to help create a space that supports calmness.

De-clutter:

The first strategy employs a simple process of removing those “extra” and “superfluous” items and forms that often find their way into a space. The space is designed to reduce visual noise and other distractions. The resulting interior consists of minimal monochromatic smooth white forms with flush detailing contrasted against the darker floor and ceiling plains.

Connectivity vs Privacy:

Create a hierarchy of privacy. The reception desk is designed to be the most public which is connected open-air to other spaces. The consultation offices utilize translucent walls to avoid the anxiety of being boxed-in while maintaining a sense of privacy. The most private / visually disconnected spaces such as procedural rooms are opaque.

Equality:

Create a sense of order by eliminating randomness. We developed an organization of spaces based on use. Rows of same-sized offices, utilitarian rooms and procedural suites were created. Each use is given its own volume and spatial value, so even a small mechanical closet has its own stand-alone volume. By using common denominators such as dimension and color spaces such as a restroom and a consultation office can have equal spatial value as seen from the lobby.

The result is an office space that seeks to create a sense of everything being in its correct place so-to-speak.