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HOK to Design New Behavioral Health Facility on Western State Hospital Campus

The 350-bed forensic psychiatric hospital in Washington will promote a holistic approach to rehabilitation as part of the state’s vision for transforming behavioral health.

HOK has been selected to design a 350-bed behavioral health hospital in Lakewood, Washington, a Tacoma suburb. Built to augment and expand the capacity of the existing Western State Hospital, the reimagined facility will support the state’s vision of providing transformational care for behavioral health patients.

The replacement hospital will serve forensic patients who enter care through the criminal court system, freeing other areas of campus to serve civil patients. Programs and design elements will foster a therapeutic and safe environment based on evidence-based healthcare practices. The hospital also will promote research and innovation by fostering partnerships with local academic institutions.

The new hospital’s design directly enhances patient healing and supports the needs of staff to provide high-quality care. The building plan implements the therapy model while prioritizing transparency, biophilia and a holistic approach to treatment, balancing the needs of patients and providers for safety and security. To leverage the healing power of nature, the building will seamlessly integrate with the topography of the 216-acre campus. The buildings and landscape emphasize access to nature and daylight to improve programmatic function. Elevated walkways connect building spaces, floating above courtyards and providing connections to nature as patients and staff move throughout the campus.

“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 communities 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.”

Sustainability and energy efficiency are also central to the design, with the goal of achieving net-zero energy and LEED Gold certification. The new hospital focuses on destigmatizing mental healthcare with exterior materials that are non-institutional in appearance. A modular lattice veil across the facade creates a woven appearance and balances the brick and painted steel facades of nearby buildings, creating a rhythmic pattern.

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 by 2027.

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