St. Paul's Hospital Mental Health Unit
With this notable project, JDa is proud to have pioneered a new standard of architectural design in healthcare. In the mid-2000s, most inpatient mental health units were unadorned, sterile, hospital spaces. Through integrated design management, JDa collaborated with multiple client groups to breathe new life into an aging, formerly unused space and turn it into a vibrant, transitional “neighbourhood” for mental health patients. From common areas to patient rooms, each area of the unit was planned to work like an element of a community to help patients return to everyday living and decision making.
Designing a new standard of mental health care
One tends to lose sense of time and place when in the hospital for any length of time—this effect is enhanced when mental illness is involved. So one of the critical aspects of mental healthcare is easing patients’ transition from a hospital environment back into the community. The JDa team believed that the hospital space itself could work towards this end and used every opportunity to incorporate wayfinding and social skill development into the design.
Patient “bedrooms” are decorated in soft colours and are positioned around the perimeter of common areas. Colour-coding, such as using painted linoleum to mimic area rugs and doormats, helps patients with wayfinding and adds a homey touch.
This project was one of the first mental healthcare renovations in Canada and was awarded the first healthcare LEED-CI Certification in North America.
Kimberly Johnston—Project Architect
John Botelho—Job Captain