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20 Apr


Healing Focused VA Mental Health and Research Building Breaks Ground

April 20, 2015 | By |

The Mental Health and Research Building, part of the Seattle VA Healthcare campus, breaks ground this month. The building will house outpatient mental health and educational services, substance abuse treatment and recovery services, clinical and biomedical research facilities, and a rehabilitation center.

A goal of the VA Healthcare System is to provide exceptional healthcare that improves veterans’ health and well-being.  The landscape supports this goal, extending a sense of respect, comfort and recovery beyond the doors of the hospital to the outdoor spaces, and to the perimeter of the campus.

Creating spaces that encourage healing has been a collaborative effort between Nakano Associates landscape architects, the design team, and facilities staff.

Strategies used to achieve health objectives include:

  • Therapeutic landscape refuges that provide stress relief.
  • Maximized connection to the landscape from inside the building with views and courtyards.
  • An integrated wayfinding system to improve safety and accessibility for veterans of all abilities.
  • Spaces for patient therapy.
  • Spaces for staff to recharge and relax.
Nakano Associates VA Mental Health and Research Building

Plaza space with landscaped seating areas. Rendering courtesy of Stantec.

It has been proven that both visual and physical access to nature can help reduce stress, recover from trauma, and reduce hospital recovery times.  Natural settings where one can spend a quiet moment with the sound of water, the sight of leaves blowing in the breeze, or the scent of flowers can help facilitate physical and psychological healing.  Whether it is with a subconcious sense of place, a reflective moment, or a relaxing retreat, VA patients, visitors, and staff will experience a landscape that promotes healing in every way.

The Seattle VA Healthcare Campus parking garage and entry drive, Phase I of the project, are already in construction. The project was recently featured in the DJC: