Birch Tree Communities is dedicated to helping make a full life in the community possible for those recovering from mental illness. Its new 16-bed Hope House crisis unit in Benton had to balance necessary treatment, supervision and security needs with a healing and nurturing residential environment — all within a limited budget.
From its gabled roofs to the central courtyard, the 8,900-square-foot, one-story Hope House feels decidedly non-institutional. Elements, such as a courtyard with gardens and seating spaces sheltered with a perforated metal privacy fence, were incorporated to offer access to outdoor spaces for therapy and for resting. An open floor plan with views to the outdoors and sight lines to the nurse’s station allow members to move comfortably through the building to the shared gym and activity spaces. A back porch connected to the courtyard provides a sense of freedom and autonomy without sacrificing security.
Designated administrative spaces for focused work and staff breaks increase efficiency and provide teleconferencing functionality for meetings. The result is an environment that enhances the well-being of those who both recover and work here.