VA Palo Alto Mental Health Center

Palo Alto, California



90,000 Sq. Ft. New Construction






Full Architectural Services


Project Features

  • Inpatient psychiatric nursing units
  • Outpatient mental health clinic
  • 80 beds
  • Secure courtyards and gardens
  • Basis of VA Mental Health Design Guide
  • Semi-enclosed nurse stations
  • Natural light / skylights

The Mental Health Center includes four acute inpatient psychiatric nursing units, an outpatient mental health clinic, administrative offices and a utility building. The design makes use of enclosed gardens, access to natural light for all patient and staff areas, and views to landscaped areas from patient rooms to create an environment that is therapeutic and restorative.


The center provides a safe environment that is familiar but lacks the institutional quality of a healthcare facility. Patient safety and observation are paramount, yet the nurse stations and other public areas are design to offer familiar, relaxing places, with choices to increase autonomy and healing.


This center became the basis of the new VA design standard for mental health facilities because it was designed to support the healing of veterans in an environment where they can increasingly achieve greater autonomy, control, and choice in their environment, while also providing for the safety and wellbeing of their caregivers.