St. Catharines, Ontario
This state-of-the-art facility named the Branscombe Mental Health Centre, has 40,000 square feet for Pathstone Mental Health offices with 20,000 square feet medical leasable spaces. The building includes several new use rooms for the Pathstone Foundation. These include: creative arts therapy rooms, family treatment rooms, and intimate counselling rooms. There are community meeting spaces available including a spill out lower level courtyard.
The Branscombe Mental Health Centre sought to “break the stigma” in seeking help for mental health disorders by creating a signature building that acts as a beacon in the community. The building is not meant to fade into the urban fabric but instead, presented as a dignified edifice, standing proud, thus providing individuals who are suffering with a mental health issue a welcoming and unintimidating centre for treatment. In this regard, it was designed with earth materials, creating a comfortable and approachable building. Wood, stone, brick, and earth tones make up the building’s material pallet, one that is aesthetically pleasing. The building has a large roof wing, designed to shade the building in the summer to lessen the cooling loads and costs, yet allowing solar heat gain in the winter to lessen heating costs. Energy efficient roof top units and mechanical systems with Building Automation System Controls, usage of ample windows with low e glazing and LED lighting are several aspects promoting a sustainable environment.
The entrance foyer was designed as the "Smile Zone" intended to welcome and lessen the anxiety associated with mental health. Children can participate in the use of interactive games, iPad stations, and relax in bean bag furniture. The space is further accessorized with local art work and panoramic interpretations of our Canadian heritage as well as cultural and natural environment. The exit stair on the east end of the building was designed with open glass guards with stainless steel handrails surrounded by floor-to-ceiling, wall-to-wall glazing, offering up a uninterrupted panorama of the City.
The Branscombe Mental Health Centre and its realization and manifestation as built form rises above the public perception of mental health and exemplifies itself by the centre's motto "breaking the stigma." It is an architectural expression and a benchmark of what Pathstone Mental Health stands for