When completed the Counties Manukau Health Acute Mental Health unit will provide 76 inpatient beds divided into two identical wings each accommodating a dedicated secure entry, 14 bed HDU and a 24 bed LDU. A pair of low stimulus suites provides support to each wing. Each wing is positioned with direct access to a shared ‘heart’ space incorporating open plan therapy spaces including a cafe and lounge areas as well as more separate art and activity rooms. Each wing has a dedicated staff zone including staff hub areas, kitchen, utility rooms, and treatment spaces. An upper storey provide office and meeting space for staff.
The clients functional brief and new model of care called for a unit that emphasised salutogenic design with a family and wellness and community focus.
The design response includes light filled, single loaded corridors wrapping around seven landscaped courtyards with large open plan socialisation spaces flowing out to them. The largest is a therapies courtyard providing a link from the reception area, whare and whare kai space through to the central ‘heart’ space. The courtyards range in character from active to more reflective providing different options to service users. Further options are provided with window seats and covered outdoor spaces, whanau lounge, sensory modulation rooms and larger lounge and dining spaces.
The aim was to create a culturally capable building. A generous Whare space is accessed directly off the main entry plaza and in turn has direct access into the unit allowing its use to be wide ranging from formal welcomes, admissions, therapy, meetings and events. Cultural elements are incorporated throughout the building and generous use of timbers both external and internally are utilised.