The mission

Birch Tree Communities is dedicated to helping make a full life in the community possible for those recovering from mental illness.  Their 16-bed Benton Hope House crisis unit in Benton, Arkansas, had to balance necessary treatment, supervision and securtiy needs with a healing and nurturing residential environment -- all within a limited budget.  

The result

From its gabled roofs to the central courtyard, the 8,900 square foot, one-story Hope House feels decidedly non-institutional.  Elements such as garden 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 outdoors and sight lines to the nurse's station allows members to move comfortably through the building to shared gym and activity spaces and a seating porch, providing a sense of freedom and autonomy without sacrificing security.  

Designated administrative spaces for focused work and breaks increase staff efficiency and provide teleconferencing functionality for team meetings.  The result is an environment that enhances the well being of those who both recover and work there.