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Vermont Psychiatric Care Hospital receives international design award

July 23, 2015
by Julia Brown, Associate Editor
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The Vermont Psychiatric Care Hospital in Berlin, Vt. was recently honored at the 11th Design & Health World Congress in Hong Kong with awards for Mental Health Project and Interior Design Project. Built on a fast-track schedule after Tropical Storm Irene damaged the existing hospital in 2011, the new 25-bed, $23 million facility was designed to promote healing and reduce aggression in psychiatric facilities.

The facility was one of three granted with the Mental Health Project award, which recognizes facilities that successfully merge operational requirements for security and supervision with the need for humane environments that support therapy. It was the only facility to receive the top honor in the Interior Design Project category, which recognizes therapeutic spaces that enhance health, well-being and quality of life of patients, staff and visitors as well as innovative projects that respect patient privacy and dignity while reducing stress.  

Both awards were accepted in Hong Kong by Francis Murdock Pitts, principle, architecture+ , a design and service orientation architecture and planning firm in Troy, N.Y. Pitts worked on the project along with architecture+ principal and interior designer Sara Wengert, and led the design team with Vermont firm Black River Design as associated architects.  

Noteworthy features of the facility include operable windows, ventilation and natural light, as well as locally-harvested stone and hardwood throughout. Interior and exterior elements were inspired by the Vermont landscape, according to the architecture firm.

Judged by international researchers and practitioners, awards were presented in 10 categories across key areas of international healthcare and international organizations and individuals in both the private and public sectors were considered. The International Academy of Design and Health and World Health Design Magazine sponsored the awards.

Read our Design Focus feature on The Vermont Psychiatric Care Hospital here.

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