Design: Commercial and Institutional
VA Palo Alto Medical Center Mental Health Clinic, Bldg. 520 Courtyard
Palo Alto, CA
Royston Hanamoto Alley + Abey
Principal in Charge: Manuela King
Project Manager: Jordan Zlotoff
Client: VA Palo Alto Health Care System (VAPAHCS)
The Mental Health Center at the VA Palo Alto campus is a patient-centered facility focused on the recovery of Veterans suffering with psychological wounds. The center was designed with an emphasis on garden, recreation, and social spaces. The process was an innovation for the Medical Center and the first project on the campus done as a landscape architect, architect, artist collaboration.
Visitors experience a layered translation of the surrounding Palo Alto hillsides. Along the walkways, buffers of fountain grasses create a rustling and calming edge. Inclined, raised concrete planters filled with native and adapted perennials define a contemplative space shaded by a Ginkgo grove. A series of ipe wood benches, designed to capture the curvature and structure of leaves, provides an intimate space for reflection and pause. The colors, textures of the courtyard, intertwined with the scents of the carefully chosen flora, evoke a sense of transformation, rebuilding, and self-investigation.