Text description provided by the architects. Cherry Hospital addresses the challenge of designing a behavioral health facility that provides psychiatric patients with dignity in a space that is both safe and therapeutic. It is set in the heart of the rural coastal plains of Eastern North Carolina. Treatment at the hospital focuses on mental health therapy that enables patients to recognize and cope with the routine of daily life—for these patients, mimicking common daily activities like commuting to work or visiting a park can be a significant challenge. The design of Cherry Hospital addresses this by accentuating transitions between programmatic components through the use of material, scale, daylight, and modulation of spatial conditions.
Massing of the 403,000SF behavioral health hospital draws from vernacular precedents to organize the repetitive program and break down the scale of the structure. Additionally, this approach yields a formal composition akin to daily icons and textures seen throughout the region – the cadence of the region’s agrarian countryside, images of tobacco barns as objects within a landscape, and the meter of furrows in the field all parallel the regular and repetitive elements of the project.
The formal strategy of the building program follows the narrative of a small-town “main street” as a means to further root the hospital in the culture of its inhabitants. Patient rooms are related to residential neighborhoods, treatment areas to civic buildings, recreational program to shops along Main Street, and courtyards to city and neighborhood parks. Varied courtyard designs provide a counterpoint to the repetitive architecture and are woven into the building fabric. The landscapes aid way-finding by providing a unique sense of place within the large building. Together, these strategies aid in transitioning patients back into a routine of daily life by providing environments that support notions of home, work, and community.