I’m quite excited about the outcome of this project that we at Shumake Architecture did for Centerstone of Florida. Among many reasons is that it is a renovation of an administration wing for a psychiatric hospital that was turned into additional bedrooms and other functions. Our goal was to design it to feel like “home,” to renovate an area where lives would be changed for the better.
It’s not some fancy vacation place, but in some ways, it’s more important. It’s a place where people will spend some time to get better, away from family and friends. As I walked through the rooms after the renovation was finished, I couldn’t help but think about the little details that went into designing each room to make the patients feel comfortable during a time when they will be going through a lot emotionally. The little shoe cubbies for their shoes, the wall panels to add a soft touch, the color selections that would invoke relaxation, the little details that as a whole would hopefully make the patients feel at home.
Just like many projects, it had a limited budget, but for what we had to work with, I think we were quite successful at brightening up the place based on the stark contrast between the before and after pictures. Opening up the wall that once was a visual dead end and placing patterned glass in place helped bring in more light, a shining terminus to the hallway that extends beyond the renovated area. The light greens and blues are both fun and relaxing to the eyes. Each room is designed to have the beds and desk area face the windows, giving a visual extentsion to the outside for the patients who would have to be confined in the facility for an extended period of time. The area feels a lot less “institutional” than your average hospital.
In my opinion, working on a project like this feels more rewarding that some others. Like I’ve mentioned, lives will be changed here. In some way, the little design decisions we made will have an impact on this pivotal event in their lives, even if it’s just to make the experience more comfortable. People will come out better than when they came in, hopefully have more fulfilling lives with their loved ones,and I’m glad that we’re able to be a small part in that journey to a more improved life.
To learn more about Centerstone of Florida and their behavioral health programs, visit www.centerstoneflorida.org.
Shumake Architecture PA, headed by Robert Shumake, AIA, is a Tampa, Florida-based architecture firm that specializes in institutional projects. To learn more about Shumake Architecture, visit www.shumakearchitecture.net.