Eating Recovery Center Willow  |  Denver, Colorado

This project for a tenant improvement of a new 72-bed, 58,970 s.f. licensed psychiatric hospital treating eating disorders adds to the growing list of Eating Recovery Center facilities in the Denver area.

Key was an intensive Evidence-Based Design study to inform the design process. This research was conducted via patient and staff surveys, observations, and a workshop to help find out what was working in the client’s other inpatient facilities and what needed to be improved. Patient participants were asked to rank the types of environmental features, that in general, they find to be most healing among options such as: common areas, familiar homelike qualities, bright colors, spaciousness, music, plants and nature, sunlight, and fireplaces. Additionally, they were asked to identify which of six ERC space types (dining, community rooms, hallways, bedroom, therapy room, spa bathroom) they most associated with overall recovery as well as the following specific dimensions: sense of healing, relaxation, social connection, sense of safety, control, independence in making choices, and stress.

The data and results of this research allowed the team to have better and more informed discussions in initial meetings, which ultimately transformed how the built environment impacts patient care. The design team set up a goal based around visibility and its impact on both patient and staff safety. This changed the layout and design of many spaces including the community spaces, spa/ baths, and dining. To create a sense of welcome and comfort, a selection of uplifting artwork was placed throughout the lobby.

The project was awarded “Best Healthcare Project/Award of Merit Safety” in ENR Mountain States list of Best Projects 2019.