Merrifield Center

Behavioral Health

The healing power of nature is the foundation of our design approach aimed at bringing serenity and emotion support to aid the consumer’s journey from chaos to order.

This one-of-a-kind project, a referral and assessment center, brings together 24/7 emergency services and 18 county programs for individuals in psychiatric crisis. Outpatient behavioral services support intensive case management, psychiatric services, medication management, and community-based support for individuals with intellectual disabilities. There are wellness and health promotion and peer support services.

Included is an alternative school for teens, operated by the public school system; family services; primary health care and dental clinics; a pharmacy; and social services of housing, employment, and financial support.

The integrated design team used biophilic principles, connecting building occupants more closely to nature, to provide tools for successful evidence-based outcomes. Fractal geometry found the center point, the heart of the building linking the site to the building inside and out for an intuitive and therapeutic customer experience. The 200,000 square-foot facility and adjacent parking structure promote a natural partnership between the environmentally responsible tenants. LEED Silver “green development” provides a welcoming, therapeutic environment.

Scalability, intuitive wayfinding, full spectrum color, positive distractions and functional planning provide a friendly one-stop-shopping place customers want to come to. A support group customer said, “I love seeing the trees, I feel so calm.” A day treatment consumer shared, “It is so beautiful, I had to bring out–of-town family to see where I go to get my treatment.” Family comment, “I used to drop off my son for treatment, now I love coming inside to wait.”

Consumers were involved from the beginning in meetings, furniture selection and security planning. The Community Services Board’s Director of Facilities and Administrative Operations, who has worked tirelessly with the county since 2002, is most pleased by the consumer’s comment, “We were heard.” Patient Users, Fairfax County Merrifield Center

Project Scope

  • Design Research
  • Interior Design
  • Healthcare

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