Photo: Tom Davenport

Healthy Building, Healthy Healing

When patients arrive at the Herrington Recovery Center, a Wisconsin treatment facility for alcohol and chemical dependence, they need privacy and confidentiality, safety and comfort. Mostly, however, they need a serene environment in which to recover—an objective that was met with the extensive use of wood. Located on a picturesque lake, this LEED® Silver project was designed to blend with its environment. Natural cedar and stained wood were used inside and out, while wood ceilings and soffits add warmth to the recreation and sleeping rooms. Exposed glulam beams allow for soaring ceilings, clerestory windows provide natural light, and wood floor systems create a comfortable surface underfoot. From a cost perspective, the architect of this project said wood framing saved both time and money, while enabling them to create a warm and familiar patient environment.

Project Details

  • Architect

    TWP Architecture Ltd.

  • Date Completed

    2009

  • General Contractor
    VJS Construction Services
  • Location

    Oconomowoc, Wisconsin

  • Structural Engineer

    Pujara Wirth Torke Inc.

New Recovery Experience

Owned and operated by Rogers Memorial Hospital, the Herrington Recovery Center is located on a picturesque lake in central Wisconsin. When it was completed in October 2009, the Center provided its patients with a completely new recovery experience.

Designed to blend harmoniously with the lakefront setting, the three-story structure combines natural materials with scenic views to create a tranquil recovery environment. In fact, one patient described his stay by saying, “There must have been some spiritual guidance when this building was being designed.”

For example, the design and construction team used natural cedar and stained wood to create warmth both inside and out. Wood ceilings and soffits in the recreation room and entrances to sleeping rooms brought warmth to the space, helping patients feel more comfortable. Exposed glued laminated timber (glulam) beams allowed for soaring ceilings and clerestory windows provided natural light. Wood floor systems created a comfortable and forgiving surface underneath—just what patients need.

“It’s amazing how well this project has been received—by patients, by the surrounding community and by the health care and design communities,” said architect John Curran, ALA, senior vice president for TWP Architecture. “Wood provided so many benefits in terms of creating a warm, healing environment.

“At the same time, wood helped us meet the expectations of the residential neighbors and the sustainability requirements of Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design (LEED), which allowed us to build this facility in a private but environmentally-sensitive location,” he added. “From the very beginning, and for many reasons, we knew wood-frame construction was the best choice for this project.”

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