VA Palo Alto Mental Health Courtyard

The Design Partnership provided architectural services and art procurement for the Mental Health Center public courtyard at the VA Palo Alto Campus. The courtyard made a positive addition to the process of emotional healing for the veterans living there and for those coming for outpatient care.

Upon entering the outdoor courtyard, visitors will experience a layered translation of the surrounding Northern California hillsides with a buffer of native grasses creates a rustling and calming edge along the walkways. Inclined, raised planters filled with native California wildflowers to define a central contemplative space shaded by a Ginkgo grove. Wrapping this central space along the planters are sheets of perforated weathered steel, whose hole patterns reinforce the dappling of light through the tree canopy. In a clearing in the grove on encounters “Aggregate,” an art installation whose textured surface captures shadow and welcomes touch. Nearby, a series of wood benches, design to achieve the curvature and structure of leaves, provides an intimate space for reflection.

This project was completed in collaboration with RHAA Landscape Architects, and artist Phillip K Smith III.

Location: Palo Alto, CA
Client: Department of Veteran Affairs
Size: 1/3 acres