The goal for the new Nixon Forensics Center (Fulton State Hospital) in Fulton, Mo., was to replace an outdated maximum-security psychiatric hospital with a modern mental health facility that delivers expanded treatment opportunities, safety for patients and staff, and a sense of wellness and healing.

To answer that, the design of the 500,000-square-foot project completed in May 2019 first relies on establishing clear sight lines for staff—for example, nurses’ stations in patient day rooms are elevated and angled to provide natural separation and safety without a physical barrier created. Daylight, views to nature, and access to outdoor space are also significant features of the project, with biophilic graphics and natural wood materials further contributing to the setting. A glazed exterior and light-filled entry lobby create a welcoming public face to the surrounding community, helping to destigmatize the forensic facility, which was submitted to the Design Showcase by EYP Architecture & Engineering (Washington, D.C.) and WSP USA (St. Louis).