In building its first mental hospital since 1952, the state of Indiana sought not only a state-of-the-art mental health facility but also a foundation for a re-engineered mental health system. Additionally, the state wanted the hospital to be a new landmark building on a tight urban campus in Indianapolis.

The 239,000-square-foot NeuroDiagnostic Institute and Advanced Treatment Center (NDI), which opened in March 2019, features a vertically oriented building on a centralized site for diagnosing and developing treatment plans for patients and moving them into appropriate treatment settings within the community or state mental health system.

Working in collaboration with mental health practitioners, the project team, including architecture firm BSA LifeStructures, created a non-institutional environment with an open-concept design featuring laminated safety glass walls and partitions to maintain spatial separations while allowing for visibility and natural light. The floorplans are separated into neighborhoods to allow for a small-community feel.

Interior finishes include calming nature-inspired colors and natural textures, while tunable LED lighting and controllable window blinds in patient bedrooms allow staff to alter light intensity and hues to create calming environments and support patients’ natural circadian rhythms.

Unique among mental hospitals for its vertical configuration, the seven-story NDI manages to achieve security goals without impeding operations. For example, elevators and stairwells are carefully controlled to allow patient populations, which range in age from children to elderly and include a wide range of mental health conditions, to remain securely separate while also allowing staff to have easy access to all areas. An enclosed rooftop playground gives children a safe and secure space to play.

Gary Vance, president of Vance Consulting, who worked on feasibility and planning studies prior as prior to the project start, says NDI, which was 15 years in the making, stands apart for incorporating such elements as a common activity zone, which include a canteen where patients can buy snacks and supplies, an art room, gym, and outdoor terraces and playgrounds. “There are only a handful of facilities that have that kind of feature,” he says.

For more on mental health design trends, check out Healthcare Design’s June/July issue.


Project details:

Facility name: NeuroDiagnostic Institute and Advanced Treatment Center (NDI)

Location: Indianapolis

Completion date: March 2019

Owner: Indiana Finance Authority

Total building area: 239,000 sq. ft.

Total construction cost: $118 million

Cost/sq. ft.: $494

Architecture firm: BSA LifeStructures

Interior design: Four Point Design

Engineering: BSA LifeStructures

Builder/contractor: Pepper Construction