Designing for a New Era of Psychiatric Care

Salem Psychiatric Hospital Replacement

Oregon State Hospital

SRG teamed with HOK to design the new Oregon State Psychiatric Hospital in Salem which restored a historic institution with a design that supports a new therapeutic model, emphasizes individual care and accelerates recovery.


860,000 sf


Salem, OR

Year Complete


2013 National Team Award (Kirkbride Building) — Masonry Contractors Association of America

2012 Hammurabi Honor Award (Kirkbride Building) — Masonry Institute of Oregon

2012 Heritage Enterprise Award — Willamette Heritage Center at the Mill's (WHC)

2012 Honorable Mention — Behavioral Healthcare Design Showcase

2012 Merit Award — IES National Illumination Awards

2012 Project Achievement Award — Construction Management Awards

2012 Honorable Mention — AIA Portland 2030 Challenge Awards


When the Oregon State Hospital (OSH) first opened its doors to patients in 1883 it was considered exemplary. A large home-like treatment center where patients were removed from an urban setting and given access to landscaped parks and communal gardens; OSH characterized the approach to treatment in its day. By the 1950s, however, increased demand, federal funding cuts, new regulations on admission requirements, and an aging facility resulted in inferior care and waning public image. Increasingly, the facility looked more like a home of incarceration rather than a home of care.

Individual Care

The new Hospital is designed to support a new progressive care model. One and two-person suites replaced the multi-bed wards that defined the institutional model of last century. The design emphasizes an approach to individualized care that mimics a 9-to-5 workday. Each patient’s journey to recovery is nurtured by providing them with a normative routine. The addition and renovation have many communal areas. Fitness rooms, dining halls, art studios, and outdoor gardens are just some of the areas patients can engage socially.

A Modern Addition

The red brick façade visually links the addition to the historic building, yet is modern and distinct, using a larger brick to reflect the scale of the new hospital. Many of the design choices—the connection between indoor and outdoor spaces, the materials used, individual housing units—reinstate and update the best aspects of the original hospital while incorporating contemporary ideas about patient care that focuses on recovery.