Portsmouth Behavioral Healthcare

HBA and the City of Portsmouth began planning a new Behavioral Healthcare Services (BHS) Building at the corner of County Street and Yorktown Avenue in 1999, working extensively with the Portsmouth Planning Department to modify the site layout and building facades to comply with the emerging City of Portsmouth Form Based Code for this area. The Behavioral Healthcare Services Building adds Civic presence to the neighborhood while maintaining the aesthetics of the adjacent commercial and municipal buildings using a vernacular typical of the area. The articulation of the façade nods to the architectural history of Old Towne Portsmouth, with large windows and horizontal banding reminiscent of old industrial shops and storefronts. Careful brick detailing likewise pays homage to the neighborhood’s history and ties in the building nicely with its surroundings.

Not only does the building provide an essential service for the general public, but the site design allows neighbors and passers-by the opportunity to enjoy a civic space well-crafted to fit the model of New Urbanism.  Users may enjoy a stroll down the street, pause to rest on a public bench under the shade of a tree, or picnic in the open green space provided on site.

The design contains a number of environmentally-sustainable and energy-efficient building elements. Deep set windows on the South façade will reduce heat gain and load on the building’s HVAC system during warm months. A white, low-albedo roof also reduces building heat gain and minimizes the amount which this project will contribute to the heat island effect.  Pervious pavers in the parking areas reduce storm water runoff by allowing water to infiltrate the ground naturally. Low VOC finishes, materials, and walk-off mats contribute to reduce air contaminants to provide for a healthier building environment.

HBA worked extensively with the BHS staff and the Portsmouth Planning Department to develop and understand the requirements for this project. Complex relationships among the many departments produced an interesting space-planning challenge, but the end result was an efficient plan that meets the users’ needs and allows for future growth.

Hoggard-Eure, McPherson Design Group, Pace Collaborative and GET Solutions represent the engineering consultants that collaborated on the project with HBA.