Sonoma County Adult Detention Behavioral Health Unit

Architect: DLR Group

Location: Santa Rosa, CA

Awarded a publish

The Sonoma County Adult Detention Behavioral Health Unit is an addition to the existing Sonoma County Main Adult Detention Facility.

The expansion will provide programming space to allow the county to provide more evidence-based programs and cognitive behavioral therapy to the medical/mental health population in a physical layout that is secure and safe for both staff and detainees. The new specialized behavioral health housing will house the most acute cases and will be part of a continuum of care that includes diversion and reentry programs.

"The architecture supports the intent of pulling the mental health population out of the rest of the jail. The jury appreciated the integration of art into the shared spaces and the views of the landscaped courts. ".  ~ Jury comments

The building is organized around a central open space and a series of green spaces forming a community of housing units. The main central courtyard is open to exterior by means of an oculus in the roof and mesh openings to adjacent landscaped courtyards. The intent of this space is to create a sense of relief from the secure environment by providing fresh air, views and sounds of nature. The space will be finished in durable materials to allow detainee and staff use and interaction. It is intended to form the basis of the therapeutic environment reducing stress for both staff and detainees as they occupy and circulate through. It also provides a sense of scale by allowing the individual units to be understood as standalone buildings as part of a “village”.

The side yards from the main courtyard are landscaped viewing gardens outside the security perimeter of the jail. All of the sleeping rooms will view into these areas only. The courtyards enable views without concern to neighboring urban fabric of public streets and buildings. The windows are angled to eliminate direct view from room to room.

Additional information

Engineer - Civil: BKF Engineers

Engineer - MEP: Kitchell

Engineer - Structural: Kitchell EAS

Program Manager - Kitchell CEM

Security Systems:  R&N System Designs LLC


Mallory Scott Cusenbery, AIA (Chair), RossDrulisCusenbery, Sonoma, California

Hon. Celeste F. Bremer, United States District Court | Southern District of Iowa, Des Moines, Iowa

Michael Cox, AIA, Wold Architects and Engineers, Saint Paul, Minnesota

Julian Jaffary, B.Arch, OAA, Toronto, Ontario, Canada

Thomas Pulaski, Prince William County Police Department, Woodbridge, Virginia

Arthur Thompson, AIA, SMRT, Portland, Maine

Charles W. Wend, Mount Vernon, Washington

Image credits

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DLR Group

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DLR Group

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DLR Group

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DLR Group

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DLR Group