Lebanon VA Behavioral Health

The U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs maintains a major health care complex in Lebanon, Pennsylvania. This facility was added to expand the range and quality of behavioral health services for veterans. The architecture firm was Array Architects, a national firm specializing in health care facilities. From the start of the project, priority was given to the incorporation of wood into the main reception and waiting area of the building to capitalize on its warmth and calming influence.

The timber frame occupies a space approximately 45’ wide by 60’ long and 45’ in height. Somewhat atypically, the main posts land well inboard of the perimeter walls. Every timber member measures a nominal 10” x 10”. Although the timber frame is designed to handle gravity loads only, under normal loading conditions, significant tension loads arise in a number of the timber to timber connections.

These loads could easily have been handled with through-bolted, surface-applied steel gusset plates. The driving aesthetic consideration, however, was the preservation of the clean, uninterrupted, and consistently weighted lines of the timber members. Applying hardware to the exterior faces of the timbers would have created a visually distracting surface, and would have evoked a more utilitarian design idiom. Instead, concealed fasteners to handle the design loads were custom-designed and fabricated.

The timber is select structural Douglas fir, free of heart center, surfaced on four sides to 1/2” under nominal dimensions. The timbers were sanded dead smooth and finished with a clear polymerized tung oil.

Owner

U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs
Lebanon, Pennsylvania

Architect

Array Architects
Conshohocken, Pennsylvania

Engineer

D. Remy & Company
Hayesville, North Carolina