PTW was commissioned to provide full architectural services for a new adult acute mental health unit on a site at The Canberra Hospital. The PTW team worked closely with the Mental Health ACT team to consult widely with stakeholders and the community to develop a model of care and a brief that meets the aspirations of consumers, carers and health professionals in the ACT. The new unit (40 beds) represents the therapeutic model of care and gives an innovative physical expression to the consumer path to recovery. The new unit provides the highly valued element of choice for consumers, gender and acuity specificity (including mothers and babies)and a clear journey from rest to ‘play’ and ‘work’ (therapy). The areas usually assigned to small living and dining areas in many mental health units have been aggregated in a socialisation spine which gives a sense of freedom and a sense of time passing (day/night). The space can serve many purposes including staff interaction and consultation. The primary drivers for the design were spatial quality and diversity, natural light, outlook and access to external areas.