Architects all over the world are debating evidence-based design and healing architecture. When looking for inspiration, architects from the US often look to Denmark where this is already a very big part of the modern and coherent treatments, in both the public and private health care system.

(Full-service consultant: Karlsson Arkitekter / VLA ; Photo: Jens Lindhe)

Healing architecture is based on enhancing the physical framework’s impact on patient healing and overall wellbeing, using architecture’s impact on stress reduction and health optimization for hospital patients, disabled people, the elderly community as well as relatives and staff.

The Danish government’s overall aim concerning the construction and renovation of existing hospitals and care homes is to establish modern, efficient and welcoming environments for all users, while employees have the best circumstances for carrying out their duties. Studies show that factors such as light, colour, sound, movement, air as well as personal, social and outdoor facilities have a profound impact on the health condition of everyone living or working in care and hospital buildings.

One of the health facilities that Denmark can be very proud of is the new psychiatric hospital of Region Zeeland, which is a prestigious project that recognizes patients and employees equally. The hospital is the first new psychiatric hospital, the largest of is kind, built in Denmark for more than a 100 years. Even HRH Crown Princess Mary was at the opening in 2015.

(Full-service consultant: Karlsson Arkitekter / VLA ; Photo: Jens Lindhe)

The hospital is built on the notion that the patient, as much as it is possible, should feel welcomed and recognized on equal terms with the staff and other patients. A key fact to recognize is that factors that support patients – as mentioned above – generally are the same factors that make healthy people happy.

Treatment of patients is designed into the architecture of the entire building inside and out. The architecture consists of three patient sectors, all with common courtyards, lush green areas and activity-shielded gardens for special patients. In addition, a sports garden and several inner “quiet” gardens for the use of both visitors and staff are incorporated into the grounds of the hospital.

The exterior as well as the interior of the building itself is made of high quality materials: Sound absorbing floors and ceilings as well as intelligent and “lifelike” LED lights – and art is presented everywhere. A specially designed colour spectrum, created by artist Marlene Landgreen in cooperation with Karlsson Arkitekter/VLA and the poet Ursula Andkjær stands out in particular: In addition to the goal of implementing the core of healing architecture in the building, this particular art piece has also resulted in poetry written on the glass walls.

The building has already won the Danish “Colour Prize 2016” for the thoughtful and magnificent work of integrating art and colours. It has also been noticed abroad when it, earlier this year, was a finalist at The World Architecture News Awards. Perhaps they will bring back another award from Berlin in November, where the building is shortlisted in the final in the category “Health” at the World Architecture Festival 2016.

(Full-service consultant: Karlsson Arkitekter / VLA ; Photo: Jens Lindhe)

At Pressalit Care, we hope that this impressive building will inspire and motivate people around the world. We still have a big task ahead of us in making the world inclusive and accessible for all regardless of condition and disability, but we believe it is important as a business in the health care industry to remember, that behind every disabled person there is a family and a carer-team that are just as important. We welcome all the projects around the world, which will help to promote the concept of “healing architecture” moving forward.