Danish architects 3XN have won a design competition to expand Copenhagen’s main hospital, with an ambitious design that’s expected to contribute to shorter hospitalizations, more efficient care, and healthier patients overall.
The proposal, an 818,000-square-foot expansion of the city’s existing central hospital, is defined by a series of interconnected V-shaped structures that, from a helicopter, would look like an oversized EKG readout. This isn’t just a cutesy architecture metaphor. The shape makes way for five separate light-filled atriums that’ll serve as both lounge areas and public orientation points for easy navigation through what might otherwise feel like a giant labyrinth.
The shape also increases the facade’s surface area, compared with a typical box, creating windows galore. The more sunlight patients receive, the more amenable–and ultimately, the more effective–their healing environment; evidence suggests that natural light and healthy patients go hand in hand. Additionally, gardens and green walls will be featured both inside and outside the hospital. “The positive patient environment will support the treatment and contribute to shorter hospitalization,” 3XN’s Mette Dan-Weibel says.
One problem: The zigzagging structures could make it difficult for staff to move efficiently throughout the hospital. 3XN’s solution is to build a “transversal fast track” that’ll let service personnel zip around from one place to the next without having to cross countless corridors. Presumably, that will redound to the benefit of patients. More mobile doctors and nurses means faster, more attentive care. At least it should. Architecture can’t do anything about lousy bedside manner.
[Images courtesy of 3XN]