Vejle Psychiatric Hospital by Arkitema Architects

Healing architecture, with plenty of light and visible nature

Project Specs


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The new Psychiatric Hospital in the Danish city of Vejle won the Mental Health Design category at the European Healthcare Design Awards 2018. The designer, Arkitema Architects, focused on healing architecture, with plenty of light and visible nature. This has reduced physical restraint significantly.

▼鸟瞰建筑,bird view


In February 2017 a new psychiatric hospital opened in the Danish city of Vejle. Since the opening the hospital has registered a 50 per cent decrease in physical restraint and it is widely acknowledged for its healing architecture. The building is designed by Arkitema Architects as part of a Public-Private Partnership, where the PPP team designs, build and run the building. The idea of the hospital was to create a visionary mental health hospital with 91 beds, children’s ambulatory, psychiatric ER and ECT. The background for the project is a regional focus on outpatient treatment. Thus, the new hospital supports treatment of patients with intensive and complex behavioral conditions which require hospitalization. A primary design focus has been on a visionary healthcare design which encourages physical activity and minimalizes forceful intervention.

▼山脚下的医院,The hospital is gently placed at the bottom of a forest covered hillside

“能够得这个奖,我们非常自豪,这证明我们在设计医院是的决策是正确的。在设计过程中,我们始终致力于为患者和员工创造最佳环境。我们设计了一家专注于患者健康的精神病院,同时,在这个项目里,我们尽我们所能去做真正的疗养建筑。实现的方法就是——确保整个医院内的都有漫射光,距离自然和室外空间不远,便于观察的透明病房,以及精心设计的平面布局。”Arkitema建筑事务所的高级合伙人Wilhelm Berner-Nielsen说。

“We are very proud of receiving this award, which proves that we made the right decisions, when we designed the hospital. During the design process our focus was always to create the best possible surroundings for patients as well as employees. We have created a psychiatric hospital which focuses on the patients’ wellbeing, and where we have done our best to create truly healing architecture. This is done by ensuring amble light throughout the building, easy access to nature and outdoor spaces, transparent wards with easy overviews, and a well thought layout,” says senior partner in Arkitema Architects, Wilhelm Berner-Nielsen.



In the layout extroverted functions such as ER reception and children’s psychiatry are located as inviting units upon arrival, while wards are withdrawn within the building. The enclosed First floor links administration and discreet patient transport in a ring structure which expresses a spatial division and forms a clear hierarchical façade.

▼立面细部,façade detail


The hospital is gently placed at the bottom of a forest covered hillside. The plan layout is made up by smaller square masonry building units that twist from another, which makes room for prolonging the surrounding nature in to the spaces between the buildings. The building break down the scale, merge with the landscape and thereby match the surroundings.To ensure the full outcome of lights healing effect on psychiatric patients the architects have designed the building with special focus on both natural and artificial light. Glass panels and interior courtyards bring ample daylight in to the building. Withdrawn ceilings and interior glass help light extend even further through the building. Furthermore 24 hours colored light therapy is integrated in the wards for calming recovery, sleep support, elimination of depression and preservation of a natural circadian rhythm for staff and patients.

▼室内概览,interior view

▼玻璃窗和中庭为建筑带来了充足的阳光,Glass panels and interior courtyards bring ample daylight in to the building

▼室内运动场地,sports venue

“我们的目标,自始至终就是,设计出能给人们带来一些不同的建筑,而Vegle精神病院真正实现了我们的雄心壮志。我们一直致力于拓展、完善有关早期医疗项目的知识,并且通过我们的设计成功减少了身体约束的使用。我认为这项重大成果是我们获奖的原因之一。这就表明建筑学不是只注重美学方面,还关乎要设计对使用者产生影响的建筑。” Wilhelm Berner-Nielsen如是强调道。

“Our ambition is always to design architecture that makes a difference to people, and that ambition is truly met at Vejle Psyciatric Hospital. We are constantly working on developing and refining out knowledge from earlier health projects, where we’ve also succeeded in reducing restraint through our architecture. I’m convinced that the measurable result is part of the reason why we won the award. It underlines that architecture is not just focusing on aesthetics but also creating buildings that have an effect on the people using them,” underlines Wilhelm Berner-Nielsen.



Address: Nordbanen 5, Vejle, Denmark
Year: 2014-2017
Size: 17.000 m2
Client: Region of Southern Denmark
Architect: Arkitema Architects
Engineer: MT Højgaard and MOE
Contractor: MT Højgaard
Landscape: Arkitema Urban

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