Steno Diabetes Center Copenhagen

  • Client

    Capital Region of Denmark and Novo Nordisk Foundation

  • Collaborators

    Mikkelsen Arkitekter, COWI A/S, Sted

  • Location

    Herlev Hospital, Denmark

  • Area

    18,200 m2

  • Status

    Completed in 2021

  • Award

    MIPIM Best Healthcare Development Nominee (2022)

  • Competition

    First Prize

Re-defining sickness and health through architecture

Steno Diabetes Center Copenhagen is Northern Europe's largest hospital for prevention and treatment of diabetes. It redefines the way we perceive sickness and health, as it is draws on the science behind how architecture combined with nature can be used not only to treat, but also to prevent and educate.

Designed in cooperation with users, the hospital incorporates warm materials, strategic flows and daylight. It is organised around a large two-storey garden with six smaller lush courtyards, with a public rooftop garden. The anodised aluminium façade frame has large glass sections that break the boundary between indoor and outdoor.

Studies show, that traditional hospital settings can make even healthy patients feel ill and weaken them physically and emotionally. Steno Diabetes Center Copenhagen is Northern Europe's largest hospital for prevention and treatment of diabetes. It redefines the way we perceive sickness and health, as it is draws on the science behind how architecture combined with nature can be used not only to treat, but also to prevent and educate.

Designed in cooperation with users, the hospital incorporates strategic flows, daylight and warm materials with the building and garden landscapes closely interwoven in a biophilic design. Studies show, that people who spend time in green spaces are more likely to report good health, thus it is organised around a large two-storey garden with six smaller lush courtyards and a public rooftop garden – a biodiversity-hub with a varied vegetation providing a calm and educational space. Here, the exterior encourage physical activity and the interior support healing and education.

Upon arrival, a lush and undulating landscape greets visitors as concrete in-situ cast pavements nudge naturally towards the entrance on the right and the grand staircase on the left that invites visitors to ascend to the public rooftop garden.

Inside, on the ground floor all common- and waiting areas have been rethought so the architecture itself promotes a healthy lifestyle and convert waiting time to active time around the themes of diet, exercise, and education. The large glass sections of the anodised aluminium façade frame break the boundary between indoor and outdoor. Warm wooden floors and ceilings serve as primary interior material as studies show that wooden interior reduces stress.