In the realm of architectural innovation, the triumphant collaboration of Henning Larsen Architects, Friis & Moltke, Brunsgaard & Laursen, NNE Pharmaplan, Orbicon Leif Hansen, Norconsult, and the esteemed SLA, led by the visionary Stig L. Andersson, has secured victory in the competition for the expansion of Herlev Hospital, just on the outskirts of Copenhagen. This triumph, announced on April 12, is the culmination of a journey that began with an international launch in December 2009, whittling down to five consortiums in May 2010, with the winning proposal unveiling a landscape-infused architectural marvel.

The essence of this groundbreaking design lies in the transformative power of nature, spearheaded by Stig L. Andersson, whose reputation for crafting urban spaces that embody the essence of nature rather than mere imitation is truly admirable. The ensemble of architects, engineers, and consultants, including the likes of Henning Larsen Architects, Friis & Moltke, Brunsgaard & Laursen, NNE Pharmaplan, Orbicon Leif Hansen, Norconsult, and SLA, presents a collective vision that promises to redefine the paradigm of healthcare architecture.

The envisaged extension to Herlev Hospital, spanning an impressive 52,000 square meters, emerges as a harmonious interplay of circular structures atop rectangular foundations. This innovative arrangement not only adds a touch of architectural flair but also gives rise to inviting outdoor spaces, a departure from the conventional large-scale hospital structures. The design, a contrast to the existing hospital’s towering rectangular geometry, introduces a more intimate and compressed atmosphere, fostering a sense of community within the healthcare environment.

Delving into the architectural narrative, the project features three circular buildings strategically placed on rectangular bases, creating an array of enticing outdoor spaces. This design shift transforms the hospital from a colossal structure devoid of outdoor areas to a dynamic, built-up expanse offering diverse elements and engaging outdoor environments. A play of contrasting geometries within separate building volumes adds an inspirational touch, blending seamlessly with the existing structuralist building and harmonizing with the surrounding scale.

Moving beyond bricks and mortar, the landscape architects of SLA weave a narrative of healing and rejuvenation into the very fabric of the hospital’s surroundings. Luxuriant courtyards, green roof gardens, and a sprawling central green heart interlace with the built environment, fostering a vibrant and life-affirming atmosphere. The outdoor spaces, meticulously designed to appeal to all senses, integrate water elements that range from water particles to serene pools. This deliberate design ensures that the landscape functions as a series of ever-changing “pictures,” harmonizing with the rhythm of the hospital and the evolving seasons.

Stig L. Andersson, the Creative Director at SLA, underscores the significance of nature in the healing process, envisioning Herlev Hospital as a lush, green sanctuary where patients not only feel better than the norm but also experience expedited recovery. The design philosophy extends beyond the mere physical structure; it aspires to create a sensory hospital, where the symbiosis between architecture and nature fosters a welcoming, clear, worthy, and sensuous setting for patients, relatives, and staff. The competition-winning proposal is not merely an architectural feat but a testament to an ambitious vision for healing architecture that goes above and beyond conventional norms.

The extension of Herlev Hospital is not just a structural addition; it represents a paradigm shift in healthcare architecture, blending architectural and spatial excellence with a holistic focus on the individual. Henning Larsen Architects, at the forefront of hospital design, emphasizes the importance of worthy and inspiring spaces that contribute positively to the recovery process. As the project takes shape, it promises to be a beacon of architectural innovation and a testament to the transformative power of thoughtful design in healthcare.

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