AART wins competition for psychiatric unit with emphasis on the healing impact of nature

psychiatric unit

The built environments in which we live has a profound impact on our mood and well-being, and particularly for those with mental health issues. It is with this impact-based approach to architecture that the Danish architecture practice AART has won the public-private competition to design the future psychiatric unit at Odense University Hospital (New OUH).

By analyzing and recognizing the link between architecture and nature, the architects have designed a warm and green psychiatric unit that will provide a healing home for a vulnerable group of people with different backgrounds and destinies.

Safe and homely atmosphere
Safety is a keyword in the development of the 20,000 sqm psychiatric unit that will include eight wards with a total of 142 beds. As the psychiatric unit of the future, OUH will provide the best possible framework for people in vulnerable situation.

Here, everything from easy access to nature, the downscaling of the building structure, and the use light and warm materials, such as wood, will lead one’s thoughts away from the traditional, clinical hospital and instead create a safe and homely atmosphere to the patients’ benefit.

Nature’s healing impact
Research show that close contact with nature is vital to the patients’ recovery and the wellbeing of the staff. Thus, easy access to nature is permeated into the development of the psychiatric unit. Here, all wards have easy access and lookout to attached courtyards.

With their different landscapes allow for a wide range of recreational activities in sheltered surroundings. The many courtyards even let daylight get far into the building and are thus a recurring motif no matter where in the building you are, ensuring that the outside is never far away.

Space for different degrees of interaction
The new psychiatric unit is arranged so that different degrees of social interaction are offered for patients, relatives, and staff. From individual private bedrooms and screening niches to open corridors and common rooms, spaces and opportunities have been created for the patient to choose both peace and recovery, but also informal meetings and conversations as needed.

In addition, several rooms and a roof terrace are dedicated to the staff, where they, as the primary support for the patients, can relax and recharge. The project is a part of a public-private partnership by which the project terms, in addition to the design, also include the operation and maintenance of the 20,000 sqm psychiatry building for a period of 20 years. Source by AART.

  • Location: Odense, Denmark
  • Architect: AART
  • Engineer: Niras
  • Landscape advisor: Sundhedslandskab
  • Developer: A. Enggaard
  • Competition: Winning proposal in a public-private partnership by Region Syddanmark
  • Size: 20,000 sqm
  • Year: 2021
  • Images: Courtesy of AART