Competition Winner: Light and Gardens to Psychiatric Patients

​The winner of the architecture competition for New Mental Health Bispebjerg is a team led by Danish architects Friis & Moltke and PLH Arkitekter. The project will be one of the largest mental health facilities in Denmark and will allow free access for all patients to activity gardens.

All bed wards have direct access to inner gardens, and the gardens are surrounded by one storey buildings which ensures good lighting conditions. Illustration: Friis & Moltke and PLH Arkitekter.

​The largest mental health facility in Eastern Denmark is to be built on the historical site of Bispebjerg Hospital, North of Copenhagen. It will be formed as a row of rectangular houses with inner gardens. In a rhythmical movement they follow the landscape. This was disclosed on 3 February when Friis & Moltke A/S and PLH Arkitekter A/S with sub-contractors Søren Jensen A/S, Sintef A/S and Møller & Grønborg A/S were declared the winners of the architecture competition for New Mental Health Bispebjerg, a part of the Capital Region of Denmark. 

Each of the three building sections is angled slightly which adds variation to the project. Illustration: Friis & Moltke and PLH Arkitekter.​

​​Access to gardens

An important objective for the competition was to ensure that all patients get access to green activity gardens. The winning project has solved this quite elegantly. The two levels of the buildings are shifted so that both floors have direct access to the gardens. Consequently all inner gardens are surrounded by only one-storey buildings, which ensures good lighting conditions.

"The human considerations are comprehensive when designing a mental health facility, because the patients are admitted for a much longer period than in a general hospital. The access to green surroundings and feeling secure play an entirely different role in a hospital for the psyche than it does in a general hospital," says Chairman of the Regional Council Sophie Hæstorp Andersen (S).

​Second largest facility in Denmark

New Mental Health Bispebjerg will unify Mental Health Center Copenhagen on one location. The construction will be erected in the North-East corner of Bispebjerg Hospital. Furthermore an existing part of the hospital will be renovated to accommodate the outpatient clinics of the mental health facility. With 23,750 square metres of new construction and 200 patient rooms new Mental Health Bispebjerg is the second largest facility in Denmark, and the chairman of the regional council is proud of the project:

"The project gives not only the patients but also the staff a greater feeling of security, clarity and safety. I am very pleased that we are able to give the mental health services a much needed improvement."

New Mental Health Bispebjerg will have a human scale, which fits well with the existing historical Bispebjerg Hospital. Illustration: Friis & Moltke and PLH Arkitekter.​​

​Better for patients and staff

The core values for Mental Health Center Copenhagen are openness, accessibility, and choices. The competition reflects these values and the architecture and organization must support effective ways of working. The aim is to offer coherent and high quality care for patients, thus attracting the most skilled employees.

Senior Project Manager, Gert Bonde Harup, from New Mental Health Bispebjerg is very content with the result:

"The winning project offers solutions in which design, progress and choice of material support and inspire the planned activities to a high degree. As an example, one of the inner gardens is designed for patients to do training and other activities," he says and continues:

"Optimal functional connections between the individual bed units, wards and office facilities make it simple for the staff to work across wards and units. This works on the same floor as well as on the floor above or below via the internal staff staircase. This leads to high flexibility and security for the personnel."

In the following years the project will be adapted and adjusted in close dialogue with the users. The construction is scheduled to begin in 2018.

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