Steno Diabetes Center Copenhagen / Vilhelm Lauritzen Architects + Mikkelsen Architects + STED

Architects: Mikkelsen Architects, STED, Vilhelm Lauritzen Architects
Area: 18,200 m²
Year: 2021
Photography: Sjavit Maestro, Rasmus Hjortshøj
Manufacturers: HS Hansen
Landscape: STED
Partners: Thomas West Jensen, Stig Mikkelsen, Daniel Illum-Davis
Lead Landscape And Urban Planning: Martin Hjerl
Lead Architects: Rikke Steinicke, Lotte Bigom-Eriksen
Architecture: Vilhelm Lauritzen Architects, Mikkelsen Architects
Engineer: COWI A/S
Program / Use / Building Function: Diabetes Hospital
City: Herlev
Country: Denmark

Steno Diabetes Center Copenhagen (SDCC), designed by Vilhelm Lauritzen Architects, Mikkelsen Architects, and STED in Herlev, Denmark, redefines healthcare architecture by integrating nature into the design. Completed in 2021, this 18,200 m² hospital focuses on diabetes prevention and treatment, emphasizing user involvement, biophilic design, and a symbiotic relationship between indoor and outdoor spaces.

Steno diabetes center copenhagen / vilhelm lauritzen architects + mikkelsen architects + sted

Steno Diabetes Center Copenhagen (SDCC) is Northern Europe’s largest hospital for the prevention and treatment of diabetes. The design redefines how we perceive sickness and health, utilizing the science behind architecture combined with nature to treat, prevent, and educate. Designed in cooperation with users, the hospital incorporates warm materials, strategic flows, and daylight. It is organized around a large two-story garden with six smaller lush courtyards and a public rooftop garden. The anodized aluminum façade frame has large glass sections that break the boundary between indoors and outdoors.

Studies show that traditional hospital settings can make healthy patients feel ill and weaken them physically and emotionally. Therefore, user involvement has been the common thread throughout the creation of SDCC, emphasizing a pleasant experience in all stages of arrival, waiting, and consultation. The design rethinks common areas, converting waiting time to active time and supporting a natural flow of activities around diet, exercise, and new knowledge.

The building and garden landscapes at SDCC are closely interwoven in a biophilic design, creating a symbiosis between inside and out. Research shows that nature positively affects both mental and physical well-being. Therefore, the omnipresence of nature is a key architectural element at SDCC, serving as an integrated part of the treatment and the promotion of a healthy lifestyle.

People who spend time in green spaces are more likely to report good health, thus SDCC is designed around nature with the landscape visible everywhere. Warm wooden floors and ceilings serve as primary interior material as studies show that wooden interiors reduce stress. The green spaces represent a biodiversity hub with varied vegetation providing a calm and educational space. The design of SDCC rests on the values of democracy as a place that embraces nature and the diversity and equality that life constitutes. It is a hospital that, by virtue of its scale, materiality, and atmosphere at all levels, puts the human at the center.

Upon arrival, a lush and undulating landscape greets visitors who enter through the main entrance. Concrete in-situ cast pavements nudge naturally towards the grand staircase that invites visitors to ascend to the public rooftop garden. The garden is a biodiversity hub open for everyone to enjoy 24 hours, seven days a week. SDCC is embedded into the geometrical context of the Herlev Hospital grounds of the capital region, providing an easily accessible point of arrival. Visitors who arrive by car can use the SDCC building’s underground car park with 241 spaces or the spacious parking lot by the main entrance.

Project Gallery
Project Location

Address: 83 Mayor Ib Juuls Road, 2730 Herlev, Denmark

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