Home visit— Copenhagen


The origami roof of the new Center for Cancer and Health suggests that this is no ordinary hospital. Nord Architects Copenhagen has achieved a design leap by creating a leafy courtyard and comfortable interiors.

Nord Architects, Nørrebro, Care, Health, Hospital, Medicine

Going to any medical institution is an uncomfortable experience regardless of whether you’re the patient. For buildings designed to heal, it’s remarkable that so little priority is given to the emotional impact of the interiors beyond the odd superficial wall mural. Picture a hospital and you imagine flickering fluorescent strip lighting, sterile corridors that smell of formaldehyde and stuffy waiting rooms with muted television sets. But it’s not the case at Copenhagen’s new Center for Cancer and Health.

Just across from the brutalist Faculty of…

  1. Windows
    The windows in the training area and lecture hall face north to harness as much natural light as possible, taking into account Denmark’s short daylight hours in winter.

  2. Materials
    The materials are easy to clean, durable and tactile – the kind associated more with domestic architecture than hospitals.

  3. Interiors
    Domestic rather than contract furniture makes the centre feel more like a home than an institution.

  4. Spatial arrangement
    Rooms are laid out in a way that promotes social engagement between patients but also provide secluded spaces for privacy.

  5. Kitchen
    Cooking courses are offered – food is very important because during chemotherapy patients lose their appetite.

Architect CV

  • 2003 - Nord Architects Copenhagen founded
  • 2009 - Complete the Natural Science Center, Bjerringbro
  • 2011 - Natural Science Center nominated for the biennial Mies van der Rohe architecture prize
  • 2012 - Win the competition to develop a masterplan for the Bispebjerg hospital
  • 2012 - Co-curate the Danish pavilion show “A Possible Greenland” at the Venice Architecture Biennale

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