Atmospheric proposal for new psychiatric hospital

WE Architecture creates a village-like motif in Ballerup with modest buildings surrounding a green space for a holistic approach to therapy

The word ‘institutional’ doesn’t come to mind when looking at the renderings for the new psychiatric hospital designed by CREO and WE Architecture – one of three finalists in the new treatment centre for eating disorders. On the contrary, the gabled roofs and human scale make the clinic seem more like a co-housing community than a ward. The winning design for the hospital in Ballerup responds to its surrounding environment by being both compact and airy. According to the jury, the low-density proposal is “reminiscent of a small village…[and] fits the extension subtly and respectfully into the existing context”.


WE states: “The proposal for the new Psychiatric Centre Ballerup is based on a humanistic approach. The ambition is to create a tranquil space for a vulnerable group of patients and relatives combined with an optimal framework for the staff”. There is something to the pastoral quality of the center that seems conducive to treating its patients while providing an infrastructure for its staff. A clear dialogue between the integration of openness to the functionality of the building is seen as the architecture is subdivided into smaller sections that are arranged in a checkerboard-like pattern, each with a designated garden.


In the words of the architect, the proposal of the complex dealt with the following four tenets:

A sympathetic center that is broken down in scale.
A dignified center with the patient in focus.
A diverse center with an array of different interior and exterior spaces
An inspiring building complex where everyone has access to light, air and green outdoor spaces.


The facility is divided into six areas: a lobby, a day unit, an overnight or bed care unit, an outpatient clinic, a common outpatient centre, and a research facility. The renderings portray a safe and inviting community which, despite being remote, its setting in a fertile landscape provides a serenity that can be viewed from large windows and balconies.


An interior rending shows the warming and well-lit ambience of one of the clinics. The jury concludes: “the downplayed choice of materials witnesses a high level of detailing at the current state as well as a great level of understanding of discrete and downplayed architectural and aesthetical effects. The building is fitted both in an unobtrusive and low-keyed manner into the existing structure and adds a contemporary and emphatic architectural expression”. M



By Samer Khudairi

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