A sense of presence in natural materials

Livsrum in Herlev is a cancer counselling centre, and one of a number of such centres located all over Denmark. The building was constructed as a neighbour to Herlev Hospital, but it relates more toward inner green space and features a more intimate scale.

Sound-absorbing acoustic ceilings from Troldtekt ensure an optimum sound environment for all activities in cancer counselling centre designed by CORNELIUS VÖGE Atelier
Photo: Helene Høyer Mikkelsen

The Danish Cancer Society welcomes citizens to Livsrum whether they are undergoing cancer treatment, have recovered from cancer or are relatives of a person with cancer. For users, Livsrum represents a haven away from the white coats and examinations associated with the hospital.

Volunteers offer informal chats, but the centre also provides services such as talks with psychologists, counselling and training in the ‘Body and Cancer’ course.

The numerous functions of the building also require many types of spatiality, which architectural studio Cornelius Vöge has succeeded in assembling a dynamic floor plan where green courtyards and roof terraces provide airiness and a sense of spatial presence.

The healing force of wood

In the centre of the building, which is a double-height room with a black long table, you get a sense of the entire building’s character. Wood is a recurring material; as block flooring throughout much of the building, as fixtures in niches, kitchens, windowsills, as strips near protective barriers and as ceiling mouldings.

Wood appears here as a raw material and suggests qualities as universal as nature and comfort. Concrete walls and black doors, mouldings and other details create an exceptionally fine balance and a framework for presence.

In order to achieve good acoustics and ensure that training can be conducted in one room and private conversations in other rooms, Troldtekt acoustic ceilings were chosen for all rooms, which also underpins the approach to using honest materials in the centre.

Throughout Livsrum, you will find refined, well-considered details that testify to architecture with a sense of presence at every level.