Light, air and nature are key for healing architecture

The new Mental Health Centre Sct. Hans in Roskilde on Zealand is designed to have a healing effect on patients, as improved well-being leads to shorter treatment periods.

Photo: Helene Høyer Mikkelsen

The 21,000-square-metre new complex is located close to the rest of the Sct. Hans Hospital in Roskilde, but on a sloping plot, with the buildings accommodating the approx. 12-metre drop. 

The site is divided up into four one-storey units, and with three courtyards at the centre of each unit. Between the units is a large garden, which is intended to be used by the patients for many types of activities. The activity garden also provides views of the surrounding landscape.

There are also views of the landscape from all 126 one-bed wards. Having good visual contact with their surroundings is important for the patients’ well-being, and the terraced facility comes across as an example of coherent architecture which is in dialogue with its historical environment. 

Important activity rooms

The individual wards are ingeniously designed, and characterised by a strong focus on daylight and calm and peaceful interiors. However, unlike in the past, one of the priorities at the new mental health facility has been ensuring numerous activity options for patients – such as several different types of workshops, gyms and therapy baths.

Troldtekt acoustic panels have been chosen for the ceilings in all the communal areas and activity rooms, which ensures good acoustics and a textural surface. In the therapy baths, a muted, grey colour has been selected to give the room a unique feel. In the other rooms, a non-standard colour has been chosen, which helps to visually tie the corridors and other facilities together.

For both patients and staff, it is very positive that the corridors are closely integrated with the courtyards, which means that the spaces are filled with daylight to make them part of the communal areas.