Esbjerg Psychiatric Hospital

Extensive rethinking of psychiatric department

Designing architecture for psychiatric patients focuses on helping people achieve a better life. For patients to achieve a better life, the psychiatric environment must be safe and well-arranged and provide easy access to green spaces. Furthermore, the building must also be a functional and transparent workplace for the staff.
  • Region Syddanmark
  • Rambøll
  • Location
    Gammel Vardevej 101, Esbjerg
  • Year
    2012 - 2014
  • Size
    13.100 m²
  • Architect
  • Landscape
Arkitema Esbjergpsyk1 Photo web
Arkitema Esbjergpsyk1164 Photo web

At Esbjerg Psychiatric Hospital, we added new buildings and extended existing buildings, which previously consisted of narrow corridors on multiple storeys and offered poor transparency for staff as well as patients. Therefore, the aim was to replace a rather closed building with a far more open building. As a consequence, the new facilities were designed as a single-storey building with a wide main corridor connecting the new and the existing bed units at either side of the former main building. The whole building now appears light and welcoming, but also with a compact structure connected by the main corridor, which contains all common rooms and activity rooms. Our focus has been on securing optimum location of security services and dimensioning of corridors and common areas designed with this patient group in mind. Moreover, we have rethought the transition from private to public space. Now, there is transparency and it is possible to see across rooms and sections. At the same time, several courtyards ensure easy access to the open – from the open as well as the locked sections.

Arkitema Esbjerg Psykiatri 001 web
Transparency makes it possible to see across rooms and sections

The extensive rethinking of Esbjerg psychiatric department proved to have a positive effect on patients already six months after the renovation. With the new organisation of psychiatry and an architecture that prioritises functionality, light, transparency, and access to the open, studies revealed a drastic decline in the use of force and an even larger decline in the need for medication. In this way, Esbjerg Psychiatric Hospital is an example of how architecture can have a healing effect on individuals and help people achieve a better life.

Esbjerg Psychiatric Hospital was designed with input from the organisation in relation to designing a safe, secure, and transparent environment.

Arkitema Esbjergpsyk1104 Photo web
Arkitema Esbjergpsyk1210 Photo web
Arkitema Esbjergpsyk0792 Photo web

From our collaborators

  • Everybody is surprised by the effect of the new building. The large glass sections allow us to intervene faster if a situation is escalating. Everyone knows that surroundings affect well-being and healing. To me personally, I feel safer and my job satisfaction has gone up since the use of physical restraint has gone down.
    — Anne-Grethe Borch Lauridsen, Functional Manager, Esbjerg Psychiatric Hospital