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A Green Oasis for Healing

The Steno Diabetes Center Copenhagen (SDCC) blends modern architecture with the calming influence of the natural world. The design emphasises a pleasant experience from arrival to waiting and consultation

Steno Diabetes Center Copenhagen (SDCC) stands as the largest hospital in Northern Europe dedicated to diabetes prevention and treatment. It aims to revolutionise the perception of health and illness by harnessing the synergy of architecture and nature not only for healing but also for prevention and education. Developed with the users in mind, the hospital integrates warm materials, a thoughtful layout, and abundant natural light. Its central focus revolves around a sprawling two-storey garden complemented by six smaller courtyards, all crowned by a public rooftop garden. The building’s anodized aluminium façade with generous glass panels blurs the line between indoor and outdoor spaces.

Research has demonstrated that conventional hospital environments can make even healthy patients feel unwell and emotionally drained. Therefore, user engagement has been a guiding principle in the creation of SDCC, emphasising a pleasant experience from arrival to waiting and consultation. The design reimagines common areas, transforming waiting periods into active engagement and facilitating a natural flow of activities related to diet, exercise, and knowledge-sharing.

The architectural design at SDCC deeply intertwines the building with its garden landscapes, embracing a biophilic approach that seamlessly connects interior and exterior spaces. Studies affirm that nature positively impacts both mental and physical well-being. Consequently, nature is an integral part of the treatment process and the promotion of a healthy lifestyle at SDCC. The presence of nature is ubiquitous, with green spaces visible from every vantage point. Warm wooden interiors, known to reduce stress, are the primary material choice for interior spaces.

Green spaces at SDCC serve as hubs for biodiversity, offering a tranquil and educational environment. The design embodies democratic values, emphasizing a harmonious relationship with nature, diversity, and equality, all centred around the well-being of individuals. SDCC, through its scale, materials, and overall atmosphere, places humanity at its core.

Upon arrival, visitors are greeted by a lush and undulating landscape leading from the main entrance. Concrete pavements guide visitors toward the grand staircase, inviting them to ascend to the public rooftop garden. This garden, a haven for biodiversity, is open around the clock, welcoming everyone. SDCC is thoughtfully integrated into the Herlev Hospital grounds in the capital region, ensuring easy accessibility. For those arriving by car, SDCC offers an underground parking facility with 241 spaces, in addition to a spacious parking lot at the main entrance.

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