Aurora is the title of Henning Larsen Architects’s entry for the new university hospital in Odense, Denmark. It was recently named among the three finalists. The iconic building complex provides an ideal framework for quality healthcare in the region of southern Denmark. The new Odense University Hospital (OUH) embodies an innovative building of high architectural quality, designed to meet the requirements and challenges of tomorrow. Like the goddess Aurora, the hospital finds renewal in the transition between old and new – and the conversion from tradition to modernity. The human scale supports the conception of the hospital as ”the good host” and a place where patients and visitors can easily orient themselves and feel at home. When approaching Aurora, you are met by an inviting and recognizable urban scale, where the complex is divided into varied units with each their clear entrance and reception area.
The individual is in focus in the circular city structure whose ground plan meets the requirements for a highly efficient, flexible and future-proof hospital and at the same time meets the employees, patients and other users where they are and with a high degree of respect. The New Odense University Hospital and Faculty of Health Sciences connect ”The Large House” with ”The City Quarters”. “The Large House” constitutes a continuous building stock with short distances, and ”The City Quarters” are made up of distinctive building units and intimate outdoor spaces. Diagnostic and treatment functions are placed in the lower, continuous floors constituting ”The Large House”, while the wards and outpatient clinics are located in the upper, detached building volumes.
The New OUH and Faculty of Health Sciences are situated in a very special location in Odense – close to the city center but, at the same time, in a scenic landscape with dense old forests, extensive fields, hedges, ponds and channels. In this proposal the hospital constitutes a compact building stock with effective logistics and great flexibility as regards future extensions. The western part of the landscape will remain undeveloped to maintain and enhance the experience of the extensive Funen countryside. The densely built-up area provides a large open space with great recreational potential.
Rainwater from the roofs and impermeable areas is used locally to create new natural experiences and added value in the hospital area. The large wet meadow with large and small lakes creates a natural connection between the university and New OUH. The landscape design as a whole enhances the natural slope of the countryside and supports the drainage of surface water to the wetland and Killerup Rende.
Aurora has an open ring shape that opens up to the north-west and Killerup Rende and embraces the extensive countryside with wet meadows all the way into the middle of the new building stock. Here, the buildings are reflected in the clear rainwater, surrounded by flowering meadows and a rich animal life, including birds, amphibians and grazing sheep. The height of the tallest buildings equals the one of the old forests and the characteristic cultivated fields outside the built-up area are preserved.
The landscapes offering the most peace and safety are wild, watery and have a great biodiversity of animals and plants. The healing effect is created by the sensuous experience of the green luxuriance of the leaves, the colors of the flowers, the smell of the mold, the rippling of the water, the chirping of the birds and the humming insects. Hence, these qualities have been essential in the design of the landscape surrounding the New OUH.
Three overall elements have been in focus in the landscape design process, all of which offer their own individual scale and composition of plants: the wet meadows, the apple grove and the adjacent outdoor spaces made up of small but extremely varied areas. The path Æblestien is preserved. It stretches from the Hollufgård estate to the Science Park and is an old dike considered as an important cultural historical heritage.
Aurora is based on the holistic objective of creating simple, uncomplicated connections between buildings, people and nature. The project has focus on achieving a sustainable balance between people, nature and economy and thus a durable platform for further development.
The highest possible value is generated by applying synergy-creating tools. Aurora will be certified according to the leading certification system worldwide – the German DNGB system. The system covers a broad range of criteria ranging from indoor climate through process management to the environmental impact of materials, from production to decomposition. DGNB ensures a vast overview of the resource consumption of the entire area.
The project is based on a sustainable bottom line consisting of three parts: social, economic and environmental sustainability. It takes social responsibility for the area in which it is built by applying local resources and having focus on the recreational opportunities of both users and neighbors.
Economically, Aurora builds on a generic construction principle with emphasis on minimizing waste in production and utility maximizing the overall investment by means of a value-creating physical framework, growth and new cross-disciplinary synergies. Not least, Aurora will become a textbook example in the field of environmental sustainability as regards an environmentally responsible selection of materials, rainwater and waste treatment, transport and logistics, room acoustics and the integration of recreational areas and existing landscape resources.
Architect: Henning Larsen Architects
Location: Odense, Denmark
Project Area: 234,000 sqm
Project Year: 2011 – 2011
Consortium: Henning Larsen Architects, Friis & Moltke, TKT, Cowi and Rambøll Denmark
Landscape architect: SLA and NNE Pharmaplan