Designing a Forensic Psychiatric Clinic is one of the most challenging and complex tasks an architect can take on. High demands on safety, fire, details, healthcare environment, patient – caretaker relations, and the relationship with society as a whole, present a complexity seldom shared in other architectural projects. With “Helix”, we have merged our healthcare expertise with our knowledge of safety and logistics from courts and prisons. Throughout the entirety of the project we have had continuous dialogue with the users, builders, and entrepreneurs. Thousands of people will at the end of the project have worked towards the same goal and with a precise understanding of the environment in order not to jeopardize employee and patient safety. The dedication from all involved has led to a high precision and quality throughout the construction period of the building.
In order to design a modern healthcare and working environment we have had four main focal points:
The first focal point is to organize the logistics. The program encourages collaboration between coworkers and also separates certain patient groups that are not meant to meet. Main arteries and meeting points such as the gallery, employee courtyard, stairwells, and ward-offices have been designed with extra care.
The second is to design a patient environment that is calm, clear, and very robust. Much care has been placed on details, materials, and technical installations. Natural materials have been used as much as possible, where their qualities strengthen the characteristics of each room. For example, the concrete has a relief pattern rather than painted, panels are completely colored throughout, and doors are dressed in oak veneer.
The third is to create a social environment for the daily life that will take place in the building. The shared facilities within the wards are places for a variety of social programs and ongoing activities. Oversight is carefully weighed with integrity. With the same attention as patient care facilities, the employee courtyard is made into a meeting place for conversation, work, and rest.
The fourth focal point is nature. The basis for this is the placement of the building between islands of rock and forest, as well as the far reaching views above the surrounding concrete wall. Within scientific research for healthcare buildings there is clear documentation on the positive effects that nature has on the recovery and wellbeing of patients. For this reason there are views towards all directions, window frames with benches, and possibilities to be outside in safe balconies, park benches, and passages for promenades through the forest. Now we look forward to seeing the opening of the clinic as well as observing it being used.