Finnish firm Verstas Architects has been awarded first place in a competition for the expansion of Finland's Lapland central hospital for their design of a functional complex of "healing architecture." Responding to the challenge of Finland's aging population and changes in municipal funding, the winning proposal reflects the "hospital of tomorrow," creating a flexible and functional space in conversation with its urban surrounds.
Adapting the 1970s and 80s approach to hospitals that focused on modularity and centralized operations, Lapland Central Hospital takes a flexible approach to patient wards. Comfort and light are given prime consideration, with glass and timber wards gently easing into their natural context. An inner boulevard connects each of the successive treatment spaces, and functions as a central public space.
"The aim has been to create a complex that encourages to get better [sic.]," said architect Riina Palva. "The baseline of the design process is in patient comfort, but also on the usability and transformability of spaces." This approach is reflected in the building's well-lit interior, in which spaces are clustered and arranged according to function. Wards and treatment spaces are interconnected with comfortable waiting lounges that offer views of the surrounding nature, with "the best vies and light... reserved for the areas where people spend the most time." Externally, a modular facade complements the reconfigurable interior.
The 39,000-square-meter extension will also include a series of rooms for child patients, with each featuring a terrace overlooking a "peaceful yard area." Surrounding landscaping will "[bring] a sense of nature and stimulation to patients," in conjunction with timber used throughout the internal and external structure and cladding. Other facilities will include public service points in each of the extension's new lobbies, a new emergency unit, a psychiatric unit, and outpatient clinics.
"A hospital should be a part of the city, not an inaccessible fortress," said architect Väinö Nikkilä, "We have aimed to create a flexible overall vision for developing the whole Central Hospital Campus."
Lapland Central Hospital will remain fully functional through the construction process, the first phase of which is due for completion in 2020.
ArchitectsVerstas Architects Ltd
Location96100 Rovaniemi, Finland
Project ArchitectsVäinö Nikkilä, Jussi Palva, Riina Palva and Ilkka Salminen
PhotographsCourtesy of Verstas Architects