Design practice Snøhetta has created a series of secluded wooden shelters for Norway's largest hospitals. Sited in the forest, the shelters were created on behalf of the Friluftssykehuset Foundation. Designed to make hospitalization easier for patients and their families, the outdoor retreats offer a physical and psychological respite from treatments and the isolation that can follow long-term hospitalization.
Located near Sognsvann creek, the Outdoor Care Retreat is only a hundred meters from the entrance of Norway’s largest hospital, Oslo University Hospital, Rikshospitalet. Its sister building is situated in the deciduous woodland by Sørlandet Hospital Kristiansand in the South of Norway, between oak trees and birch, overlooking a nearby pond. Originally developed in collaboration with the Department of Psychosomatics and CL-Child Psychiatry at Oslo University Hospital, the Outdoor Care Retreat provides a peaceful space where visitors can benefit from the therapeutic qualities of nature.
"Nature provides spontaneous joy and helps patients relax. Being in natural surroundings brings them a renewed calm that they can bring back with them into the hospital. In this sense, the Outdoor Care Retreat helps motivate patients to get through treatment and contribute to better disease management", states children’s psychologist Maren Østvold Lindheim at the Oslo University Hospital, one of the initiators of the project. The space can be used for treatment and contemplation, and for spending time with relatives and friends away from the hospital corridors.