Norwegian newspaper praises the "architectural care" of Haukeland children's and youth hospital
19 April 2022
Bergens Tidende's architecture critic has visited the soon-to-be-completed children's hospital in Bergen, and the verdict is clear: "This is what sick children and women in labour deserve".
"The exterior is clear, clean and logical."
Haukeland Children's and Adolescent Hospital is designed and built in two stages, the first of which has been in use since 2016, while the last is expected to be completed next year. The building consists of four narrow houses with glass facades, which has given the hospital the nickname "The Glass Blocks".
"The exterior is clear, clean and logical", writes architecture critic Anders Rubing from the Norwegian media Bergens Tidende. "The spaces become visual axes when you see the building from the outside" and "the slate creates fine spatial experiences (...and) shows a lasting quality".
A building with green lungs
The work has been focused on using nature as part of the healing architecture of the building. "Between the slats there are small parks that act as green lungs," explains Anders Rubing.
In his view, the aesthetic green spaces intended to mimic the surrounding nature are rather the Danish architects' interpretation of Norwegian nature. But that's not necessarily a drawback: "I'm ambivalent about whether I want to see more real 'nature' in the park space or more Danish design in nature," he concludes.
The glass façade democratises views
Is it a good idea to have floor-to-ceiling windows in a hospital? asks the reviewer.
"Given that this is the children's part of the hospital, it makes sense to have windows down to the floor. It's a democratisation because children and adults, bedridden, wheelchair-bound and walking will have the same view."
However, flexible and permanent shielding is envisaged: "Fixed protection for views from the glass bridges via aluminium slats instead of relying on technology is a fine architectural gesture."
The architecture supports logistics and care
"The fact that they have learned from existing needs and made good logistics is clear. It's just as good to see that you let it play with the architecture."
"The areas without technology are where care for both patients and staff becomes most evident in the architecture. (...) "Care is also consideration of details such as materials and maintenance."
We do not know the future requirements for the architecture
No one knows what future demands hospital architecture will make, and Anders Rubing notes that in times of threats and war, concrete may be more reassuring than glass blocks.
"However, I have more faith in the good architectural hospital experience in the glass blocks (..). All sick children and women in childbirth and maternity deserve that," concludes Anders Rubing.