White Arkitekter’s Design for Nuuk’s Psychiatric Clinic Emphasizes Nature in Mental Health Design
The built atmosphere in which we live has a profound impact on our mood and well-being. For those with mental health issues, this fact is particularly important to understand. This raises the question: can architects successfully design a space that has an overall positive influence on the healing process? What integrated elements of the building, in particular, aid in the process while fighting the prejudice and stigma of mental health issues?
In designing the 35,521 square-foot building, the White Arkitekter design team chose to emphasize the beauty of Greenland’s natural landscape and create a tranquil atmosphere with a strong connection to the hospital’s surroundings. By analyzing and recognizing the impact of architecture on the hospital’s patients, the design team has attempted to create a calm, healing environment for its visitors.
Many of the main gathering areas throughout the structure, such as the atrium, will be transitional spaces that meld the protection of a confined space with the beauty and clarity of the landscape. These flexible spaces are catered to various activities including family and friend visits, exercise, and personal reflection.
For many, the stereotypical psychiatric facility may conjure up images of sequestered, enclosed spaces. But White Arkitekter emphasized the importance of natural light in interior spaces. Patient’s quarters were designed with generous windows, providing breathtaking views of the landscape and an abundance of natural light in most rooms. The architect has also chosen to emphasize wood, a natural material, throughout the design due to its proven stress-reducing effect on the human psyche.