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Karolinska Hospital, Stockholm, Sweden

The Karolinska Hospital in Stockholm is one of the largest hospitals in Sweden. One of the main concerns for the planners was to provide a calming and warm atmosphere for patients and visitors. 

The thought of going to a hospital makes many people feel uneasy. Architects at studio White in Sweden have therefore made it their goal to design appealing and open medical facilities, in order to relieve stress for visitors and patients. The office has designed hospitals in Sweden and Africa and has been nominated for several awards. 

The Karolinska in Stockholm is one of Sweden's largest hospitals, the extensive expansion of which was concluded in 2018. In designing the new complex, White architects applied architectural principles that have been proven to positively impact the wellbeing of patients. This includes plenty of daylight, natural materials, views and generously proportioned spaces.

The 12-story high-rise design stands out prominently and has its own subway station linking the hospital to Stockholm's public transport network. "Based on a highly patient-centered approach, drawing on extensive research in healthcare innovation and the design of healing environments, the New Karolinska Solna project offers patient facilities and public spaces flooded by natural light that prioritise wellbeing", architect Hans Forsmark says.

The planners value a warm, natural atmosphere, both inside and out. Together with the Swedish concrete processor Benders, the architects discussed creating a façade with structured architectural concrete, approaching RECKLI at the end of 2016. The Swedish representation took responsibility for on-site consultations. "Benders and White Architects asked RECKLI to produce two samples: a smooth structure and a corrugated one", Camilla Elvefors explains. After their appraisal, the architects opted for the smooth surface. 

The corresponding drawings of the structure were sent to the headquarters in Herne, where the templates for the individual formliners were produced on the basis of the sketches. "Benders and White accepted the master from Sweden and the structural formliner was subsequently made in Herne", Elvefors says. RECKLI finally delivered 13 formliners to the concrete service provider. The prefabricated concrete elements for the hospital façade were then fabricated using the flexible formliner inserts. 

A carefully chosen color concept and natural materials – wood, natural stone, granite and white concrete – complement the interior design. Carefully selected works of art set visual highlights; this is one of the largest Swedish art initiatives in a public space. Thus, the architects and interior designers create a pleasant atmosphere far from the sterile hospital experience. 

Each hospital room has large windows that allow a view of the city and maximum natural light. The administrative areas and offices were also designed so that as much daylight flows into the rooms as possible. Generous patient rooms allow examinations on site: Instead of sending patients through the hospital, doctors come to them personally. 

"Planning and design is based on the patient’s safety, integrity and comfort”, the architects say. The furniture is in Scandinavian materials, while glass facades, atriums and green areas set the light and green accents. Thanks to high environmental standards, the University Hospital is one of the most environmentally friendly and sustainable medical facilities in the world.

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