Location: Nuuk, Greenland.

Architect: White Arkitekter AB / DIFK Dipl.-Ing. Florian Kosche / ÅF Engineering AS.

The new psychiatric unit at Dronning Ingrid’s hospital in Nuuk, Greenland, is a purposeful innovation that gathers all of Greenland’s mental health services in one department. The design of the clinic is based on the seven pillars for healing architecture, which includes daylight and contact with nature, to aid recovery and reduce the length of stay. The building is designed to be inviting, open, and have a low threshold, radiating credibility and communicating security for both patients and visitors. The architecture cuts an instantly recognizable figure from both near and afar, echoing the materials and colors of Nuuk. The landscape and the building interact with the environment, and the building opens to provide the most visual contact with the characteristic Greenlandic landscape and nature without compromising the patient’s integrity, safety, and security. The placement of the new building gives the psychiatric clinic and Dronning Ingrids Hospital the opportunity to expand in several ways in the future. The partly prefabricated wood construction ensures simple reorganization of functions in future redeployment of areas in line with new thinking and treatment methods. The design balances visual qualities of its own character with specific elements and materials inspired by the special identity of Greenland, such as the yellow façade to signify health. Sustainability ambitions are high, both for energy and environmental solutions. The partly prefabricated building elements are easy to install and reusable. The solid wood construction, which with its materiality will radiate heat, well-being and contribute to a good indoor climate. Using solid wood as the main material also results in approximately 50% reduced greenhouse gas emissions, more robust surfaces, lower energy consumption due to thermal heavy and slow construction and a simple re-organisation in future redeployment of areas. The proposal utilizes rational building technologies with few construction materials, thereby minimizing construction time, reducing transportation costs, and securing a rational and effective project delivery which is decisive in these arctic surroundings.

Photo credit: Images by White arkitekter and Luxigon.