BBH Awards - Novel circular building in Sweden scoops Best International Healthcare Design award

Transparency of new Emergency and Infectious Diseases Unit impresses judges

Winning the new award for Best International Healthcare Design , the new isolation department at Skane University Hospital in Malmo, Sweden, has been designed as a circular building as, according to research, this shape offers the best logistics to prevent the spread of infection.

The form and colour scheme in red, yellow and green are inspired by the neighbouring buildings, making the facility a landmark in the area.

Housing a new infectious diseases department with a total of 51 single-bed rooms, patients enter the ward via an airlock leading from the corridor that encircles the building. Staff access from their work areas in the core of the building is through corresponding airlocks and external lifts are provided for infectious patients and the removal of hospital waste, with internal lifts for staff and incoming supplies.

In spite of the need for isolation, the design team has maximised natural daylight, with wards that are laid out like ‘slices of pie’ around the periphery benefiting from direct views to the outside. As the cylindrical building has an open central atrium, the ‘inner circle’ rooms also benefit from natural light, with the large, glazed areas offering views of the city.

When patients are suffering from infectious diseases they are often confined to their rooms with little contact with other people and the outside, so the transparency the building offers helps them to feel contact with the world around them

The overall effect is that, despite the need to isolate patients, they do not feel as if they are locked away completely from the outside world.

In connection with the new isolation facilities, a casualty department has also been built, which is one of largest and busiest in the country.

Dr Lars Stavenow, head of the emergency centre, said: “The premises have made us more efficient and it has meant a lot to us as staff members to have taken part in the process and to influence the design.”

Peter Lanbeck, head of the infection clinic since 2008, added: “It has proved possible to create a building which, with its round shape, combines world-class aesthetics and isolation facilities. At the same time, the isolation function is not something that patients notice because the rooms are so bright and comfortable with their colour schemes and fine views of the city.”

Choosing it as the winner, the BBH judges said: “This is quite a neat building with nice details. When patients are suffering from infectious diseases they are often confined to their rooms with little contact with other people and the outside, so the transparency the building offers helps them to feel contact with the world around them.”

WINNER: Emergency and Infectious Diseases Unit, Skane University Hospital, Malmo, Sweden (Regionservice Södra Skåne, C F Moller Architects, SAMARK Arkitektur & Design, PEAB AB)

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