The children and youth hospice, Strandbakkehuset, has been designed as the first newly built hospice of its kind in Denmark - with the overall aim of providing space for life, play and alleviation, thereby offering a vital home for the children, youths and their families in a vulnerable time of their lives.
Provides space for quality of life
Quality of life is a keyword in the design of Strandbakkehuset, which contains four family residences, a staff section and several shared functions. Its purpose as a hospice is to embrace life for children and young people in a vulnerable situation. Life, play and alleviation are accordingly essential values for the hospice, and it is with these values as our premise that we have not only studied the construction programme but also carried out thorough research and anthropological field studies. The result is five focus points for the design of the hospice, ensuring that it is capable of offering a meaningful everyday life for children and young people, their families and the staff who will be supporting them during their time at the hospice.
Offers new experiences
Strandbakkehuset builds upon Hospice Djursland’s special qualities, where its beautiful location at the top of the slope provides space for contemplation and reflection. It is a place that incorporates the view and the long perspective into its design. However, Strandbakkehuset will not settle for simply building on the existing hospice’s qualities. It also offers new experiences for the benefit of the hospice’s residents: Children, youths and their families. At Strandbakkehuset, the focus will not be on the long perspective, but rather on life up close, experiences for the senses and the idea of living in the here and now.
Surrounded by nature
Strandbakkehuset is beautifully situated atop a slope right in the middle of nature. Rather than standing out from its scenic surroundings, the building appears to draw it in through openings and displacements, allowing the proximity to the lake and forest to act as a unique and special characteristic of Strandbakkehuset. The building is thus not only placed as a natural extension of Hospice Djursland, but opens outwards, advancing towards its near surroundings in some places and retreating away from them in others, resulting in work of architecture with interesting features from all sides. At the same time, the many openings and offsets break the building down into smaller and less overwhelming components, creating a wealth of outlook spots and spaces.
The staff section and family residences
The staff section has been located as a natural part of the building’s main entrance. It is a strategic placement that makes it easy to keep track of who has entered and left the building while also ensuring optimal proximity and access to all the functions of the building. The family residences are built in a staggered formation over the slope in two storeys, bringing them up close to the forest line and offering beautiful panoramic views of the scenic surroundings of the hospice. In addition, all the family residences are equivalent in terms of the view and distance to the staff section.
The shared functions are located between the staff section and family residences and divided according to the level of activity. Thus, the common room lies in natural extension of the family residences with a view of the sunny southern side, while the treatment ward lies in close proximity to the residences as well as the staff section. The wellness room is located at the ground level next to the lake, and the sensory room and breathing room are located higher up with great views and lots of sunlight. Last but not least, the activity room is located in close proximity to the playground, and the guest rooms in close proximity to the family residences.
The heart of the building
The heart of the building ties its different functions and surrounding nature together. Here, the light and nature flow into the everyday life and work of the building. For example, openings in the roof and between the family residences create a cosy environment with optimal lighting and unique views no matter where in the room you are standing. At the same time, the paths of the surrounding landscape lead directly into the space, blurring distinctions between inside and outside and subtly encouraging the residences to take advantage of the surrounding nature. This turns the surrounding nature into something that feels almost omnipresent within the building as well, constituting a crucial element in the life, play and alleviation that Strandbakkehuset aims to offer within its walls.
AART architects is one of the leading architectural practices in Scandinavia with 170 employees in offices in Aarhus, Copenhagen, Oslo and Stockholm. From here, the practice help developers throughout Scandinavia to develop organizations and communities with architecture as a catalyst. Currently, the practice is involved in the development of more than one million square meters across scale and sector - ranging from Norway's cultural flagship, the Viking Age Museum in Oslo, to Sweden's largest high school, Hedda Andersson High School in Lund, and Denmark's new Cold War Museum, REGAN-West located deep in Rold Forest.