3XN's 'playful proposal' wins competition for children’s hospital in copenhagen

3XN's 'playful proposal' wins competition for children’s hospital in copenhagen

a team led by 3XN has won a competition to design the new national children’s hospital in copenhagen, where play will be an integral part of the treatment. the rigshospitalet, denmark’s leading hospital, revealed the winning design, which is titled ‘BørneRiget’. the scheme is shaped like two interlocking hands that support all aspects of pediatric care under one roof.

all images courtesy of 3XN



with its design, 3XN — who developed the project alongside arkitema architects, consultants NIRAS, rosan bosch studio, and kristine jensens tegnestue — sought to revolutionize the entirety of the patient and family experience during treatment. importantly, the hospital will allow patients to spend as much time as possible with their families.

an atrium rises through the center of the scheme



when our children become ill, the whole family is affected,’ explains kim herforth nielsen, creative director and founder of 3XN.we have therefore aimed to create an environment where the family can stay close to the patient and have a life as close to what they are used to. we have worked a lot with the healing qualities of architecture, considering factors from airflow to daylight while creating opportunities for play and creativity.’

the design seeks to embody a sense of ‘playful logic’



‘hands’ are the metaphorical and organizational principle implemented in the entire building. each ‘hand’ is defined with a public ‘wrist’, providing a lounge area for the family during the stay at the hospital. each ‘finger’ offers patient bays, and at the end of each finger are winter gardens. the gardens stretch to the second floor, unfolding with different themes and experiences that accommodate the various patients’ needs. the organizational structure of the design ensures short distances between each area — including the gardens at a maximum range of 7-20 meters — similar to a standard house.

the play area is naturally and brightly illuminated



the new children’s hospital is expected to be completed in 2024 and will care for up to 900 patients. 1,200 doctors, nurses, orderlies, and administrative staff will work on-site. the project is expected to cost $350 million USD — funded by the capital region of denmark and ole kirk’s fond.

warm textures and surfaces have been employed throughout

an aerial view of the planned hospital

project model

project model

concept diagram






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