Copenhagen’s “Patient Hotel” Seeks to Reduce the Stress of Hospital Stays
The design focuses on providing one element that hospitals so often lack—natural light and air.
Designed by 3XN, the Patient Hotel at Copenhagen’s Rigshospitalet is a relaxing place to stay for those undergoing treatment.
All photography courtesy Adam Mørk
The words “vacation” and “hospital” are rarely used in the same breath—unless the former happens to lead to a stay in the latter. For some patients at Rigshospitalet in Copenhagen, Denmark, however, a new hotel concept provides the opportunity to find a comfortable escape while receiving treatment at the hospital.
Although the Patient Hotel is by no means a luxury establishment, each of its 74 rooms (which average around 215 square feet) provides the basic comforts of a hotel room, including a television, fridge, desk, bathroom, and private balcony, without the clinical ambience of hospital lighting and machines. “The hotel is designed to inspire a feeling of safety and comfort for patients who may be going through a difficult or stressful period,” says Kim Herforth Nielsen, founder and creative director of 3XN, the architecture firm behind the project. “While patients receive a ‘prescription’ to stay at the Patient Hotel for free, family members can stay along with them at a very reasonable cost.” Nurses and nutritionists are always present at the hotel (which is on the hospital grounds), meaning patients can enjoy a certain amount of freedom and independence but are still able to access care if necessary.
Hotel rooms occupy the first three floors of the building, while the three floors above are used for administrative purposes. This shift in usage is reflected in the massing, with the two distinctly designed halves seemingly piled on top of each other as juxtaposed Vs.
But perhaps most crucially, the design focuses on providing one element that hospitals so often lack—natural light and air. Two atria connect floors via open staircases and also provide community lounges so that patients and their families can socialize. An on-site restaurant overlooking the park serves breakfast, lunch, and an evening buffet, as well as coffee and cake in the afternoon. So while it’s safe to assume that the Patient Hotel will never be a bucket-list destination, it’s a step toward humanizing the hospital experience.