Design principles

The five design principles are to govern the new building ​

Based o​n the vision applying to the building project, an innovation process has been defined in a close collaboration between patients, families, managers and staff. This process resulted in a number of important design principles, and the aspiration is that these principles are to govern both the organisation and the building facilities.​


The diagram illustrates general principles for user-based hospital architecture and
specific design principles for the family hospital

​Five specific​​​​ design principles

Int​egrated play

Children do not stop playing ‘simply’ because they become ill. Play must therefore be an integral part of the hospital design as​​ well as of activities and processes in the new facility. This is not just a matter of providing play areas and offering play breaks, but rather of integrating play in the entire patient pathway. A child’s acceptance of his or her illness and treatment may be aided by play activities where the child is treating another person or a toy animal. Play must be an all-pervasive theme throughout a patient’s stay at the hospital. We will take play seriously.   

Designed for ev​eryday life

Everyday life is real life. We have to eliminate the feeling of life being at a standstill during hospitalisation. The world inside must be in tune w​ith the world outside. Family rooms enable families to continue everyday routines and activities: they can prepare and eat food, go to the cinema or sit on a sofa watching TV together. Those are little things, but they relate to everyday life and hence to real life. 

See me, ask me, l​​et me

Children and adolescents have the same basic need for recognition as adults. Their feeling of being able to take control of their own situati​​on can and should be stimulated in as many ways as possible in order to reinforce and enhance the patients’ own resources and skills.

The g​ood journey

Patients should experience a coherent, coordinated process without any troublesome transitions between departments, ​clinics, centres and sectors. Coherence and coordination should be an all-pervasive theme in the new hospital facilities, which should not only be characterised by ground breaking architecture but also by a completely new approach to logistics and functionality. The objective is to provide tailored intelligent treatment pathways to each individual patient – children, adolescents and adults alike.    

Clearly defined zo​nes

Wayfinding in the new building must be intuitive. The building is to feature architecture, technology, materials and colour schemes that tell peop​​le what they should, can and may do. The architecture must be created from within, and the architects must work with the people who literally have their finger on the pulse: the people who want a quiet place where they can get to know their delicate newborn baby, and the people who know when a quick change of scenario is needed in the event of complications during childbirth.    

Reference is also ​​made to the annexes entitled ‘Vision and principles for the world’s best hospital for children’ and ‘BørneRiget: User experiences at the world’s best hospital for children and families’.  

Report on design principles and user involvement

​Read the report (pdf, opens in a new tab)