Psychiatric Hospital in Laakso, helsinki

Barbora Červeňová
CTU in Prague - Faculty of Architecture

Project idea

The project develops a new master plan for the area of Laakso Hospital in Helsinki Finland and focuses on more detailed design of the Psychiatric part of the hospital. Its varied shape and differentiation in volumes and private/public areas is solved to offer new, variable and friendly spaces for psychiatric patients and staff.

Project description

The hospital is conceived as a machine, necessary to work as precisely as possible. Clear division of spaces, fluent connections, no conflicting circulation. The module is clearly set to be 3 metres, influenced by the size of patient rooms, structural pillar system and facade division.
The main compositional axis is set by the existing 1950s buildings, as well as the orientation and organisation of masses of the development. There are three etrances to the building. Northern one, oriented towards the somatic part of the hospital, eastern main entrance in the center of the building, oriented towards the entrance square opposite the rehabilitation center, and southern one, oriented towards the traffic, public transport, and creating an attractive public square for the visitors.

Distinction of private and public is esential. The building adjusts vertically, passing from public to private as we go up the volume, and horizontally, passing through one low volume to several taller fingers.

I set a clear structure of atria cutting through the volumes, providig light and presence of greenery. Distinction of inaccessible illuminating voids and accesible courtyards dictated by the module is essential.

Masses are separated into three parts - wide, low mass for the public and semipublic functions of clinics, sports facilities and waiting rooms; four fingers consisting of the private wards, personnel spaces and daycare; and narrow middle part - the spine. This part works as a filter of people moving from the public towards the private. It is a radical core with not only vertical connections, but mainly public functions, such as the library, restaurant, seminar rooms and lounge spaces.

Main things to point out in the building include:

Big public entrance, creating a public square in connection to the street and public transport. Place for events, place to go out, place to make the hospital alive.

Connection traffic tunnel for ambulances, taxis, supply cars and also for the visitors is in direct connection with the center of the site, leading to the emergency ambulance entrance, truck loading and public parking underneath the somatic hospital

Swimming pool, spa, light and relaxation therapy, gym and exercise hall not only for the patients, but also for the public.

Regular glass facade, unifying the complex, provided with an adjustable shading and opening shutter for ventilation. Given by the module 3 metres - one module corresponds to two units to speed up and simplify the construction.

Roof garden for patients, since the psychiatric and forensic patients don‘t have the freedom to move around the site, the wide roof is accessible from their wards. It offers enough space for a playground, barbecuing and contact with healing nature.

Accessible ward winter garden for everyday use by the patients. Two levels, one reaching to the daycare floor, thus connecting all the patients together.

Technical information

The huge hospital area would be realised in stages, starting with the southern part of the site including the main public entrance. The structure is designed to be made out of reinforced concrete with glass panel facade including adjustable shading and ventilation shutters.


The project is done by me with the help of Tora Hay Walseng as part of the Building Design Studio at the Aalto University School of Arts, Design and Architecture.

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