Steno Diabetes Center Copenhagen (SDCC)

Steno Diabetes Center Copenhagen is the Capital Region’s new diabetes centre. The hospital will treat 11,000-13,000 patients a year and is located at Herlev Hospital.

The architecture supports the ambition of Steno Diabetes Center Copenhagen being the largest and most modern diabetes centre in Northern Europe, providing world-class patient care.

Capital Region of Denmark
Mikkelsen Arkitekter, COWI A/S, Sted
Herlev Hospital
18,200 m²
Completed in 2021

Health-promoting Architecture

Entering SDCC is like entering a large landscape. Both outdoors and in, the building and the landscape are closely interwoven to create a stimulating entity. This symbiosis between landscape and building creates health-promoting architecture that encourages movement. The simplicity of the architecture and the cohesion with nature makes the Centre a very special place.

A Sunny Welcome

The main entrance is south facing to create the best conditions for a bright, sunny welcome. When you arrive, a lush, undulating landscape greets you and directs you inside. The aim of the area’s design is to pique curiosity. From the moment they enter, users and visitors will feel welcome and get the urge to go exploring. Concrete paving, cast on site, creates a beautiful approach to the building, while a huge staircase invites visitors to ascend to the movement landscape on the roof.

Communal and treatment areas are located on the ground floor around six courtyards, while research and staff areas are located on the first floor. This layout creates an easy, orderly correlation between the arrival area and the primary patient areas, along with a greater degree of peace and privacy for the research rooms and staff area.

Communal Activity Area

The communal area is designed for patients, relatives and staff. The activities in this area are laid out around small local squares, each of which provides a setting related to the Centre’s key themes: diet, exercise, new knowledge etc.

Here there will also be special rooms/spaces associated with these themes. For example, there will be a food lab and café at the ‘Diet Square’, a library and exhibition at the ‘Knowledge Square’, a gym with changing rooms at the ‘Exercise Square’ and workshops at the ‘Exhibition Square’. There will also be search stations, comfortable seating niches and dedicated children’s areas.

The communal areas will feature a recognisably Nordic atmosphere. The floors and slatted roofs will be timber with a generous textural feel, and the overall sense will be of nature playing the star role in the character of the building. The change of seasons will create a beautiful variety throughout the year. In winter the snow will create a vivid contrast to the building’s warm interior. Meanwhile, in summer, the changing colours of the landscaping will lend the building a fascinatingly diverse interior.

Quiet, Flexible Patient Areas

The courtyards create an effortless transition from the squares to the individual treatment areas, which are laid out around dedicated treatment gardens. The gardens will invest the local areas with a greater degree of tranquillity and privacy. The individual consultation rooms are positioned on the periphery of the building, interspersed with smaller seating areas.

The patient wards and laboratories in the research area are located on the first floor, in direct connection to the ground floor via the open stairs situated on the Exhibition Square. The research wards can accommodate between 1 and 4 patients, and here and there between the wards there will be spaces for recreation and socialising with relatives. The dimensions of these spaces will make it easy to convert them to more research wards, if necessary, in the future.

Versatile Staff Area

The main access to the staff area is via the open stairs from the four squares of the communal area. The steps lead to the open social zones on the first floor, which on a daily basis can be used for informal meetings, socialising and staff assemblies. From here there is easy access to the main office areas, which are designed to provide a combination of space for tranquillity and contemplation along the building’s external façade, and open areas for offices, group work and informal meetings around the central landscape space.