Good architecture improves care – new study at Östra Hospital

A new study performed at the new psychiatric building at Östra Hospital in Gothenburg shows that good architecture leads to reduced aggression and violence.

The new psychiatric building at Östra Hospital was drawn by White and opened in 2007. The ward is based on three pillars: the garden, the heart and the residential group. The garden is a lush oasis with a free and open atmosphere. No staff escort is needed and some patients have their own access to the garden. The heart is the department’s centre with all rooms grouped around a small glazed conservatory. This solution offers patients the opportunity to move around in ways other than through a long, narrow corridor. The residential group contains individual rooms and several spaces where patients are offered privacy, thereby increasing the personal sphere

At the ARCH12 conference (Architecture Research Care health) held at Chalmers University of Technology on 13-14 November, a psychiatric paper was presented in association with Östra Hospital’s psychiatric building. The basis of the paper was a comparison between the previous building (2005) and the new one at Östra Hospital (2007). The article shows that the decrease in coercive measures can be attributed to the improved physical conditions, such as the abundance of natural light, views and access to the gardens. The article presents a theoretical model, which shows the results were expected. The main author of the paper was the American Roger Ulrich, an internationally recognised environmental psychologist who, among other things, played a major part in the development of evidence-based design theory (EBD). Co-authors are former business manager Lennart Bogren at Sahlgrenska University Hospital and Stefan Lundin, one of the participating architects from White.

“Designing for Calm”. Roger Ulrich about Östra psykiatri in New York Times 13 January 2013, read the article.

On 3 December, Stefan Lundin was interviewed regarding Östra Hospital’s new psychiatric building on Swedish radio SR Vetenskapsradion Forum, read more and listen here.

Stefan Lundin, together with Lena From, edited the book “Arkitektur som medicin – arkitekturens betydelse för behandlingsresultatet inom psykiatrin” (Architecture as Medicine – architecture’s impact on the outcome of treatment in psychiatry). The book was published in 2009 by White and ARQ, the Foundation for Architecture Research. Download the book (pdf).

Östra Psykiatri SU (1920x1200)