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Hospital planning and design is going through a period of reformation. Increased demand for close ward proximity is encouraging healthcare synergies. As a response, a new “hospital city” is proposed. Healthcare buildings and surrounding areas are planned with accessibility and densification in mind in an urban-like neighbourhood complete with connecting walkways, streets, squares and alleyways. Hospital common areas take on a new physical design form, departing from the institutional and moving towards openness and a strong visual connection with the outside world. At the same time, there are larger single-patient rooms allowing for more privacy and with enough space to keep loved ones close by. Östra Children’s Hospital is one of the first forward-thinking healthcare facilities to embrace this changing attitude.

Today, Gothenburg’s Östra Hospital is a compilation of un-refurbished buildings from the 1960-70’s with un-modernised planning. White is commissioned to design a new building to be constructed next to the existing children’s hospital and will include highly specialised paediatric care, clinical research and teaching. Priority is meeting the needs of patients and their families in a safe environment exuding warmth; and, at the same time meets the requirement of incorporating the very latest in technology and work processes.

The green tinted, screen-printed glass façade of the new hospital is designed to function well aesthetically with the existing lower glass 70’s buildings. At the same time the new building possesses a unique character and integrity that harmonises well with the welcoming reception and interiors. A suspended glass enclosed walkway and a large light-filled reception physically connect old with new construction.

Planned are an increased number of operating rooms with improved equipment as well as additional intensive care units designed for better privacy. Single patient rooms are designed to be spacious enough to provide the opportunity of overnighting for parents and will also improve hospital hygiene lessening the risk of spreading infections. Larger patient rooms encourage family participation and close proximity during treatment, adding to the feeling of security; at the same time the extra physical space allows for a team-based approach which increases participation between staff, patients and relatives.

The average hospital stay is relatively short, 2.5 days, but planning must also take into consideration that some children are required to spend a long time in the hospital, sometimes for six months or longer. When hospital life becomes the daily reality for paediatric patients, their interaction with the health care providers becomes more complex. Taking this into careful consideration, play therapy rooms, classrooms and library are also included in the program; located near the front entrance to give the children a feeling of life, movement and a respite from the severity of their current situation. Large glass partitions, balconies and terraces bridge the interiors with the outside world and surrounding neighbourhood. A glass roofed interior courtyard works to transport the paediatric patients and their loved ones away from the intensive environment and into a brief period of tranquillity.

Östra Children’s Hospital

  • Client: Västfastigheter
  • Project Start/End: 2010-2016
  • Completed: 2019
  • Area/Size: 33 000 m² BTA
  • Cost: 1 350 milj SEK
  • City: Göteborg
  • Photographer/Illustrator: White View



  • Krister Nilsson - Head Architect/Project Leader
  • Elisabeth Rosenlund - Head Interior Architect
  • Cristiana Caira - Head Design Architect

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