The Healing Power of Nature

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Snøhetta Designs Outdoor Care Retreats for Patients at Norway’s Largest Hospitals

In the peaceful ambience of the forests only a short walking distance from two of Norway’s largest hospitals secluded wooden shelters aspire to make hospitalisation easier for patients and their families.

On behalf of the Friluftssykehuset Foundation, Oslo-based global design firm Snøhetta( https://snohetta.com/) designed the Outdoor Care Retreats to offer a physical and psychological respite from stringent treatment regiments and the isolation that often follows longterm hospitalisation.

Snøhetta / Friluftssykehuset / Kristiansand Foto: Ivar Kvaal

Leaning towards the lush forest and the trickling Sognsvann creek, the Outdoor Care Retreat is located only a hundred meters from the entrance of Norway’s largest hospital, Oslo University Hospital, Rikshospitalet. Its sister building is situated in the deciduous woodland by Sørlandet Hospital Kristiansand in the South of Norway, between oak trees and birch, overlooking a nearby pond. Originally developed in collaboration with the Department of Psychosomatics and CL-Child Psychiatry at Oslo University Hospital, the Outdoor Care Retreat provides a peaceful space where visitors can benefit from the therapeutic qualities of nature.

Snøhetta / Friluftssykehuset / Kristiansand Foto: Ivar Kvaal

The space can be used for treatment and contemplation, and for spending time with relatives and friends away from the hospital corridors. The cabins are open to every patient connected to the hospitals regardless of disease group, and reservations are managed through a booking system. Photographs copyright Ivar Kvaal. Drawings copyright Snøhetta.

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