Finlandia Prize for Architecture 2018 winner
New Children’s Hospital replaced the two old children’s hospital buildings, which had become obsolete and were in a poor condition. The building costs were partly covered by fundraising from private donators and companies. The support association in charge of the fundraising also acted as the developer of the project which completed in 2018.
The new hospital building is situated along the southern edge of the Meilahti hospital district, a concentration of hospitals and the Helsinki University medical campus. The children’s hospital is in connection to the adjacent maternity hospital, the Women’s Clinic, and next to the old Children’s Clinic along Stenbäckinkatu street, which is a quiet boulevard-like street with handsome old villas and townhouses on the opposite side.
The building mass, with eight floors above ground, is horizontally divided into two sections; the three-floored plinth makes a visual connection to the scale of the surrounding townhouses, whereas the taller part refers to the cityscape of the buildings of the hospital area. The curving plinth and the colourful facade mark the building’s entrances. The park zone along Stenbäckinkatu street extends to the entrance courtyard thus creating a continuum in the verdant street space.
The design solutions have strived for clarity both functionally and spatially so that movement in the hospital and its surroundings is barrier free and orientation is easy. The first three floors make up the operational area of the hospital. A roof terrace is accessed from the third floor. The four upper floors comprise the hospital wards. All the patient rooms are oriented outwards to the landscape and natural light enters the wards through the facades and recessed balcony zones as well as via light wells.
Extracts from the prize jury report:
As a process, the construction of the New Children’s Hospital of the Helsinki Hospital District is an impressive example of how modern civic society can serve as a powerful initiator and implementing force in projects that are of great importance to society. At the same time, it shows how architecture can help attain jointly established goals and add lasting value to the human environment in a way that contributes to the daily lives of people, while reflecting the values inherent to the welfare society.