Dezeen Magazine

Healthcare Centre for Cancer Patients by NORD Architects

Slideshow: Danish studio NORD Architects have completed a cancer care centre in Copenhagen shaped like a cluster of houses.

Healthcare Centre for Cancer Patients by NORD Architects

The gables of each block are different, creating an irregularly faceted roof that the architects describe as being like origami.

Healthcare Centre for Cancer Patients by NORD Architects

The building has a hollow centre where a series of first floor balconies overlook a large courtyard.

Healthcare Centre for Cancer Patients by NORD Architects

Rooms inside are styled like domestic interiors to help recovering patients feel at home while they receive follow-up treatment.

Healthcare Centre for Cancer Patients by NORD Architects

We've also published a few Maggie’s cancer care centres from the UK - see them all here.

Healthcare Centre for Cancer Patients by NORD Architects

Here's a project description from NORD Architects:

A Place for Recovery


Getting cancer is like embarking on a journey, you don’t know where will end. It requires strength to cope with the disease and take on the new identity as a cancer patient. Research shows that architecture can have a positive effect on people’s recovery from sickness. A human scale and a welcoming atmosphere can help people to get better. Despite of this, most hospitals are hardly comfy. Just finding the way from the reception to the canteen can be difficult. If we want people to get better at our hospitals, we need to deinstitutionalize and create a welcoming healthcare. The Healthcare Centre for Cancer Patients designed by Nord Architects Copenhagen does just that.

Design concepts

The Healthcare Center for Cancer Patients in Copenhagen is conceived as an iconic building, which create awareness of cancer without stigmatizing the patients. Designed as a number of small houses combined into one, the center provides the space needed for a modern health facility, without losing the comforting scale of the individual. The houses are connected by raised roof shaped like a Japanese paper art origami, which gives the building a characteristic signature.

Entering the building you find yourself in a comfy lounge area manned by volunteers. From here you move onto the others parts of the house, which includes a courtyard for contemplation, spaces for exercises, a common kitchen where you can learn to cook healthy food, meeting rooms for patients groups etc.

Site conditions

The building is situated close to the city centre of Copenhagen in the same area as Copenhagen University Hospital (Rigshospitalet), so that patients can go to the healthcare center after their treatment at the hospital. On the other side of the road is the Panum Institute of Medicine.

Client: Municipality of Copenhagen Place: Copenhagen, Denmark
Year: 2009 – 2011
Size: 2500 m2
Budget: 56 mill kr
Architects: NORD Architects, Copenhagen
Engineer: Wessberg
Landscape Architect: NORD Architects, Copenhagen
Client advisor: Moe og Brødsgaard