Steno Diabetes Centre

A unique constellation in a new type of cooperation

Steno Diabetes Centre in Copenhagen presents a unique opportunity to bring together all players in the field of treating and preventing diabetes in one building – researchers, practitioners, and above all diabetes patients and their relatives, whose lives are affected by diabetes every day.

The architecture of new healthcare buildings must be robust, flexible and future-proof – just as it was the case during the construction of Herlev Hospital 40 years ago. Although years have passed, Herlev Hospital still encompasses great qualities and functions.

Steno Diabetes Centre is connected to both the existing and the future hospital’s main themes, with recognizable and distinct building volumes. It is in this context that the new Steno Diabetes Center Copenhagen inscribes itself. The starting point for this project is a concept that functions in multiple layers.

The Diabetes Centre must at one time be welcoming and feel homely, while being placed up against a large hospital, and furthermore also work perfectly in relation to both treatment and research.

The contents of the building compose the physical framework that makes these competing needs come together to generate synergies between the building’s different users. The building is divided conceptually in a lower and an upper level separated by the circular Life Lab in between. Life Lab is the heart of the Steno Diabetes Centre Copenhagen inspired by the Diabetes logo, the blue ring.

It is a floating space that binds the functional volumes above and below together. This, the building’s most public level, contains the full spectrum of offers in diabetes innovation initiatives distributed around this ring. The ring encircles the courtyard – a space with nature, in several levels, where all users, visitors and staff share and can move freely within.

The spaces that the courtyard, the circle and the other building volumes embrace, relate to Herlev hospital’s other green clusters and their courtyards, here only with the difference that it connects with the surrounding landscape, rather than with its own enclosed little world.

Steno Diabetes Centre is more than ‘just’ an extension of Herlev Hospital. It is being thought of as a new typology. In contrast to the rest of the hospital, it has healing as the focal point, promoting prevention above reactive treatments. This is where visitors go to explore new offers of a diabetes preventing lifestyle.

The diabetes centre will offer a holistic approach to living with diabetes, where the good habits are in focus – and where a lifestyle change with increased quality of life is the ultimate goal. A circular healthcare service where prevention is paramount. Through diet, exercise and activities that promote healthy habits, this approach starts out in the small, the near and the tangible with a solid basis in the attained tools users take with them from SDCC, out into the surroundings and into their everyday life.

  • Location:

    Herlev, Denmark

  • Client:

    Region Hovedstaden, Herlev og Gentofte Hospital

  • Year:


  • Typology:

    Healthcare centre, research, treatment, information

  • Construction costs:

    475 mill DKK

  • Size:

    30.000 m2

  • Collaborators:

    Nickl and Partners, Site Arkitekter, GHB Landscape, Tyréns

  • Status:

    Competition proposal