During the 12th Design & Health World Congress in Vienna in July 2017, EGM architects received an International Academy Award. The Radboudumc Medical Psychiatric Unit in Nijmegen earned the highest distinction in the Mental Healthcare category. The innovative and pioneering design for the clinic breaks with tradition, cleverly ensuring the safety and ‘wellbeing’ of patients and care professionals in a strikingly pleasant and healing environment. In the eyes of the jury, this smart building provides inspiration for fellow organizations at home and abroad.
After twenty-five years of use, the Medical Psychiatric Unit no longer reflected the care vision or ambitions of Radboud university medical center. EGM transformed the outdated facility into a sustainable, innovative psychiatric care environment for the most vulnerable target group: patients with complex psychiatric and physical conditions. The clinic was transformed from a gloomy and confined space into a homely, well-planned and atmospheric environment with plenty of daylight, a comfortable interior climate, and various gradations of privacy.
Daniël van den Berg – architect and partner at EGM: “Providing a vulnerable patient group with a homely and welcoming environment that also meets the most stringent requirements in the field of safety, hygiene and infection prevention is a remarkable challenge. The International Academy Award is a wonderful accolade, which we are delighted to hand over to the professionals at Radboud university medical center who every day show what this state-of-the-art clinic was designed for. Their enthusiastic reactions and experiences are a source of great satisfaction.”
A good environment means more privacy, more autonomy, clear organization, safety, comfort and a good balance of stimuli for patients
The design by EGM architects optimally integrates architectural quality and technology to create a smart building. All design choices are based on the experiences, needs and wishes of patients and care professionals. Innovative safety technology, kept out of view, creates a safe working environment for care professionals while enhancing the autonomy of patients. The application of Evidence-Based Design has resulted in a Healing Environment shaped by proven solutions that have a measurable influence on the health and wellbeing of both care professionals and patients.
Innovative techniques such as integrated devices with intercom and fall detection enhance the safety and autonomy of psychiatric patients while preserving the environment. A clear structure, short operating lines and modern safety technology such as a track & trace system and electronic and individually configurable ‘hotel locks’ on the doors of patient rooms contribute to maximum safety and optimally support the working environment of care professionals.
Daylight, views, greenery and various gradations of privacy ensure a healing environment inside the building. Atmospherically designed spaces stimulate encounters and interaction while also allowing patients to withdraw into their private rooms. Greenery not only provides inspiration and peace but also promotes movement and social contact.
Patients, family members and visitors are very enthusiastic about the pleasant and calm environment that supports optimal care. The innovative design appeals to the imagination and has attracted national and international interest.
EGM architects elaborated the design for the Medical Psychiatric Unit with an integral design team made up of SH Studio (interior design) and Copijn (landscape and garden design), 2DoubleYou (project management), Oazis and SHFT (Healing Environment), Aronsohn (structural engineer), Deerns (engineering consultancy) and Peutz (building physics).