Radboudumc Medical Psychiatric Unit

Transformation of Medical Psychiatric Unit Radboud university medical center in Nijmegen

Transformation from a dark, closed area to an open, clearly structured and pleasant environment

Healing Environment and Evidence Based Design were the central themes in the construction of the academic Medical Psychiatric Unit at Radboud university medical center. The building was transformed from a dark, closed area into a safe environment, providing ample daylight and a spacious view.

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Radboudumc Medical Psychiatric Unit

Light, structured and safe area providing ample daylight and a spacious view.

Radboud university medical center has the ambition to be groundbreaking in the development of sustainable, innovative and affordable healthcare. The Medical Psychiatric Unit (built in 1991) was outdated and constructed according to concepts from the 1990s. As a physical environment, it no longer corresponded to the newest insights in the field of clinical psychiatric care. Late in 2012, inspired by ambition, Radboud university medical center started a project to research whether a modern psychiatric unit could be created in the building.


The design is completely based on the principles of a Healing Environment, in which extensive use has been made of the knowledge of Evidence Based Design. The design process was characterized by close collaboration between Radboud university medical center and the designing parties. This intensive process resulted in a veritable transformation of the existing building. The new unit is an airy, clearly structured, safe environment, providing ample daylight and a spacious view.


The Medical Psychiatric Unit provides space for 27 clinical patient rooms, and includes personal sanitation facilities, a High Care & Intensive Care unit, three living and dining rooms, a central reception area and flexible work spaces. Considerable attention was paid to safety, privacy and autonomy for both patient and staff. In developing the interior, many natural materials and colours were used. Light – daylight as well as artificial light – is used as a main ingredient.


A completely new climate control system provides a comfortable, healthy indoor climate. A new garden design for the existing patios and gardens of the clinic carries the Healing Environment of the interior straight out to the exterior. In the central part of the clinic, a patio incorporates bamboo. This area, which allows the outdoors to flow indoors, organized the clinic in a natural way.



Interior design: SH Studio (Laren), Project management: 2DoubleYou (Veenendaal), Installations: Deerns (Nijmegen), Structural engineer: Aronsohn (Rotterdam), Building physics: Peutz (Mook), Quick scan and recommendations EBD: Oazis (Gouda), Garden design: Copijn garden and landscape architects (Utrecht).


Images: Matthijs Borghgraef - Kwiksilver