Radboudumc Psychiatric Clinic

Transformation of outdated psychiatric clinic, Radboudumc, Nijmegen

Transformation of gloomy, confined space into pleasant, open setting

A healing environment shaped by evidence-based design is the central theme of the renovation of the academic psychiatric clinic at the Radboudumc

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Can a modern psychiatric department be realized inside the existing building according to the principles of a healing environment? That was the question from the Radboudumc concerning the outdated psychiatric clinic built in 1991. In close collaboration with other design parties and the Radboudumc, EGM studied the feasibility of this transformation. The result is that the Radboudumc is the first hospital in the Netherlands to open a clinic that responds to the needs of psychiatric patients with High & Intensive Care.


Positive influence on wellbeing

The new clinic offers a bright, conveniently organized and safe environment with plenty of views and greenery. This friendly and comfortable atmosphere has a positive influence on the wellbeing, behaviour and emotions of patients. The design is based entirely on the principles of a healing environment and of evidence-based design. This means that the building itself contributes to the wellbeing and recovery of patients.

Integral psychiatric care with somatic are

Depending on requirements, the new clinical Psychiatric department can be organized as a closed or open unit. That ensures remarkable flexibility within the building. Patients stay in one of the 27 large single rooms, with private bathroom and adjustable temperature, which are shielded from direct views inside. The rooms are designed in such a way that family members can sleep over and that somatic care can be provided. With this specialized integral care, the Radboudumc bridges a gap between psychiatric and somatic care. The clinic also avails of High & Intensive Care, three living and dining rooms, a central reception area, a family room, a mother-and-baby room and flexible workspaces. Plenty of attention has been given to safety, privacy and autonomy for both patients and staff.

Better health through natural light

The detailing of the ‘healing’ interior – a close collaboration with Suzanne Holtz Studio – makes use of natural materials and muted, soothing colours. From walls with cream-coloured stone strips and realistic photo prints to doors, floors and tables made of wood. Daylight floods all spaces, exerting a positive effect on health. The completely new climate control system – based on advice from engineering firm Deerns – creates a comfortable and healthy interior climate.

Seven different therapy gardens

The concept of a healing environment also extends into the new garden design. No matter where they are inside the building, patients can look outdoors and see greenery. In the central part of the clinic, for example, there is a patio covered in bamboo. In addition, all patient rooms overlook one of the seven ‘healing’ gardens designed by Copijn garden and landscape architects.


We have created one of the most modern psychiatric units in the Netherlands. The architecture prize demonstrates great international recognition for that

Aart Schene, head of Radboud Psychiatric department


Stress-reducing green environment

Patients and staff find peace and relaxation in the therapy gardens around the building. The closed department features a garden with lots of ornamental grass, low trees and all sorts of seats. In this Savanna landscape – with space for group therapy – most people feel most comfortable and safe. In the activity garden something is always blossoming, no matter what the time of year, so that people can always paint or arrange flowers. Special flowers, small water features, narrow paths, fine trees and seating spots where you can gaze into the distance attract attention in the meditation garden. That literally makes visitors stop and stare. The serene spaces beside the office are real ornamental gardens. Seeing all this greenery and nature and spending time here helps to reduce stress.



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).



Design & Health International Academy Awards 2017 - Winner - Mental Health Project

European Healthcare Design Awards 2017 - Honourable mention - Mental Health Design 


Photography: Matthijs Borghgraef