Snøhetta’s Outdoor Care Retreats offer patients the therapeutic power of nature

Snøhetta’s Outdoor Care Retreats offer patients the therapeutic power of nature

The Nordic countries are known for their great advances when it comes to healthcare architecture and design; and this latest design by Norwegian masters Snøhetta is a case in point. The globally acclaimed Oslo- and New York-based architecture and design firm has just completed a series of cabins for the Friluftssykehuset Foundation. 

Located outside some of Norway’s largest hospitals, Oslo University Hospital and Sørlandet Hospital Kristiansand in the South of Norway, the Outdoor Care Retreats, as the project is officially known, ensures patients can make the most of the therapeutic powers of nature and the Scandinavian country’s unique, lush green setting. Situated in secluded parts of forest, near creeks and rolling hills, the structures are designed to receive patients and their friends and families for treatment, support and contemplation. 

Commissioned by the Friluftssykehuset Foundation, the project can be found in the forest of Sognsvann creek and in South of Norway. Photography: Ivar Kvaal

Made out of wood in a simple and uncluttered style, so as to blend organically with the surrounding nature and not overpower it, the cabins feature minimalist yet comfortable interiors and large openings that draw the gaze towards the leafy surrounds.

The retreats ‘stand in stark contrast to the monumental hospital buildings that they are affiliated with’, explain the architects. ‘Referencing the playful construction of wooden tree cabins typically made by children, the luminous cabins are formed like skewed blocks of wood that extend into the landscape through asymmetrical branches.’ The cabins are thoughtfully designed, also allowing access for wheelchair users.

These Outdoor Care Retreats are donated as a gift by the Friluftssykehuset Foundation to the country’s hospitals, offering a uniquely conceived physical and psychological respite from the demanding processes of healthcare treatment. §

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