Houston, Texas —WHR Architects has opened its first European office in Copenhagen, Denmark. The decision to locate in the Danish capital was spurred by the Danish healthcare system’s initiative to renew and expand their facilities across the country.
“We have been engaged with representatives from the Danish healthcare system for nearly two years,” said Anthony Haas, FAIA, FACHA, the WHR principal who is responsible for the office. “The more we understood their mission and observed their dedication and rigor in researching state-of-the-art healthcare facilities, the more we wanted to be part of their efforts. Opening a local office was the logical next step and we are excited to be here.”
Haas first met a Danish healthcare team on a study mission to the United States at an American College of Healthcare Architect’s conference in 2011. As a result of that meeting, WHR helped to organize a visit to Houston to tour the newest hospital and research facilities in the world-renowned Texas Medical Center as well as benchmarking visits to other notable medical facilities in the U.S.
“WHR’s interest in the Danish healthcare initiative and their support as we researched best-of-class facilities demonstrated WHR’s deep understanding of the issues and their collegial approach,” notes Adam Trier Jacobsen, MAA, DA, FRICS, the Danish architect who first met with Haas and who is now working with WHR. “After our visits in the States, we invited WHR to come to Denmark to study the healthcare initiative and to see the current facilities first-hand.”
Those initial meetings revealed a mutual interest in developing a new international model for healthcare facilities that would leverage not only WHR’s expertise and resources but also the strengths of leading thinkers and designers from many critical disciplines and multiple countries including Denmark. “While we believe our experience and expertise offers great value to the Danish healthcare system, we recognize that we have much to learn from the European architects and engineers whose work consistently earns them commissions and accolades worldwide,” said David Watkins, FAIA, chairman and founding principal of WHR Architects.
Having made the commitment to establish a presence in Denmark, WHR lost no time in finding opportunities to contribute to the development of the new healthcare model.
In August WHR, teamed with Denmark’s Bjarke Ingels Group (BIG) and the international engineering team ARUP, garnered a coveted spot on the shortlist for the second phase of the design completion for the Nyt Hospital Nordsjælland, a 124,000 square meter (1.31million square foot) acute care hospital in Hillerød.
WHR was also awarded a contract for the design of the new laboratory and logistics building at Bispebjerg Hospital near Copenhagen as part of a team that includes the Danish firm Mikkelsen Architects and ARUP. That project brings together 14,000 square meters (150,694 square feet) of clinical and research laboratory spaces together under one roof. In addition to laboratories, the new building will contain logistics warehouse facilities, teaching facilities, and a central biorepository. The logistics warehouse facilities will be designed to serve the future somatic hospital.
The firm’s recent successes are testament to the concept that bringing together the most innovative and experienced design professionals to create next generation healthcare facilities is what is needed and has earned the attention of decision-makers at two of Denmark’s leading healthcare facilities. Haas and Jacobsen concur that the highly collaborative, multidiscipline model, leverages the international perspectives and experience of all team members and is the future for large scale, complex medical and research facilities.
As Haas observed, “Visionary clients are raising the bar on what facilities can be and what they can deliver. They are demanding the same of their consultants and the only way to help achieve those forward leaning goals is to collaborate with the best talent wherever they call home.”
About WHR Architects
WHR Architects is a full service architecture, interior design and technology planning firm. The firm’s commitment to critical thinking is balanced by an ingrained empathy that results in both improved project outcomes and positive working experiences for their clients. With over 130 people in Houston and Dallas, Texas, New Jersey and Copenhagen, Denmark, the 34-year-old firm is working on projects throughout the US for top–tier public and private education and medical institutions. Learn more online at www.whrarchitects.com or follow @whrarchitects on Twitter.