The Södersjukhuset was built between 1937 and 1944 based on plans of the two architects Hjalmar Cerderström and Hermann Imhäuser. At that time, it was Scandinavia's largest and most modern hospital and in the meantime even Sweden's largest building. The imposing complex of buildings is located on the hill on the north shore of the Årstaviken, an adjacent bay in the centre of Stockholm. In the 1990s, the hospital had Europe's largest emergency room, with around 100,000 visits per year. Today, there are around 140,000 patients treated each year in the Södersjukhuset. In 2017, a comprehensive modernisation project for the hospital was launched – the largest since it opened in 1944. During this project, which was completed 2019, the Södersjukhuset was enhanced with single rooms and new treatment buildings, among other things. In addition to the new buildings, the upgrade also included several renovation and expansion projects. The special thing: All new buildings have been awarded the Gold Certificate of the Swedish Green Building Council, an organisation dedicated to sustainable and environmentally friendly energy concepts in buildings. nora rubber floor coverings also contributed to this. A total of 41,000 square metres of noraplan signa were laid in the hospital – a classic among rubber floor coverings that impresses with sustainable quality and first-class functionality.
During the planning work, the architectural firm responsible used an evidence-based healthcare design in order to develop the interior of the hospital. Such a design is based on cutting-edge healthcare models, which are characterised, among other things, by an optimal synergy between the built environment, human activity, equipment, infrastructure and logistics. The aim was to create a good working environment on the one hand and safe patient care on the other. Both aspects should fit into an aesthetic environment. Natural and sustainable materials like rubber were ideally suited for this. With its subtle and timeless colours, noraplan signa fits perfectly into the chosen concept. "We have heard of numerous German nora installations in the healthcare sector and that they are proving themselves excellently in practice," says Maria Jansson, an employee of the architectural firm. This is because nora rubber coverings are particularly robust due to their very dense surface and do not need to be coated. Even after decades of use, they show hardly any signs of wear and tear and thus score particularly well in terms of life-cycle costs and sustainability. The nora rubber floors also win in terms of appearance: "Aesthetics have also played a role, which is why we chose the rubber floors. They look very high in quality and set a valuable accent for the interior," emphasises Jansson.
Good for the ears, legs and nose
The acoustics of the rubber flooring ensure additional comfort. Due to their permanent elasticity, they reduce noise from walking or the rolling of devices such as beds or food trolleys. As a result, they provide more peace and quiet in the corridors – another plus for patients as well as for doctors, nurses and other employees. But the elastic rubber coverings have another advantage: They relieve the strain on the back and joints, which is a huge relief for all hospital staff who spend many hours on their feet. Standing and walking is thus much easier. Room air is an equally crucial factor for well-being. Here, too, nora rubber floors can make a contribution. They are free from PVC, phthalate plasticisers and halogens and have therefore had the Blue Angel certification since 2006 as the first elastic floor covering ever, as well as countless other international certificates, such as "Greenguard Gold", “Miljöbyggnad Guld 3.0” and "Indoor Air Quality Gold".
When it comes to the cost-effectiveness of floor coverings in hospitals, cleaning plays a crucial role. The requirements are manifold: On the one hand, high hygiene standards must be adhered to, and on the other hand, cleaning often has to be carried out in a short time. Here, rubber floor coverings from nora systems show their full strength: Their extremely dense surface is durable, enabling them to be easily cleaned and they do not have to be coated. "When choosing a floor covering material, it is essential to think long-term about the costs of cleaning and maintenance and not only look at the purchase price", explains Jansson. "These criteria were also decisive when selecting the floors for the Swedish Södersjukhuset, as nora floor coverings do not have to undergo extensive renovations during their lifetime," she continued. This eliminates the need for closure times and all areas remain accessible 24/7 – a central factor for cost-effectiveness, especially in surgical areas.
The Södersjukhuset is an example of how a healthcare building of the future can emerge from the interplay between technology, architecture, medicine and building materials in which patients and employees feel good all round. nora rubber floors make a valuable contribution to a positive environment that contributes to the well-being of everyone in the facility.