New Karolinska University Hospital - NKS

Client: SKANSKA through Scandinavian Health Care AB
Year of Commission: 2009-2016
City: Solna, Stockholm

A hospital in the city

The New Karolinska University Hospital is one of Sweden's most extensive hospital projects ever. It is also the single most important driving force in the development of Hagastaden - the new city district where Solna and Stockholm meet over the shunting yard area of the former Norra station. Once development is completed in around 2020, the district will have gained ca. 5,000 new homes and 36,000 new workplaces, just over 6,000 of which will be at NKS.

The hospital's importance to the district is accentuated by the fact that the main building will form the focal point of the area's new city square - Hagaplan. The central location means good public transport and access to a wealth of service, retail, cultural and recreational environments.
NKS will, in partnership with the advanced research and training provided at the adjacent Karolinska Institute, create a breeding ground for the emergence of a world-class Life Sciences cluster.

Patients first

In a feature unique within the Swedish medical system, all NKS patients will have their own room and adjoining bathroom. The single room enhances patient integrity and also restricts, amongst other things, the risk of infections spreading and incorrect medication. The private room also creates a space for room-based diagnosis and treatment, i.e. it moves the care provided closer to the patient. 

Integration and generality

The partnership between medical care, research and training shall be enhanced to enable the new university hospital to develop even better health care for the patients of the future. The facility has, therefore, been planned with a high degree of generality to enable it to be structured in line with new care concepts. High ceilings, strong joists and over-specified infrastructure and technical supplies capacity are forward-looking investments that will pay for themselves by ensuring the long-term flexibility and sustainability of the facility.


The overall design principle is that the entire facility must interact with the city block structure of the "stone city" that surrounds it and shall, wherever possible, maintain an open relationship with the city in the form of entrances and activities that face on to the surrounding streets and squares. A green link - Akademiska stråket [the Academic way] - runs straight through the heart of the facility, linking the Karolinska Hospital park with the campus area within the Karolinska Institute. The facility's exterior has a strict, functionalistic elegance, characterised by glass, steel and white clinker, while internally, the ambition has been to create a healing environment with natural materials and colours as the underlying theme. 

First and biggest

The scale of the NKS project poses new challenges for all involved. It is Sweden's biggest PPP (Public Private Partnership). It is also the country's biggest BIM project and the first hospital that will be environmentally certified in accordance with both Swedish and international standards. To meet the challenges posed by the project, the country's two leading firms of architects, White and Tengbom, are cooperating in the form of a company formed specifically for that end - WhiteTengbomTeam. 

Content: Health/medical care, research, training, services, patient hotel, car parking, technology

A total of ca. 320,000 sqm GFA

Illustrations: White Tengbom Team, Hagastaden