The Knowledge Centre by Norwegian studios Ratio Architects and Nordic Office of Architecture is a medical student research, training and teaching facility at St. Olav’s Hospital in Trondheim. It won the health category at last month’s Inside Festival.

The outside of the building features a black and white glass facade, designed together with artist Anne Aanerud, which provides shade from the sun as well as decoration.

“Architecture and sunshading form the facade and the expression of the building,” Borgen explains. “That is connected to a very high demand on energy reduction.”

Inside, the architects chose to leave much of the building’s wood and concrete structure exposed.

“Because this is very much a university building, we tried to keep it a little bit rough,” Borgen says. “In hospitals you [usually] have all these clinical, sterile materials. We tried to avoid that.”

“We wanted to use natural wood and concrete. The construction is the interior and that’s part of our concept.”

Patient wards and visitor areas, as well as the student library and cafeteria, feature specially commissioned art works painted on the walls.

“We were trying to remove the institutional look,” Borgen explains. “I don’t think a hospital needs to look like a hospital. That is a convention you can challenge as an architect.”

“It’s very hard because you have all kinds of demands that force you to do something. But [the Knowledge Centre] is an attempt to make a good building with function and good form joined together. It’s not different from every other architectural concept or task in that sense.”