Beckomberga Hospital

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Beckomberga Hospital
Beckomberga-hospital.jpg
Beckomberga Hospital during final stages of construction (c. 1935)
Geography
Location Stockholm County, Sweden
Coordinates 59°21′31″N 17°54′12″E / 59.35861°N 17.90333°E / 59.35861; 17.90333Coordinates: 59°21′31″N 17°54′12″E / 59.35861°N 17.90333°E / 59.35861; 17.90333
History
Founded 1935
Closed 1995
Links
Lists Hospitals in Sweden

Beckomberga Hospital (Swedish: Beckomberga sjukhus) was a Swedish psychiatric hospital, situated in Bromma west of Stockholm. Opened in 1932, Beckomberga was in its mid-20th century heyday one of the largest psychiatric hospitals in Europe, housing some 2,000 mentally ill patients. The hospital was closed in 1995.

History[edit]

Beckomberga Hospital was built in 1929–1935 by architect Carl Westman, who cooperated with chief surgeon Ivar Andersson to plan and design the new hospital on land acquired by the Stockholm City council in 1927. The new hospital was located some distance from the city limits, intentionally kept isolated from urban areas. In 1932 the first section opened, ready to house some 600 patients. Finished in 1935, Beckomberga Hospital was already one of the largest psychiatric hospitals in Europe with room for 1,600 patients and approximately 800 staff.

Surrounded with high-class landscaping, intended to play an important part in the therapy for the mentally ill patients, the entire hospital was designed according to classical ideas with buildings and the hospital park arranged in a large-scale symmetrical pattern along a central north-south axis. The central axis starts in the south with a straight linden tree avenue, up to a semi-circular square before the central part of the hospital.

Four massive four-storey buildings, which were originally interconnected with high walls, create a closed rectangular courtyard. Women and men were separated in each long building, with female patients housed in the western building and male patients in the eastern. Administration was located in the southern building, and the northern housed the kitchen facility. In the center of the courtyard is located a lower bricked building which served as an auditorium and church. The courtyard had strict landscaping with small trees, trimmed like pyramids. Almost all buildings surrounding the central complex were also strictly arranged according to the symmetrical pattern.

The buildings are relatively soberly designed with few distinct details; the overall impression is monumental. The interior, however, has gradually been changed and very little remains from the original interior. An exception is the auditorium in the central courtyard, which keeps its original interior with ceiling paintings, as well as stage and balcony with classical decoration. This building along with the administration building are listed blue (class I) – as buildings of most historical importance. The remaining original buildings are listed green (class II) – important in a culture-historical perspective.

The central hospital unit was surrounded with a park with spacious lawns and extensive gardens and linden tree avenues, though some natural hill formations were kept. Since the hospital opened in the mid 1930s, only a few more buildings were added; the hospital area therefore kept its original character. However, since the hospital finally closed in 1995, the city council has decided to convert the area into a housing development, putting the future of the historic buildings and park in jeopardy.

References[edit]