Lizzie Christensen and Jens Balle had their first working day at C.F. Møller Architects together back in 1983. Recently, they could celebrate 25 years with the company with their colleagues. Over the years, they have seen many exciting hospital design projects, and have enjoyed great freedom in their work.
Lizzie and Jens were originally employed when C.F. Møller Architects won the competition to design the new Køge Hospital for Roskilde County. Here, important messages would shoot through the building in pneumatic tubes, and many square metres of shelving had to be allowed for to hold the vast numbers of documents and patient records.
At present, Jens Balle part of the team working on the extension of the former Skejby Hospital, called the New University Hospital in Aarhus. Much space will be needed here for electronic equipment such as CT and MR scanners, and in the hospital basement corridors there may even be robots to ferry supplies back and forth with everything from food to hospital equipment.
A lot has happened in the twenty-five years that technical assistant Lizzie Christensen and architect and project manager Jens Balle have been with the company.
A national map of hospitals
"Hospitals these days are built up of the same basic units as back then: treatment units, wards and out-patient departments. But a lot has changed in the way that hospitals are organised. More patients are for example given out-patient treatment. The changes place new demands on the architecture and interior design," says Jens.
Lizzie and Jens feel it's been exciting to take part in the changes and to extend their own knowledge at the same time.
"There have always been many exciting tasks to get involved in. The time went by so quickly that I never really stopped to wonder whether I should be doing anything else," says Jens.
Lizzie continues: "I enjoy designing hospitals. If you have an ambition to work with specialised hospital projects, there are plenty of challenges to be had at C.F. Møller Architects."
Their CVs practically form a national map of Danish hospitals: all the way from Frederikshavn in the north to Kolding in the south, and from Herning in the west to Bornholm at the easternmost edge of the country. And of course Skejby Hospital in Aarhus, which as mentioned is now to be extended. Then there are the foreign hospitals, such as Oslo's new central hospital, Nye Ahus University Hospital.
Freedom with responsibility
"We have enjoyed being in a workplace where we can work very independently. We organise our own work and our working days. There is a marked degree of freedom with responsibility here," says Jens, and Lizzie nods in agreement.
"And then of course we have some very good colleagues," she adds. "We know each other very well, and that helps to make the work run smoothly."
"Yes, we two only need to say a couple of words to each other, and we immediately know what the other wants. I suppose we have become a kind of professional married couple," smiles Jens.