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C.F. Møller Architects, Kopenhagen, Carlsberg

Modern Take on Tradition: Carlsberg Headquarters by C.F. Møller in Copenhagen

It will take a few more years for the construction cranes to finally leave Carlsberg’s west Copenhagen grounds, where the beverages conglomerate discontinued brewing in 2008. The area has since been undergoing redevelopment into a mixed-use neighbourhood containing housing, commercial and cultural uses, but nevertheless Carlsberg left its headquarters at the site – and over the past years has been erecting a new building designed by C.F. Møller, winner of the respective architectural competition in 2008. Now complete, the volume for 500 employees consists of three office wings staggered in height and surrounding a central atrium five storeys high. The west wing provides a striking end point to the whole area by forming a bridge over J.C. Jacobsens Gade, a street named for the company founder. The villa of his son Carl exists at the grounds to this day but a second stately residence had to make way for the new administration building. The previously private villa garden is now accessible to the public for the first time.

Offering open-plan office areas – so-called touchdown workstations – on the ground floor and around the atrium, and closed-off rooms for meetings and work in small groups, the floor plans accord with contemporary standards.  The façades, at first glance reminiscent of those on Maersk Tower erected in Copenhagen in 2017, have copper composite metal ribs that articulate the individual façade fields, filled partially with glass and partially with perforated sheet copper. Inter-pane blinds shade the windows. The sheet metal contains 50% recycled material and the perforations recall stylised hops leaves in appearance. 

The architects also upheld traditions in their open space design: a stream stylised into a cascaded channel divides off the façade perimeter from the publicly-accessible garden and is to recall the spring that led Carlsberg to set up operations at the site in the first place. The water bodies are fed by runoff from the building’s roof, which is greened in part and otherwise covered in solar panels.  The site has another relict of company history: a round building, painted white, that served Carl Jacobsen as an ice store for his private residence before he used it to install the first factory-made refrigerator in private use in Denmark.

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