High-profile companies and organisations often engage architects to design their office buildings and headquarters for them. Here, we delve into three cool workplaces designed by the Danish architectural firms 3XN, C.F. Møller and KHR architects.
Situated in Copenhagen, the Danish law firm Horten is headquartered in a building designed by 3XN. Completed in 2009, the building reflects the duality between the classic and the modern. By combining solidness with an advanced choice of materials, 3XN designed a building that expresses Horten’s solid integrity as well as the firm’s visions for new, future forms of collaboration.
Comprising a total of 10,000 square metres of floor area, the building can boast a travertine-clad façade that reinterprets the classic concept of a corporate head office. Furthermore, this façade changes appearance depending on the viewing angle, and can give the impression of being a craggy cliff face, an ocean blue glass façade or an intricate geometrical pattern of chunky diagonal, vertical and horizontal friezes.
The façade elements were developed specially for the building’s complex geometry, while at the same time taking on board the requirements for sustainability. Avoiding direct sunlight, while still offering views to the water was one of the key requirements for the façade windows. Sustainability is in this way integrated into the architectural design itself.
“The building is a good example of how environmentally friendly objectives can be combined with beautiful architecture”, says Kim Herforth Nielsen, Creative Director and Founder of 3XN.
At the forefront of the harbour in Aarhus, Denmark, the Danish clothing company Bestseller recently inaugurated a new office building designed by Danish architectural practice C.F. Møller. The new office complex houses 800 employees and resembles a flotilla with varied building volumes at different levels connected by a series of outdoor spaces, from courtyards to terraces and roof gardens.
Varying from one to twelve storeys, the complex comprises office space, showrooms, photo and film studios, an auditorium and a generous canteen-restaurant area, plus a three-storey car park with space for 450 cars, 400 bicycle racks and a goods reception zone below street level. Using seawater cooling and solar energy, the building is designed as a low energy class 2015 building. This includes the requirement that energy consumption will be 50% lower than the minimum requirements stated in the building regulations.
Functioning as the focal point of the complex, an internal ‘street’ comprises a central indoor plaza laid over a road passage that splits the building’s ground floor into two halves. The plaza allows access to a communal auditorium, meeting facilities and an experimental store environment. Large fashion shows, meetings and lectures can be accommodated for around 500 to 1000 people, with the crowd gathered around and on the plateau, stairs and balconies.
On the occasion of The Day of Architecture on 01 October 2015, Aarhus Municipality awarded the new office complex the Architecture Prize 2015.
“The building is rewarded for the good disposition and the almost artistic use of a simple and clear choice of materials. The large building complex is composed of smaller volumes and obtains in this way a human scale”, reads part of the motivation for the award to the Bestseller complex.
From clothing to state-of-the-art audio video systems, the renowned Danish audio and television manufacturer Bang & Olufsen is headquartered in Struer, Denmark. ‘The Farm’, which is the name of their head office, was designed by Danish architectural office KHR architects. The oblong building mass seems to hover some metres above the ground due to the fact that it is placed on pillars.
The design of The Farm was inspired by the solitary farmhouses typical of the area of Western Jutland. The main building and its courtyard form a sheltered space with an unfettered view of all the building activities. Like its historic models, the building aims to create a dialogue between the function and technology of man-made structures and the dimension of the landscape.
The building was inaugurated in 1998, and the entrance has been described as walking into one huge stereo system due to the elegant use of materials like glass, tiles and concrete. The Farm is surrounded by green fields, allowing almost every employee to have a view of grazing white sheep.
The complex’s gross floor area is 5,500 square metres, and the inside physical working environment is permeated by a dynamic focus on the fact there is no hierarchal division of spaces. By this, the architects have designed a working space free from doors and walls, to emphasise the feeling of a flat hierarchal structure.