Copenhagen Gallery

Aller Building

On the outermost pier of Havneholmen behind the Fisketorvet shopping mall, the Aller media company has consolidated its activities in a new headquarters.

The Aller media company has consolidated all of its activities in a new headquarters building on the Copenhagen waterfront.

On the outermost pier of Havneholmen behind the Fisketorvet shopping mall PLH Architects have created an eight-storey headquarters building of glass, steel and aluminium which Jan Christiansen, city architect of Copenhagen, has described as archetypically masculine.

A triangle of glass

The triangular form of the outermost pier of Havneholmen provided the inspiration for the shape of the Aller building which appears as an icebreaker making its way through the harbour. From its pointed end you can look down along the curved facades of glass and aluminium, through which light pours in on all three sides of the building.

The tapering front and the elevation at the waterside span eight storeys, whereas the building slopes down towards the short side of the triangle dropping to five storeys in height. On this side of the building the entrance with Aller's red logo is placed adjacent to a forecourt for parking which allows easy access for staff and guests. It does, however, hamper the potential of the increasingly vibrant area behind Fisketorvet which has developed as a result of boat rental, harbour baths and the flow of cyclists and pedestrians crossing the Bryggebroen bridge.

Artistic punch

The large glass facade enables daylight to flood into the spacious atrium running south to east through the heart of the building. The palette of materials used in the construction of the atrium -- granite, oak, walnut and frosted glass -- was selected to reflect the changing seasons in Scandinavia. A spiral-shaped light sculpture made of white and blue lamps spans the full height of the atrium acting, when viewed from Bryggebroen, as a landmark for the building.

The architects conducted an analysis of the staff's work patterns and subsequently designed the building to match their needs. This led to a design dominated by glass and transparency which makes it easy for staff to get in contact with each other. Rooms are flexible in layout and can be tailored to the size of the editorial teams who need them; also, staff can take their work to the big green armchairs or hold meetings in the open kitchenettes. Carpets on the floors and low, acoustic ceilings help reduce to a minimum the noise from several hundred employees.

In December 2009 the architectural design and interior layout earned the architects the City of Copenhagen's award for best office building. The jury stated: 'Set as a knife-edge on the corner it packs an artistic punch that is utterly convincing'.

A funnel in the harbour

850 offices mean high energy consumption. In particular, the cooling of IT equipment is a challenge for large media companies. In this case the architects have exploited the Aller building's location in the middle of the harbour. The large triangular structure is connected directly to the harbour basin and funnels water from the harbour of Copenhagen into the building to cool down the huge number of computers.

Last updated Tuesday, January 21, 2014