Copenhagen Gallery

Mærsk Bygningen

The stronghold of Danish Brutalism, the Panum Institute, is being given a stylish and outgoing annexe. The Maersk building will provide research with a first class setting, which will increase competitiveness and promote Danish research.

There are many witty stories about how cleverly the architects, who designed the Panum Institute, managed to conceal the entrance. And there is no denying that it is quite an effort to discover the main entrance, which is tucked away in the courtyard facing Nørre Allé. The Mærsk Building will give the Panum Institute a new annexe, which, in addition to providing 35,000 new square metres for research and teaching, will also help to soften Panum's colossal, shut-in appearance, not least with the assistance of a new, more easily accessible main entrance. This will be located next to Blegdamsvej, where a forecourt will integrate the building into the street and create activity.

Much needed square metres for research and teaching

Overcrowding and worn out, outmoded conditions has long been an obstacle at Panum. Modern teaching and research facilities are therefore necessary, if the University of Copenhagen is to continue to attract the best researchers and students from all over the world, and conduct research at a high international level.

The new square metres will be deployed mainly for classrooms, lecture halls and research laboratories, in which six institutes of the Faculty of Health Sciences will conduct frontier research in areas such as cancer, dementia, diabetes, heart disease and allergies. The project also includes a new canteen, bicycle storage and a new main entrance.

The annexe has been named after its patron, Maersk, who through the foundation, the A. P. Møller og Hustru Chastine Mc-Kinney Møllers Fond til almene Formaal, has donated DKK 655m, which corresponds to almost half of the budget.

Open, welcoming annexe will liven up the Panum colossus

Viewed from the air, the Maersk building resembles an irregular star, emanating from the existing Panum building.  Four low buildings jut out at ground level, at the same time providing the basis for a 15-storey high-rise unit. This tall building is shaped like a triangle with rounded corners and will reflect the orientation of the surrounding roads.

The façade is kept in warm shades of red, which match Panum and create a visual connection and transition between the two buildings. But here the similarities also end. Whereas Panum may seem dark and closed, the Maersk building will be light and open. The façade is light and transparent with lots of glass, inviting one through the new main entrance, which is designed like a large campus plaza, this time facing Blegdamsvej.

Green focus

The project also includes a new, recreational public space, which will envelop the Mærsk Building and continue the whole way to Sct Johannes Kirke on Sankt Hans Torv. Between the buildings there will be new plazas and inner garden spaces with alcoves and places to sit. They will serve as an extension of the teaching areas and offices, but also constitute a green contribution to the city. Between Nørre Allé and Blegdamsvej a pedestrian path and cycle lane will be constructed, cutting right through the whole area.

The ambition is also to encourage and strengthen the use of bicycles and public transport, thus avoiding more traffic in an already busy area. Therefore, the project includes the construction of a covered bicycle storage facility with space for 1,400 bicycles, in addition to 1,400 outdoor bicycle parking spaces. As a follow-up to the redevelopment of Panum, the North Campus and the University Hospital, the City of Copenhagen plans to establish a new high-speed bus service between Vibenhus Runddel and Nørreport.

Tuesday, May 21, 2013 / By Ida Oline Frandsen

Last updated Thursday, July 10, 2014