Groundbreaking Buildings that Changed the World

In a new exhibition, the Danish Architecture Centre is presenting 100 buildings, which helped to shape the image of world-class Danish architecture in the eyes of Danes and of the rest of the world

På stedet Storebælt - SBF_foto Susanne Jensen_01_high.jpg

Storebæltsbroen, DISSING+WEITLING.  Foto: Susanne Jensen

Did you know that the Great Belt Bridge is the longest suspension bridge in Europe? That the Sydney Opera House has been listed as a building of inalienable world cultural heritage by the United Nations?  Or that Bella Sky Hotel in Ørestad is more lopsided than the Leaning Tower of Pisa? All these buildings have made a difference in the world and all were conceived and realised as a result of collaboration between Danish architects and engineers.

You can discover these three, and 97 other buildings in the Danish Architecture Centre's new autumn exhibition,Groundbreaking Constructions - 100 Danish Breakthroughs that Changed the World, which will open as part ofCulture Nighton 9 October. The exhibition spotlights a selection of breakthroughs in Danish architecture, which set new standards and changed our perception of what buildings can do for mankind.

World-class building

Danish buildings are recognisable all over the world. Whether you are in France, Iran, Australia or the United States, the projects of Danish architects and engineers always tell a story of powerful innovation, high quality design and a humanistic approach.

The Danish Architecture Centre'sexhibition,Groundbreaking Constructions focuses on 100 achievements in Denmark and abroad, in which visionary Danish architects and innovative engineers helped to develop, invent and reinvent architecture, thus setting new standards in the world of building: both at home and overseas.

"Architecture is an art form. But it is an applied art and does not move people until they experience it: not until it has been realised in the form of actual buildings. The exhibition shows that this can only happen when different professions work together.By themselves, the individual parties involved in a construction project are like soccer players without a team. Only as a team and through phenomenal interaction can they make it to the premier league, performing brilliantly and creating groundbreaking buildings. This is the acknowledgement we want to express in this exhibition," says Kent Martinussen, CEO of the Danish Architecture Centre.

Anne Skovbro, Head of Philanthropy at Realdania, one of the partners responsible for the exhibition, emphasises that interdisciplinary cooperation is the key to creating high quality construction:

"I think the exhibition is making a very important point: that it takes cooperation to achieve the best results. Quality and innovation in the built environment usually emerge when a number of different professions unite and ask new questions about old issues. Questions such as… How far can a bridge span between two points? How thin can a construction be, before it collapses? At Realdania, we believe that we can create something greater by working together than we can by working alone. This exhibition clearly illustrates that this also applies to the collaboration between the engineer, the architect, the developer and the contractor."

The most lopsided building in Europe and other surprises

As well as familiar Danish buildings, the exhibition also includes a number of surprises or unknown projects. Very few people know that it was a Danish engineer, Jørgen Saxild of the Danish firm Kampsax, who was in charge of the construction of the Trans-Iranian railway - from the Arabian Gulf to the Caspian Sea - in the early 1930s. The railway runs for 1,349 km through the rugged landscape of Iran and includes 251 large, and 4,000 small bridges, together with 245 tunnels, which had to be built in a climate of -35º in the mountains and +50º in the Iranian desert. It may also come as a surprise that Bella Sky Hotel in Ørestad has Europe's most lopsided façade and is a feat of engineering, in which the upper and lower storeys were staggered by 20 metres, thus creating a lop-sidedness that exceeds that of the Leaning Tower of Pisa in Italy.

Experiments with round arches and soap bubbles

The exhibition introduces visitors to many fascinating building achievements and the stories behind them. And you can have a go at applying the principles of construction: for example, one of the oldest architectural elements in the world - the round arch. Visitors are invited to build together. It's difficult alone, but together it's fun!

They can also test how the ductility and strength of soap bubbles and their so-called "minimal surfaces" can inspire concrete solutions. Such was the case in the construction of the prestigious Grande Arche at La Défense in Paris.Culture Nightmarks not only the start of the half-term holiday, but also the opening of the Play LEGO® Architect event, in which children and playful adults can build their own groundbreaking constructions.

In historical terms, cooperation between innovative engineers and visionary architects has not only created some of the world's largest, most award-winning and acclaimed architectural icons, but has also led to improved health, better working conditions and large energy savings in the building sector. WithGroundbreaking Constructions, the Danish Architecture Centre and Realdania, in association with Rambøll, Sund & Bælt, DISSING+WEITLING Architecture and schmidt hammer lassen architects pay tribute to Danish building achievements by shining the spotlight on 100 of the very best.

Press photos

>> Find press photos from the exhibition

Press preview

October 9 at 10-11 a.m. there will be a press preview in English in the exhibition with an opportunity to meet the curators.

About the exhibition

Groundbreaking Constructions - 100 Danish Breakthroughs that Changed the World'is on show from October 9 to December 18 at the Danish Architecture Centre, Strandgade 27B, 1401 København K, Denmark. Entrance: 60 kr.

>> Read more about the exhibition and buy tickets

About The Danish Architecture Centre

The Danish Architecture Centre (DAC) is Denmark's national centre for the development and dissemination of knowledge about architecture, building and urban development.

We offer a wide range of professional and cultural activities, including exhibitions, professionalization, seminars, guided tours in the city, etc.

Monday - Friday: 10 AM - 5 PM

Wednesday open until 9 PM. Free admission to the exhibition 5-9 PM

Saturday - Sunday: 10 AM - 5 PM 

For more info:

Kristina Neel Jakobsen, press officer

Telephone: +45 2365 4045, E-mail:

Last updated Friday, October 09, 2015