Maersk Tower – A towering achievement in exceptional architecture
A new landmark in Copenhagen, Denmark, the Maersk Tower is a state-of-the-art research building whose innovative architecture creates the optimum framework for world-class health research.
Linking the University of Copenhagen with the city and the surrounding neighbourhood, the tower is an extension of Panum, the university’s Faculty of Health and Medical Sciences, and contains both research and teaching facilities, as well as a conference centre with auditoriums and meeting rooms, all fitted with the latest technology.
With its easily readable and dynamically curved shape, the 15 storey research tower, designed by C.F. Møller Architects, stands as a sculptural and identity-creating linchpin for the university’s Faculty of Health Sciences, while at the same time forming a visible and open link between the city and the North Campus.
Mads Mandrup of C.F. Møller Architects said: “In order to create architecture for world-class health research, it was important to design a venue with many opportunities for coming together that transcend different disciplines, the general public and the research community. This helps to facilitate knowledge sharing and inspiration for new and groundbreaking research.”
The tower rests on a low star-shaped base that reaches out into the landscape towards the city and contains all the shared and public facilities such as lecture halls, classrooms, the canteen, show lab, conference rooms and the book café. The foyer can also be found in the base, where the entrance staircase stands like a piece of furniture, with its warm wooden surface inviting one to pause on the elevated seating steps.
Mads Mandrup said: “The base connects the functions of the existing Panum complex with the Maersk Tower. The central space of the base forms an open and dynamic gathering place where researchers, students and guests meet and cross paths while heading to and from their activities. A deliberate layout of the functions of the base ensures short distances from the central space, creating a bigger interface between researchers and students as they move around between the base’s various facilities.”
With its transparent façade, the entire base appears open and welcoming, whilst at the same time, the transparent façade allows the interior of the building to blend in with the external green landscape.
In the tower itself are the research facilities, incorporating innovative and modern laboratories. A considerable focus on visibility and transparency in research is underlined by the use of glass in the interior décor, while plug-and-play functions ensure both scientific innovation and flexibility. On each floor the tower’s functions are linked together in an efficient loop, which minimises distances and strengthens opportunities for cooperation.
The tower is linked both horizontally and vertically by an open atrium, where the sculptural spiral staircase both visually and physically connects the 15 floors and creates an extensive three-dimensional sense of space. Close to the staircase on each floor there is an open and inviting ‘Science Plaza’, which serves as a natural meeting place and communal space for the many employees.
A large vertical shard of glass in the copper shutters of the façade, makes the spiral staircase and the Science Plazas visible from the outside and ensures, together with the open base, visibility in relation to the activities of the tower as well as a spectacular and inspiring views over Copenhagen from the Science Plazas.
Mads Mandrup concluded: “The façade of the tower is divided into a relief-like grid structure of floor-high copper-covered shutters. The copper coating echoes Copenhagen’s many copper church steeples, which, together with the Maersk Tower, pierce the homogeneous cityscape. At the same time the shutters give the façade a deep relief effect and break down the considerable scale of the tower, while the vertical structure of the shutters enhances the vertical appearance of the building.”