This is the award entry for Maersk Tower, entered by C F Moller Architects in the International Design category
The Maersk Tower is a state-of-the-art research building whose innovative architecture creates the optimum framework for world-class health research, making it a landmark in Copenhagen.
It aims to contribute positively by linking the University of Copenhagen with the surrounding neighbourhoods and wider city.
The Tower is an extension of Panum, the University of Copenhagen'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, connected to the latest technology.
In order to create architecture for world-class health research, it is important to design a venue which encourages many opportunities for coming together, transcending different disciplines, from the general public to the research community. This helps to communicate ongoing research activities, leading to knowledge sharing and inspiration for new and ground-breaking research.
By selecting a tower typology, there is greater allowance for a green and urban campus park, which is open to everyone and therefore involves and develops the surrounding neighbourhood.
A unique element of the new Campus Park is the zigzagging 'floating path' that leads pedestrians and cyclists across parts of the Maersk Tower. This allows the public the opportunity to get up close to the building and the researchers while at the same time, creating a new connection between NÃ¸rre Alle and Blegdamsvej.
The Tower rests on a low star-shaped base which contains shared and public facilities. With its transparent facade, the entire base appears open and welcoming and at the same time this transparency allows the interior of the building to blend in with the external green landscape.
The Tower itself holds all research facilities in innovative and modern laboratories.
On each floor the Tower's functions are linked together in an efficient loop, which provides shorter travel distances and strengthens opportunities for teamwork.
A continuous sculptural spiral staircase visually and physically connects the open 15-floor atrium, creating 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 and communal space for the many employees.
A large vertical shard of glass in the copper shutters of the facade makes the spiral staircase and the Science Plazas visible externally and ensures, together with the open base, visibility in relation to the activities of the tower as well as a spectacular and inspiring view over Copenhagen.
The facade of the Tower is divided into a relief-like grid structure of storey-height copper-covered shutters.
The shutters of the facade function as movable climate shields that automatically open or close according to direct sunlight, ensuring direct heat gain in the laboratories is kept to an absolute minimum.
At the same time the shutters provide a deep relief effect to the facade, breaking down the considerable scale of the Tower.
In their expression, they also offer a sense of fineness and verticality.
The Maersk Tower hosts Denmark's most-energy-efficient laboratories, where waste energy is recycled to a hitherto unprecedented level. This, in combination with the movable heat shielding of the facade and other energy-saving measures, makes the building a pioneer of energy-efficient laboratory construction.