Photo: Adam Mørk - Schmidt Hammer Lassen

This building breaks up the long row of compact office buildings facing the harborfront and Kalvebod Brygge. Resting on only three contact points on the open square, it creates a bright and airy atmosphere in an area that was once anonymous and isolated.

Buildings can, by their very presence, act as barriers to city areas such as waterfronts or parks.

Krystallen, located just a stone’s throw from Copenhagen’s harbour, overcomes this challenge through clever design. Resting on only three contact points, the triple-layered glass office complex lifts off the ground, creating public space under and around it.

Owing to its rhombic skeleton acting as the building’s load-bearing element, the absence of structural columns creates a transparent view into its interior and the fervent activity of its workers.

Inside, two central atria ensure all working space is flooded with natural light, the first aspect of Krystallen’s impressive energy efficient measures.

On the roof, solar panels cover the area of three tennis courts, rainwater is harvested for flushing toilets and nearby sea water is used to cool the building.

Surrounding Krystallen, flat shallow water pools polka dot the stone and concrete surface. As such, light is reflected from the ground as well as the building itself, allowing the whole area to change mood with the seasons, the weather or time of day. In the summer, the building’s public space is divided by shooting water fountains, acting as moving walls popular with passing children and families.


Copenhagen, Vesterbro


Schmidt Hammer Lassen


Nykredit Ejendomme A/S

Landscape architect