NH Collection Copenhagen: From Fortress to Comfort
The ‘Desert Fortress,’ as it’s remembered by many Copenhagen residents, was once an inaccessible – almost hostile building. A concrete construction with straight lines that closed in on itself. In 2021, this 60s building underwent a total transformation. Although it has retained its structure and facade, it now presents an entirely different and more attractive expression as the hotel NH Collection Copenhagen.
Originally, the ‘Desert Fortress’ (translated from its Danish nickname: Ørkenfortet) was constructed as the headquarters for the large Danish shipyard B&W. Architect Palle Suenson designed the office building, which despite its iconic status, never became a darling in the Copenhagen cityscape. Since then, the building has had various tenants and most recently served as the headquarters for Nordea. In 2018, the bank moved its headquarters to Ørestad, opening new possibilities for the centrally located building.
The Copenhagen Municipality insisted that the facade, with its 1960s appearance, be preserved, and so it has been. However, there has been a clear transition from a very strict and closed appearance to a more open and inviting expression.
A Sustainable Transformation
Every window in the building has been replaced with new ones that resemble the original, and more have been added. The renovation also includes a seventh floor with panoramic windows and rooftop terrace on top. And if you walk along Torvegade next to the building, you can now get a look into the hotel’s luxurious interior. The ground floor has been expanded, and a restaurant facing the harbor has opened.
Although much has changed, the building’s structure is preserved. For instance, on the ground floor, you can see the concrete pillars that form a partition between the old building and its annex. By retaining the old steel frame and reusing the old concrete, the total carbon footprint of the construction is significantly lower than if a new building had been erected.
Entering through the revolving door from Strandgade, you are greeted by an escalator illuminated by a golden light installation by designer Anna Bak. Up the escalator, you arrive in a foyer that feels somewhat like a luxurious cave, with low ceilings and dark, warm colors.
From Knippelsbro, you can see the umbrellas on top of the building. Up here, the view of Copenhagen is amplified to 360 degrees. The rooftop terrace is not exclusively for the hotel’s guests but does require a table reservation in advance.
Near NH Collection Copenhagen
Crossing to the opposite side of Knippelsbro, you can see the Børsen’s spiraled tower, Christiansborg, and the National Bank. Instead, if you begin at the hotel’s waterfront restaurant and follow the harbor south, you’ll soon reach the Circle Bridge. With its sailboat-like platforms, it invites visitors to linger with views of The Black Diamond and BLOX.