Søholm: Nordic modernism on the Øresund seaside
Arne Jacobsen’s small brick townhouses in Klampenborg mark the transition to a heyday in Danish architecture
It is normally the whitewashed and beautifully rounded facades of the Bellevue Theater and the residential building Bellavista that draws people’s attention when they reach Klampenborg by way of the coastal road Strandvejen. Both were designed by Arne Jacobsen in the interwar period.
Yet it is the nearby cluster of 18 small yellow brick townhouses that paved the way for the international recognition of the influential architect. Named Søholm after a villa that once occupied the plot, they mark the transition to what has since been referred to as the Golden Age of Danish architecture.
From two to three dimensions
The houses are situated in three groups with different floorplans. They are staggered with their distinctive roof pitches, which give them a three-dimensional look that differs from, say , classic English terraced houses with two facades and a roof centered in the middle.
Inside, the shape of the roof provided a novel way to incorporate natural lighting and multiple levels. It is notable how each townhouse offers privacy from the street, without a lot of show, while the windows on the roof and overlooking the backyard give the homes much of their character.
Home to Arne Jacobsen
Søholm was erected in the years following World War II. The Danish economy was in shambles, and the state offered inexpensive loans for houses of max. 110 m2. Arne Jacobsen was a part of the private consortium that built Søholm and ultimately moved into the end unit closest to Strandvejen, where he lived until his passing in 1971.
For many years, Arne Jacobsen worked from his basement, where he designed such iconic works as the SAS Hotel and the National Bank of Denmark. Today, the house is rented out via Realdania, which acquired the house and had it restored to very close to Arne Jacobsen’s original design.
During opening hours, take a peek inside Bellevue Theater, which Arne Jacobsen designed in the interwar years. There are still performances here, and a restaurant offers food and drink and a view overlooking Øresund.
The classic tour of the area takes you slightly inland towards Dyrehaven. But, in fact, there is a special treat awaiting visitors in the third, fourth and fifth streets away from the coast, where homes from the turn of the century are lined up like pearls on a string, taking you back in time.