The Black Diamond: Sparkling Gem on the Waterfront


© Laura Stamer

The Black Diamond leans almost unnaturally over Copenhagen’s harbor, reflecting the ripple of waves in its dark, glittering facade. This unique construction gives the building a dynamic appearance that stands out from most of the harbor front’s vertical facades.

On the harbor side, a large “wedge” splits the building’s black mass in two. This wedge is clad with glass and houses the building’s bright atrium. Using technical calculations, it was possible to construct the facade without large traversing or vertical beams – definitely an aesthetic advantage for the facade. The facade of The Black Diamond is clad in black granite from Zimbabwe, cut and polished in Northern Italy. Each stone weighs 75 kg.

The slanting pre-stressed glass facade comprises a system of pressure rods and cables in a vertical system with a load of 10 tons. The top of the structure is held up by giant steel girders, weighing 1 ton per meter and secured at the base of the structure to L-beams turned on their head to resemble the number 7. Both the girders and beams are made from Polish steel. With this construction, it is possible to have the slanting facade without too many disrupting components.

Undulating Concrete Balconies

An insanely difficult challenge for the engineers at MOE was creating the undulating balconies in the atrium, which also had to slant. More than 10,000 coordinate points in the formwork made it possible to shape and bend the framework for the casting, thus giving The Black Diamond’s interior an almost silky-soft look.

Sight and Sound

The Black Diamond offers a range of exciting artworks, including the Kirkeby Bridge named after the renowned Danish artist, Per Kirkeby. His impressive decorations adorn the entire ceiling of the bridge, connecting the Black Diamond with the library’s older buildings.

Every day at 1:00 PM, the central atrium of The Black Diamond is filled with sound art for a few minutes. The work “KATALOG” by composer Fuzzy includes 52 electroacoustic pieces, inspired by some of the library’s most valuable treasures. A new piece is played each week, creating a unique experience for visitors.

Near The Black Diamond

Looking out through the large atrium’s harbor-facing glass facade, you can admire The Circle Bridge, created by artist Olafur Eliasson. To the south, you’ll find BLOX and Danish Architecture Center, located on the opposite side of Søren Kierkegaard Plads.

Christiansborg Palace is also close by, separated only by the charming, somewhat secretive library garden, established in 1920. The garden is built on top of what was once the king’s war harbor. The maritime past is visible at the end of the garden, where old mooring rings for ships are embedded in the wall.

The Black Diamond is part of The Copenhagen Cultural District, which encompasses many of the city’s most prominent cultural institutions – all in the heart of Copenhagen.


Copenhagen, Inner City


Schmidt Hammer Lassen


Ministry of Culture Denmark


Moe & Brødsgaard