The Black Diamond


Photo: Eva Ørum

Lots of calculations were necessary to give the Danish National Library its almost silky-soft looking interior.

The Black Diamond’s glittering facade gives the building its characteristic black exterior. It is built in the shape of a cube that leans to one side toward the harbor waters. The slanting facade gives the building a dynamic look that stands out from more traditional buildings with perpendicular facades.

Push and Pull in the Glass Facade

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 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.


Copenhagen, Inner City


schmidt hammer lassen Architects


Ministry of Culture Denmark


Moe & Brødsgaard