Design and materials – University of Copenhagen

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Maersk Tower > Architecture and background > Design and materials

Design and materials

Front

The materials and colours of the Maersk Tower match both Panum and the tower’s urban surroundings. The front is fitted with 3,300 copper shutters giving the building a relief-like expression. The copper-coloured front blends well with the reddish brown brick buildings of the old neighbourhood, and the lines of the building take into account the wind and solar effects and requirements for the internal structure.

A third of the shutters move in accordance with the sun. The expression of the front therefore changes during the day, reducing the energy consumption for cooling by protecting the building from heat from the sun. The movable shutters are made of transparent expanded metal which is, to a large extent, able to keep heat from the sun out. The result is a comfortable and sustainable construction.

The front will gradually patinate from shiny to dark brown; it will take many years for the copper to turn green.

Concrete, glass and oak laminate

A large part of the interior is made of concrete, glass and oak laminate. In order to create the best and most stable setting for research within the health and medical sciences, the building’s concrete core was casted on site. This has made it possible to meet the high demands regarding vibrations, as the building – contrary to many other high-rises – does not sway easily. The beautiful spiral staircase in the large atrium, which can be seen from Blegdamsvej, consists of around 2,000 moulded MDF boards fitted with oak laminate.

Shape and construction

Like a tree, the tower rests on a star-shaped base consisting of four buildings. These buildings, which in terms of function support the research conducted in the tower, house the canteen, auditoriums and common rooms. The buildings are integrated with the landscape and roads of the local area, creating a new connection and shortcut between Nørre Allé and Blegdamsvej in Nørrebro. The tower is triangular with rounded corners pointing in the direction of the surrounding roads.

Floating walkway

A unique part of the campus park is the ‘floating walkway’ that zigzags above parts of the Maersk Tower and connects Nørre Allé and Blegdamsvej. The walkway offers a chance to get close to the building and life at the university and thus get a new experience of both the building and the local area – between towers and trees. The 300 metres long path climbs to tree top level, giving walkers and cyclists a unique view of the local area.

Wind

Wind can be a nuisance around tall buildings when it ‘falls’ around the front. Together with the rounded corners, the fixed copper shutters positioned perpendicular to the building serve to reduce the wind effect.

Wind tunnel tests on a model of the Maersk Tower and the surrounding area has showed that the roads around Panum will not be affected by the wind. However, the wind effect may be noticeable in certain areas very close to the building. Among other things, the wind hits the roofs of a few of the lower buildings, but as no one uses this area, it will not affect anyone. In other areas, trees and shrubs have been placed to abate the wind effect.

Shadow diagram of the tower

The Maersk Tower is located at a distance from both Nørre Allé and Tagensvej and De Gamles By and the blocks on Blegdamsvej. A shadow diagram of the tower shows that during the day direct shadow from the new building will only affect the buildings of Panum. At night the shadow of the tower falls on the block at the corner of Tagensvej and Blegdamsvej in the period April-August. The shadow falls on the Blegdamsvej front of the building, while the court behind the block is only affected to a very small extent, as the shadow of the block itself falls on the area at night.

See how shadow falls on the buildings.

Presentation video of the Maersk Tower