Henning Larsen imagines ‘Marmormolen’ as one of Denmark’s largest timber buildings

Combining offices, retail, and public space, the mixed-use structure will serve as an extension of the waterfront along Copenhagen’s Nordhavn district, upon completion in 2024.

by Jerry ElengicalPublished on : Dec 06, 2021

'Marmormolen' by Henning Larsen is a concept for an eight-storey timber building that integrates functional typologies related to offices, retail, and public space across its 28,000 sqm floor area in the Nordhavn district of Copenhagen. Designed in collaboration with engineering group Ramboll for the Danish pension fund AP Pension, the project hosts an inviting green plaza, promenades, a waterfront park, and verdant rooftop gardens in a building that will rank among the largest contemporary timber structures in Denmark. The firm describes the project’s underlying concept as a 'marketplace for ideas', with a ground floor that smoothly supplements the open public waterfront it flows into.

The project is situated along the waterfront in Copenhagen’s Nordhavn district | Marmormolen | Henning Larsen | STIRworld
The project is situated along the waterfront in Copenhagen’s Nordhavn district Image: © Sora

The building's prospective site is located in proximity to commercial areas along the city’s waterfront with ready access to shops, eateries, and public transportation. Formerly an industrial haven at the turn of the millennium, Nordhavn has since morphed into a hotbed for innovation in design and technology, serving as a test site for groundbreaking projects ranging from self-driving vehicles to structures made of recycled bricks. Marmormolen is no exception, with its conceptualisation essentially driven by a commitment to sustainable design. The team at Henning Larsen saw an opportunity to eschew a conventional concrete structure in favour of using timber - which stores embodied carbon and is a far more environmentally-friendly alternative.

The eight-storey structure employs timber as its primary material | Marmormolen | Henning Larsen | STIRworld
The eight-storey structure employs timber as its primary material Image: © Sora

“Today, it is imperative that architecture challenges our usual notion of structures and materials. The construction industry is a major emitter of CO2, and we therefore also have great opportunities to make things better. We are excited to be working with AP Pension on a project that puts sustainability and sustainable strategies such as the UN’s Sustainable Development Goals first, says Søren Øllgaard,” a Partner and Design Director at Henning Larsen, in a press statement.

From a height of eight storeys, the blocks drop down three levels to create terraces towards the building’s opposing end | Marmormolen | Henning Larsen | STIRworld
From a height of eight storeys, the blocks drop down three levels to create terraces towards the building’s opposing end Image: © Sora

Articulated as a single mass composed of smaller cubes arranged to create cascading terraces, the structure’s gridded glass façade design reflects strong contemporary sensibilities while forging a sense of openness and connection to the waterfront and adjoining urban green spaces on three of its sides. From their full height of eight storeys - bordering a busy street and railway tracks, the blocks step down three levels towards housing units on the opposing side. As per the architects, each block will possess its own green terraces, beehives, butterfly hotels, and vegetable production areas to promote biodiversity and self-sufficiency.

The ground floor will be accessible to the public as a natural extension of the public space along the waterfront | Marmormolen | Henning Larsen | STIRworld
The ground floor will be accessible to the public as a natural extension of the public space along the waterfront Image: © Sora

The building’s interior design also adopts timber as its primary medium of expression, with a publicly accessible ground floor and an interactive program layout that contrasts the traditionally introverted and sterile spatial qualities of most office spaces. On the building's ground floor, a large cantina and auditorium double as venues for theatres and flea markets, while the upper levels provide breathtaking views of the sea and Copenhagen’s skyline. A vast courtyard replete with greenery occupies the centre of the building, to allow sunlight to flood into the building’s interior.

Amenities on the ground floor include a large cantina and auditorium | Marmormolen | Henning Larsen | STIRworld
Amenities on the ground floor include a large cantina and auditorium Image: © Sora

Mikkel Eskildsen, Associate Design Director and Lead Design Architect on the project shares in an official release, “Workplaces used to be very interior and exclusive, but people today want to feel they are a part of a more diverse community and open up to their surroundings. With Marmormolen we want to create more than a great office building, we also want it to give something back to the city and make the building come alive – even outside office hours.” The project is expected to break ground early next year, with its opening slated for 2024.

The interior design also utilises timber as its primary medium of expression | Marmormolen | Henning Larsen | STIRworld
The interior design also utilises timber as its primary medium of expression Image: © Sora

Project Details

Name: Marmormolen
Location: Copenhagen, Denmark
Architect: Henning Larsen
Height: 36 meters
Area: 28,000 sqm
Floors: 8
Status: Groundbreaking early 2022, expected opening 2024

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