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The Crystal

Copenhagen/Denmark

Size/ 6,600 m²
On comission/ 2006
Status/ Construction period 2008 – 2010
Client/ Nykredit
Landscape architect/ SLA
Engineer/ Grontmij/ Buro Happold
Awards/ 2011 ArchDaily Building of the Year Award, Office category/ 2012, Arne of the Year Award, shortlisted in the Big Arne category/ 2011, European Steel Design Award/ 2011, LEAF Award, Best Structural Design of the Year/ 2011, World Architecture Festival, shortlisted in the Office category/ 2012, RIBA Award, shortlisted in the EU category/ 2013, IABSE Denmark’s Structure Award

The Crystal is an extension to the existing SHL designed Nykredit premises that sits opposite the site. It reads as a transparent, geometrical, glazed form which, resting only on a single point, floats as a visually light, crystalline structure above the plaza. The building’s multi-faceted glass façade reflects daylight and surroundings. The double-glazing features an integrated sunscreen allowing the building to adapt to changing light conditions. The outer glazing system includes a subtle silk print design that mitigates solar ingress and enlivens the ambience of the harbour area.

The Crystal is designed to interact with its surroundings, offering a subtle connection between the formal architecture of its neighbour the Glyptotek Museum of Ancient and Modern Art, and the waterfront area which forms the setting for the new building.

The interior layout has been designed for optimum functionality, flexibility and efficiency. The typical floor plan is disposed in a Z-shape around two atria, ensuring that all workstations are well lit and enjoy a view. The disposition of the plan allows the accommodation of open plan, separate offices or meeting rooms.

The building is primarily supported by a rhombic construction system placed immediately inside the façade. The system functions both as an architectural element while also allowing the building to dispense with pillars.

The Crystal has a sound environmental strategy - the outer layer of glass admits fresh air, creating a naturally ventilated façade which helps to regulate the temperature inside the building. 800 m2 of solar panels are fitted at roof level and rainwater is collected and re-cycled, producing 80.000 KWh a year for the building. The building uses night-time cooling, and cool water from the harbour helps to lower the ambient temperature within the building.

The Crystal has been awarded with the European Steel Design Award 2011. This recognition is given by the European Convention for Constructional Steelwork (ECCS) to encourage the creative and outstanding use of steel in architecture and construction.

The plaza features a large water pool which reflects the sun and the clouds moving across the sky. During the day, the plaza is divided into distinct areas by ‘walls’ of water jets whose formation continuously changes throughout the day. At night the pool is illuminated by a soft turquoise-green light, which together with the patterns of warm light from the lighting masts brings a unique ambience to the new plaza.

Back in 2011, The Crystal won the LEAF Award for Best Structural Design of the Year. The recognition prises the strategic excellence, marketplace impact and, above all, innovation and practical developments that challenge and change the way people see the buildings of today.

Another recognition for our project was the ArchDaily Building of the Year 2011 in the Office Building category.

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