The Crystal

The Crystal, Copenhagen, Denmark, Schmidt, Hammer and Lassen Architects
Construction year: 2010
Address: Hambrosgade | COPENHAGEN | Denmark
Latitude/Longitude: 55.67056, 12.57545

The extension to Nykredit consists of a new building – the Crystal – sited northwest of the existing Nykredit premises. Freestanding on the site, it reads as a transparent, geometrical, glazed form which, resting only on a single point and a single line, floats as a visually light, crystalline structure above the plaza.

In terms of both form and scale, the building is intermediate between the city and the harbour, and harmonizes with neighbouring buildings. On the southern side it rises with reference to the Elefanthuset’s gable apex and creates space for the main entrance. From the corner of Puggardsgade and Hambrosgade there is passage under the building and a clear view out towards Nykredit’s head office building, called the Glass Cube, and the harbour. The interior of the building is constrained by the demands of functionality, flexibility, and efficiency. The typical floor plan is disposed of in a Z-shape around two atria, which ensures 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 building’s multi-faceted glass façade reflects both daylight and the immediate surroundings, but the double-glazing also features an integrated sunscreen that allows the building to adapt to changing light conditions. In addition, the outer glazing system includes a subtle silk print design that both mitigates solar ingress and will also enliven the ambiance of the harbour area.

The piazza features a large water pool which reflects the sun and the clouds moving across the sky. The Crystal and the Cloud are designed to interact with their surroundings, offering a subtle connection between the formal architecture of the Glyptotek Museum of Ancient and Modern Art, and the waterfront area which forms the setting for the new building.



The design team has brought a holistic approach to the environmental strategy underlying the project. The scheme manages to combine a completely transparent office building with an exceptionally low energy-consumption at 70 kWh per square metre, which means that the building consumes 25 percent less energy than the existing energy legislation. The roof is covered with highly efficient photovoltaic panels generating 80,000 kWh per year. In addition, the triple-layered inner glass façade provides extremely effective thermal insulation, with a U-value of only 0.7 Wh per square metre.


Rainwater run-off is collected to be used as grey water for toilet facilities throughout the building, while sea water provides additional cooling for the building.


The scheme operates a night-time cooling strategy where natural ventilation is introduced through the double façade and extracted through the atrium skylights, maintaining optimum internal temperatures.


The building floats above the plaza resting only on a single point and a single line, and it is carefully harmonized with the neighbouring buildings. The additional public space at ground level creates a dynamic public realm.


The highly transparent building with a subtle silk-printed design on the outer glass façade functioning as a sunscreen creates a harmonious and versatile working environment for all employees.


The building’s insulated façade prevents noise interference from the busy road outside.

Contributed by Schmidt Hammer Lassen Architects

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