Danish Architecture Centre

book review

Guide to New Architecture in Copenhagen

Danish Architecture Centre have just published a new edition of their Guide to New Architecture in Copenhagen.

There are 153 buildings or sites or themes covered that are divided between seven sections - Culture and Leisure, Urban Spaces, Housing, Public Buildings, Trade & Industry, Path & Links and last Master Plans. Each section has an introduction by a specialist or professional involved in architecture or planning in the city and then each entry has a photograph, summary of information including architect or engineer and client and date and then a brief assessment.

There is a fold-out map at the back to locate each building or site so this is very much a pocket guide book to carry around the city. Buildings or sites covered range in date from the Maritime Youth Centre from 2004, through works in progress, like the new inner harbour bridge at the end of Nyhavn, and schemes, like the extension to the Metro not due for completion until 2019 so new buildings covering some fifteen years although, of course, some of the larger projects started in their conception and planning stage in the last century.

As with previous editions of this guide, further information can be tracked down through the on-line site of the Danish Architecture Centre.

book review, streetscape

guide books to the architecture of Copenhagen


The best pocket guide to the architecture of the city, though admittedly for a large pocket, is the Copenhagen Architecture Guide by Olaf Lind and Annemarie Lund that was published by The Danish Architectural Press. The first edition came out in 1996 but a revised edition was published in 2005. This is still available from book shops and covers the major historic and modern buildings in the city and some major buildings or developments in the outer area going out as far as Taastrup to the west and Kokkedal to the north. 

There is an introduction with a general history of the city and then the inner area is divided into nine sections on a strict grid with a key map with the buildings numbered at the start of each section. This is rational but not always easy when walking around particularly in the densely-packed inner area so, for instance, the central station and the buildings around the lower lakes are in one section and the buildings around the upper lakes in an adjoining section and on a different map. This is really a minor quibble given just how much information is packed into this volume. 

The Danish Architecture Centre has produced a series of slim (if tall-for-most-pockets) guides to the most recent buildings. These were published in 2007/2008, in 2009 and the most recent in May 2013.

The first follows the structure of the overall city guide with 81 buildings or developments divided into ten areas of the city and each section starting with a map.

In 2009/2010 the revised edition changes the arrangement with 107 recent buildings or developments marked on a single fold-out key map at the back and with buildings grouped into seven subject sections - each with a short introduction by an appropriate professional. These sections are culture and leisure; urban spaces; homes; public buildings; office buildings; service developments (so including metro stations, bridges and cycle routes) and finally “helhedplaner” or masterplans … 17 distinct areas in the city where major work was in hand or proposed. I think that this edition was only published in Danish

The latest version from 2013 follows that new format with the same section headings but expanded to 137 buildings or schemes and with new and slightly longer introductions by new authors and with new photographs. This is published in an English version.

Both the 2007/2008 and the 2009/2010 editions were clearly linked with the Danish Architecture Centre on-line index on their web site which is a very useful starting point for information about the architect, engineers, client and in many cases the cost of projects and all under the title Copenhagen X. This data base is still being maintained and updated and still works if you tag a number of sites that you want to visit and then produce a customised guide book as a pdf file with maps, some images and basic but useful information so normally address, architect, engineer, floor area and so on. Downloaded to a tablet computer, this is a practical way to look at a group of specific buildings and usefully they can be put in the order that is most appropriate for the route you plan to take.

museums + galleries, new building, streetscape

DAC on line


The on-line site of the Danish Architecture Centre is an amazing resource for information for modern architecture and landscape and urban planning. There is of course the obvious information about the Architecture Centre itself, on Strandgade on the south side of the harbour in Copenhagen, with opening times and information about exhibitions but that is just the access point to a huge amount of data. 

There are at a basic entrance point three separate sections under the headings DAC&LIFE, DAC&BUILD and DAC&CITIES but of course opening and moving through the various sections is fluid. Under the Life section is the Copenhagen X Gallery that gives access to descriptions, photographs and basic information about new buildings in Denmark including actually quite significant basic data about the architects, engineers, client, square metres and even cost that is actually quite difficult to pull together so easily from other sources.

Buildings can also be tagged and added to a personalised guide book with maps and downloaded as a pdf or sent as an email to others so pretty useful if you are planning to look at a number of buildings with a number of friends or colleagues.

There is information about new buildings in Copenhagen and its immediate area, as well as buildings in Aallborg, Aarhus and Odense.

All the buildings are indexed by year, by architect, by location and so on and can also be found from links on maps.

There are even pre-recorded pod guides for running or walking and for at least four years DAC organised an annual architecture run of 6 km in which up to 1,000 people took part. Have to confess that my first reaction was only in Copenhagen could you find something like that.

Exhibitions at DAC can be tracked back to 2003 so again an amazing resource now and a good starting point for research.

There are also other interesting pages like the book lists … for instance one compiled recently by Kim Herforth Nielsen of the major architectural practice 3XN.  Short comments about each book explain how the books have influenced the work of the practice.

News links cover not just DAC and Denmark but news about major projects and exhibitions and symposiums around the World. There is a strong focus on the development of cities, future possibilities in urban design and, of course, sustainability.


Danish Architecture Centre 
In May 2018 DAC moved from Strandgade to Bryghuspladsen 10, 1473 Copenhagen