Aptly named The Crystal, this shimmering building is the new headquarters of Nykredit, a financial services company in Copenhagen, Denmark. Thanks to the project's triple-glazed facade the interior is flooded with daylight, but not at the cost of overheating. Its crystalline surface captures, refracts and reflects light as it dramatically lifts up from a new public plaza. Schmidt Hammer Lassen designed the geometric structure and made sure to incorporate a number of sustainable strategies to provide a holistic solution that will save a considerable amount of energy.
The geometric form is tilted to appear as though it sits on a single point and a single line, floating like a delicate crystalline structure over the plaza. Its scale was specifically designed to match the surrounding buildings and fit in with the urban context, matching both the more modern and historic buildings nearby. The interior is laid out to be flexible and functional even over time as demand for space changes and a Z-shaped layout creates two atria that pull light down into the interior of the building. This ensures that every work station is well lit with natural daylighting and enjoys a good view.
A triple-glazed facade is the key to having an energy efficient yet totally transparent office building. The outer glazing system was printed with a subtle silk print design that mitigates solar ingress, cuts down on glare and enlivens the building’s facade with a bit of texture. The facade also helps cut down on noise pollution from the nearby busy road. Natural ventilation of the building involves a night-time cooling strategy, where the facade is opened allowing air to move through the glazing then up and out through the atria’s skylights.
Overall, the collection of energy efficiency strategies reduced the energy use to 70 kWh per square meter, which is a 25 percent decrease from the existing energy legislation. Rainwater is collected and used as greywater to flush the toilets, while sea water from the nearby harbor is used as the sink for the building’s geothermal heating and cooling system. The 6,850 sq meter building then gets a significant portion of its electricity from a rooftop solar system that generates 80,000 kWh per year.
Images ©Schmidt Hammer Lassen