Green Lighthouse, Copenhagen Building, Architect, Danish Design, Image

Green Lighthouse Copenhagen, Denmark

Danish project – design by Christensen&Co Arkitekter

9 Aug 2010

Green Lighthouse

Category: Learning

Location: Copenhagen, Denmark

Architect: Christensen & CO Architects (CCO), Copenhagen, Denmark

WAF Entry: 2010

Award: World Architecture Festival 2010 – Shortlisted

Green Lighthouse

Photographs : Adam Mørk

Green Lighthouse, Denmark’s first CO2 neutral public building, is a faculty building at the Faculty of Science at the University of Copenhagen. The building has multiple purposes including teaching facilities, student advisory, administration and faculty lounge.

It demonstrates that sustainable design is not a question of stuffing the building with brazen, expensive high-tech gadgets, but that it starts with good old fashioned common sense. In fact, 75% of the reduction of the energy consumption is the direct consequence of architectural design.

Green Lighthouse Copenhagen Green Lighthouse Building

To achieve carbon neutrality, Green Lighthouse has a number of green design features incorporated to reduce energy use and provide a holistic and healthy indoor environment for students and faculty. The building itself was oriented to maximize its solar resources, while windows and doors are recessed and covered with automatic solar shades to minimise direct solar heat gain inside the building.

Plentiful daylight and natural ventilation are provided by means of the skylights and windows and the generous atrium. Finally, sensibly integrated state-of-the-art technology has been applied: heat recovery systems, photovoltaic panels, solar heating, LED lighting, phase change materials and geothermal storage are just some of the technologies that are seamlessly integrated into the building.

The building served as a showcase for sustainable building at the UN’s Climate Conference in Copenhagen in December last year. Minister for Science, Technology and Innovation, Helge Sander states; “Everyone who has had a share in the Green Lighthouse project has every reason to be proud.

It is a stylish, exemplary, climate-friendly construction. At the same time, the building can serve as inspiration to other universities and builders, while also contributing to the construction industry’s knowledge base of sustainable building solutions”.

“With the sun as the predominant source of energy, the building’s round shape and the adjustable louvers of the facade mirror the course of the sun around the building.” This is how Michael Christensen, architect and director of Christensen & Co architects, explains the overriding design concept of the new building. Essential to its architectural qualities is the abundant daylight and excellent indoor climate which is achieved by the windows and atrium; that also has become the instant heart of the building.

This central core provides space for social interaction, but is also a channel for letting in light and for ventilation of air which is drawn out of the building. All other rooms and functions are laid out around this central space, where the motion of the sun around the building will be reflected through the skylights.

Green Lighthouse is in a class of its own when it comes to commercial buildings which can call themselves CO2 neutral. The building has three levels with a total floor space of just 950 sq.m. The proportion between windows and facade has been carefully calculated to assure that the building will not consume more energy for heating than strictly necessary.

The varying intensity of the sun is incorporated into the building’s energy system; in summertime excess solar energy is collected in an underground store to use later when the power of the sun is at its weakest. Fresh air is drawn in through motorised windows and ventilated through the skylights to create a pleasant indoor climate, while adjustable louvers in the window sections automatically move up and down with the passage of the sun around the facade.


Green Lighthouse
Christensen&Co Arkitekter

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Project Information:
Project: 950 m²
Type: Competition
Client: Danish University and Property Agency
Users Faculty of Science, University of Copenhagen
Collaborators: Hellerup Byg, Cowi

Green Lighthouse, the new facilities for the Faculty of Science at the University of Copenhagen, sets a very high standard for sustainability and for low carbon footprint while still providing the occupants with plenty of daylight, generous spaces and transparent materials.

Dubbed the ‘sundial’ due to its cylindrical shape and adjustable façade louvres which allow light to twist around the building following the sun, the structural design is used to reduce CO2 emissions. The building will literally become a source of renewable energy and serve as a showcase at the United Nations Climate Change Conference in Copenhagen next year.

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The building, that seamlessly merge the fields of architecture, engineering and groundbreaking technologies into one exciting building, takes a holistic approach to architecture, light, healthy indoor environment and sustainability.

By virtue of its central position the building will be the hub of life on the so-called “Nørre Campus” which is part of the University Park. The building will be a free-standing structure with direct access from several directions in the park, which has undergone extensive renovation.

With its round shape and green cladding the building will stand out as a strong visual landmark for the campus. Providing 950 m² of space on three levels, the Green Lighthouse, (green both physically and figuratively), will house a student advisory, administration of the university and a faculty club.

Green Lighthouse Copenhagen Building images / information from Christensen&Co Arkitekter 271108

Christensen&Co Arkitekter

Location: Copenhagen, Denmark, Northern Europe

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