Building history and landscape reflected in renovation of Thorsgården in Copenhagen

Aug 26, 2019

Located in the Nørrebro district of Copenhagen, Thorsgården was completed in 1942 and served as an industrial building until 1970. It was then converted into an office building and remains one until the present day.

The building has five floors and a floor area of around 3,500 square metres. Since 1999, Thorsgården has been owned by Per Gottlieb, who lets the premises out. Refurbishment of the exterior walls and recladding of the building was completed on 1 April 2019.


Demolition made no sense

“Demolition made no sense, since the building was in good condition apart from the windows. Besides replacing the windows, renovation included insulating the envelope of the building with a 20-cm layer of mineral wool and replacing the façade,” explains Per Gottlieb.

The refurbished building is currently home to a gym, physiotherapy services and a design entrepreneur.

Refurbishment began in September 2018 and took six months. Ruukki supplied the Cor-Ten panels for the façade, the frame on which to fasten the panels and, as a design service, prepared a façade diagram showing how the frame and panels are fastened.


New respects the old

One of the criteria in architectural design was to make the building more energy efficient. This was achieved by replacing the windows and through insulation. Architectural design was also required to take into account the visual aspect.

”The building definitely had to look different than the old building. The aim was to make the façade look modern and yet blend in with the area,” explains Gottlieb. The new façade respects the old industrial heritage with its high windows. The windows were enlarged in conjunction with refurbishment and now allow more light inside the building.


Cor-Ten patina blends in with the area

“The Cor-Ten façade blends in superbly with the other buildings in the area. Cor-Ten patinates beautifully and blends in well with the red brick cladding in the area,” says Morten Bang, architect and owner of Tegnestuen LOKAL, who was responsible for architectural design.  

The City of Copenhagen also required the building to blend in with the area. Having seen Morten Bang’s design, all doubts were dispelled.

Morten Bang adds that Cor-Ten is ideal for milieux with historical buildings, such as the old industrial setting in this case. Cor-Ten is particular suited to projects involving the addition of a new part to an old building.


Fine tuning is always required

“It’s always a challenge to install new prefabricated parts – such as the Cor-Ten panels in this case – in old buildings. There is little room for tolerances and flexibility for changes, and the building measurements are often not that exact,” notes Morten Bang.

Ruukki’s façade diagram is a service that indicates the number of panels required and how they are installed onto the façade. This helps speed up construction and allows the designer to concentrate on the creative aspect of design.

Installation of the façade in the Thorsgården project began in stages. We had to obtain the brackets for the frame from another supplier and because the product installed as a new one, the start of installation took longer than normal. According to Per Gottlieb, installation went quickly after the initial slow start.


Most people like it

”I’ve heard a few comments or some bewilderment at why the façade is rusty, but comments have been mostly favourable,” says Per Gottlieb

The building has now been refurbished and tenants are running their businesses. Per Gottlieb, who owns the building, says he is pleased with the entire project and the building’s appearance.

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