Broerup Sparekasse, Fredericia, Denmark, project by Schmidt Hammer Lassen Architects; photo Jens Nygaard
Brørup Sparekasse changes skin: a new dynamic look for a new dynamic life
The offices of Brørup Sparekasse are characterised by an innovative external cladding made with Corian® high performance surfacing material within a ventilated façade concept.
This high-impact project was the first building in the Nordic countries to feature Corian® solid surface used in the external cladding and is among the first installations of its kind in the world.
As part of a broader program aiming at developing a new corporate identity, Brørup Sparekasse wanted to change its image with both the local community and employees, and attract new customers. The management of Brørup Sparekasse contacted schmidt hammer lassen architects because the studio is internationally known for its capability to create architectural solutions which are both functional and challenging. The practice is also renowned for its innovative and sustainable design, for its democratic approach to architecture and for its ability to conceive buildings which are closely integrated with their surroundings.
The intention was to create more than just a typical savings bank: the project had to reflect the long-standing close relationship in the area between Brørup Sparekasse and its customers and the local community. The aim was to create a building that merges values and service, representing a high level of innovation both aesthetically and functionally. The three level building comprises an urban plaza to the east, which flows into the main building and entrance, at which point the façade is inwardly inclined. The opposite end of the building culminates in a drive-in feature, designed as a dynamic shape in synergy with the sculptural expression of the building. The interior, which opens towards the urban plaza to provide a vista to the urban garden, is fluid, with a strong visual synergy between each of its three levels. The interior opens towards the urban plaza and provides views to the urban garden.
The building is characterised by a subtle, puzzle-like pattern – a sort of Tetris - of solid forms in Corian® solid surface providing a dynamic homogeneous external surface to the building façade, a look that makes the Brørup Sparekasse elegantly stand out in the area.
The puzzle-style pattern of the façade neatly integrates square windows, adding “vibrancy” to the resulting visual composition and emphasising the building as a sort of “dynamic sculpture.”
schmidt hammer lassen architects initially explored the possibility of achieving these aesthetic effects via the use of more conventional materials, such as ceramic tiles, plaster or aluminium. The search for a façade with a significantly homogenous look and including panels of different dimensions led them to a cladding solution consisting of panels made from Corian®.
“The façade is made with panels of Corian® of different size and geometry, creating a sort of puzzle,” explained architect Klaus Petersen of schmidt hammer lassen architects.
“Seen from a distance, the building seems enclosed into a homogeneous and seamless skin, even if the panels have a certain distance from one another. Coming closer to the building, the façade reveals its composition: panels of different size and geometry separated by small distances to create a giant white puzzle, reminiscent of a giant Tetris. The size, geometry and flow of the panels around the building reflect a precise mathematical pattern that creates the building envelope.”
The Corian® panels used in the ventilated façade are 120 cm x 120 cm multiplied by 2 or 3 in a modular pattern that creates the Tetris puzzle pieces.
“We used the distance between the panels, necessary for technical reasons, as the key concept for the aesthetic appeal of the building,” added Petersen. “We made such a gap between the panels the starting point for developing a façade with a unique and unusual high-tech puzzle like pattern. The windows are incorporated into the jigsaw of panels in Corian® as black squares which add further interest to the aesthetics of the entire building.”
“The demand for versatile and quality materials for external cladding in the built environment has become significant, especially due to the increasing popularity of ventilated facades,” said Helle Jensen, DuPont. “Corian® offers a higher performance than many conventional solutions for external cladding due to its excellent combination of durability, renewability and design flexibility.”
“People are often surprised by the versatility and the effectiveness in architectural applications, such for Brørup Sparekasse, of a material that was originally created by DuPont for superior-performance and beautiful countertops for kitchen and bathroom,” added Jensen. “But, yes, what you see in Brørup Sparekasse is Corian® in one of the many transformations enabled by DuPont technological and marketing expertise, and by the creativity of architects and designers, like schmidt hammer lassen architects, and our highly qualified partners specialised in its fabrication. Corian® is a chameleon-like material, a material which is still in its infancy in terms of possible developments and which, we believe, is ideally suited to closely following the continuously evolving needs of architecture and design.”
Client: Brørup Sparekasse, Denmark
Office area: 1.610 square metres
Location: Fredericia (town located in the eastern part of the Jutland peninsula in Denmark).
Architecture: schmidt hammer lassen architects, Denmark
Developer/general contractor: MT Højgaard, Denmark
Creation of the façade and the windows system: Henning Frøkjær, Denmark
Fabrication and installation of the Corian® panels: Altha, Italy
Engineering: Tækker Consulting Engineers, Denmark