|Arne Jacobsen - Denmark
Royal Hotel and SAS Building
Hammerichsgade 1-5, Copenhagen
1956 - 1961
At its completion the SAS Building was the largest hotel in Denmark. With a heigt of 69.60 it was the first skyscraper in Copenhagen, and remained the only one until 1969,
and at the same time it was the talles building in Denmark. The structure is twenty stories high and is recognised today as a characteristic element of Copenhagen's skyline.
It is located in the heart of the city, in the Vesterbro district, close to Tivoli and the central station. Already during the design phase, sketches of the building where published
in Danish medias. The critics immediately feared the destruction of the traditional skyline of Copenhagen. In 2009 it was still the seventh highest building in Denmark.
The similarities with the famous Lever Building by Skidmore, Owings and Merrill (S.O.M.) are immediately apparent. At the same time it appears very strange,
that a product of the highly developed American system of industrialisation is repeated in this country wiht great traditions of craftsmanship. Perhaps it was this
feeling of stangeness which led Philip Johnson to criticize this building as the worst copy of the Lever Building. Two clearly differentiated elements are combined
to make up this 22-storey building. The more significant of these elements is the high block which is occupied by the hotel. The services which are directed to the public
are located on the lower floors. These services included restaurants, a bar, conference rooms, shops and travel agents. This horizontal block balances the vertical volume
of the hotel. It is finished in a darker greeny grey, so that it emphasises its character of a base.
The reinforced concrete frame structure has a curtain wall of aluminum profiles and transparent green and gray anodized glass. Arne Jacobsen used the curtain wall construction
for the first time in 1955 at the three-story City Hall in R°dovre Denmark. The hotel fašade differs only very little from the one of the City Hall. The light green colour of the
intermediate elements and the slightly different proportions are the main differences. Arne Jacobsen hiself laid special emphasis on the choice of material for the facades.
He wrote in the report, which explained the project: "The curtain wall is a greeny grey colour with vertical divisions of anodised aluminium which conceal the interior divisions.
I consideredthis to be the most suitable solution so as to avoid giving the building a dominating character. The colour of the glass was chosen with regard to the sky and the
reflection of the clouds."
Originally the entire hotel was designed by Arne Jacobsen, including the exterior fašade, the stainless-steel cutlery used in the restaurant and the Swan and Egg chairs
gracing the lobby. Unhappily most of this work has been replaced by corporate standard fabrics and furniture. Only one single room is still in the original desing, with the
green furniture and the wood panels on the wall. This room with the number 606 is still available for booking.