Tietgen Dormitory

by | 22. Apr 2013

Project | Residential

Photo courtesy of Lundgaard & Tranberg

By Eva Bjerring

Danish architects Lundgaard & Tranberg’s circle-round, award-winning dormitory is a gentle and refined addition to the newest borough in the Danish capital Copenhagen, Orestad. An area largely dominated by square-shaped, glass and steel structures.

Holistic architecture, an equal balance between shared and private space and all the necessary facilities a student needs. A stone’s throw from the popular recreational waterfront Island Brygge, grazing cows next door and prominent neighbours such the national Danish Broadcasting Corporation, Copenhagen University and the metro.

All of this Danish architects Lundgaard & Tranberg have intelligently combined in a single and elegant house accessible to students on a limited budget.

Inviting and respectful
Named after probably the most enterprising, Danish financier through times, C.F. Tietgen (1829-1901) the building builds on a heritage from a man who did not compromise or lack the courage to break with conformity.

The Tietgen dormitory holds exactly those qualities. Even though the building is constructed on a budget making it possible for student to pay the rent, the house does not look it at all. It is a vibrant and living addition to a borough still in its child hood years.

A statement that in its own quiet fashion rebels the era of big entrepreneurial projects and standardized architecture.

The social and private village
The Tietgen Dormitory takes its form after the traditional circle-shaped Tulou-buildings from the Chinese south-east as a symbol, but also very functional grip, of both the common and individual life lived in a small village.

Clad in tombac with oak tree sliders, the façade has an inviting and warm feel to it underlined by the glimpses of the vibrant student life unfolding in each of the small apartment rooms. Like small bird cages waving in and out of the façade the boxes provide the building with a life on its own without exposing the residents or overstepping the private sphere.

The façade is a story told about a so far unseen equal balance balance between the common, the circle, and the individual, the boxes. Needs that is especially outspoken in a modern dormitory. It is an elegant, simple and intelligent design that sings a song of the Tietgen Dormitory as a qualitative, considerate and confident building.


Courtyard. Photo courtesy of Lundgaard & Tranberg

Everything a student could ask for
The dormitory holds 7 floors, intersected by 5 vertical sections, both visually and functionally dividing the building into sections that serve as passageways across the floors and provide access to the external, central courtyard.

Cafe, party area, study and computer rooms, garages, laundry room, and meeting rooms in addition to bicycle parking are placed on the ground floor. On the other floors housing units unfolds, each containing 12 extremely comfy, single or double rooms, 360 in all, common kitchen, lounge, terraces and utility room.

The housing areas face the street upkeeping the privacy in the rooms, while the common facilities overlook the enclosed courtyard linking the smaller resident groups through a glance into each other’s common facilities.

Architecture at its best
The Tietgen Dormitory is a living proof of a building with a purpose. As architect and owner of Lundgaard & Tranberg Lene Tranberg puts it:

Architecture is caring and responsibility for something very fine and fragile. We build for and around people. Imagine if it wasn’t allowed to build anything unless you has something at heart.

On every level the building is the quintessence of that approach. In the thoughtful analysis of the needs of a modern student of both private and shared spaces, the façade’s warm language balancing livelihood with respect of the residents and the use of tactile material and circular shape in an area in desperate need of human scaled architecture and breathing room while entrepreneurs are digging and expanding their enormous squared glass boxes.


Aerial view. Photo courtesy of Lundgaard & Tranberg


Facade. Photo courtesy of Lundgaard & Tranberg


View at night. Photo courtesy of Lundgaard & Tranberg


Interior view. Photo courtesy of Lundgaard & Tranberg


Facade. Photo courtesy of Tietgen Dormitory


Roof. Photo courtesy of Tietgen Dormitory


Kitchen. Photo courtesy of Tietgen Dormitory


Study Room. Photo courtesy of Tietgen Dormitory


Study Room. Photo courtesy of Tietgen Dormitory


Surroundings. Photo courtesy of Tietgen Dormitory


Concept sketch. Courtesy of Lundgaard & Tranberg


Concept sketch. Courtesy of Lundgaard & Tranberg



Process sketch. Courtesy of Lundgaard & Tranberg



Plan. Drawing courtesy of Lundgaard & Tranberg



Section. Drawing courtesy of Lundgaard & Tranberg



Model. Photo courtesy of Lundgaard & Tranberg



Model. Photo courtesy of Lundgaard & Tranberg



ARCHITECTLundgaard & Tranberg
Henrik Jørgensen Landskabsarkitekter