Profile of KHR Arkitekter Print
Wednesday, 07 October 2009 07:11

KHR Arkitekter was founded in 1946 by Gunnar Krohn and E. Hartvig Rasmussen and is now an architectural practice which stands for unique architecture focusing on innovative ideas, specialist competences and creative development work.

At the beginning of the 1960s KHR was amongst the pioneers who appreciated the need for re-invigoration and innovation in Danish architecture: a fresh approach which resulted in a number of industrial and commercial buildings whose regional genesis was inspired by international movements. One such building was the headquarters of Atlas in west Copenhagen. In the subsequent period KHR was behind a large number of major public and private builds in Denmark and abroad. The crowning glory came in 1971 with Odense University, whose structural idiom and fine detailing set new standards for contemporary architecture. In the late 70s and early 80s KHR developed its competencies within cultural construction projects such as sports complexes, swimming pools and town halls.

Moving into the 90s, KHR won the competition to build the Danish pavilion at Expo ’92 in Seville, with all the international attention and recognition that entailed. The project distinguished itself by synthesising its artistic idiomatic style with its innovative use of new materials. At the same time, the pavilion made a feature of sustainability by minimising the use of resources in terms of both materials and energy. At home in Denmark, the 90s saw KHR playing a leading role in the development of Copenhagen Airport. This commission enhanced the competencies of the practice in the field of infrastructural projects and led to design commissions for both Arlanda Airport in Stockholm and Billund Airport in West Denmark, and for a range of infrastructural projects both in Denmark and abroad. A common denominator of the 90s projects was a sharper focus on contextual architecture, a conceptual paradigm whereby the architectural space acts as the mainspring from which inspiration for a design emerges through the filter of social, cultural, tectonic and technological factors. Projects evolved on this basis include the Pihl & Søns headquarters, the first administrative building with natural ventilation; B&O's headquarters in Struer, a pioneering building with its hybrid ventilation system; and the Ístaks headquarters in Iceland, a unique build which amalgamated these models in a combined summer and winter design. In addition, KHR was involved in several projects in Sweden, including the renovation of the Lorensborg multi-storey flats, and in Greenland the launching of the ambitious Institute of Natural Resources in Nuuk .

The advent of the new millennium saw the culmination of the practice’s many years of developing its competencies within infrastructural civil engineering in the execution of Copenhagen’s Metro and the inauguration of Arlanda Airport. Focus was at the same time directed again towards the educational sector with projects to provide new buildings for Copenhagen University on Amager (KUA) , and a few years later, the Biocenter in Universitetsparken, the University campus on Nørrebro. Recent years have seen further reinforcement of and challenges for the studio’s competencies in the schools and cultural sectors, alongside major new commissions within the health sector. KHR entered into new partnerships in the educational sector with Public Private Partnerships Projects for Vildbjerg School near Herning and Ørsted School on Langeland. In Bergen we are designing a major expansion of Haukeland University Hospital in the form of a new Children’s Hospital, which will set new standards for the future treatment of children. Meanwhile, again in Norway, the "Helleren" project on Nygårdstangen in Bergen, and in Denmark, Forum Horsens and Hillerød Town Hall stand as testament to KHR’s courage and determination to constantly approach architecture from new angles. And the use of new materials in noteworthy builds such as the Church of the Holy Cross and Fiberline bear witness to KHR’s capacity, even after more than 60 years , to see the potential for and the necessity of making architecture fit and ready for going boldly into the future.

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Last Updated on Monday, 19 October 2009 05:30