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Scan Magazine | Special Theme | Nordic Architecture Denmark
KEA’s attractive new façade facing Nørrebrogade after Bertelsen & Scheving’s redevelopment.
Updating the past It is easy to see how great new architectural projects catch the public imagination, particularly with architecturally-minded nations like Denmark. But spare a thought for the grand old buildings that make up the unified, harmonious cityscapes of beautiful cities such as Copenhagen. These houses need to be meticulously maintained, but they also require transformation to remain functional in the modern world. Often, the buildings must stay true to their historical appearance – seemingly unchanged. “It’s the world’s worst sales technique,” says architect Jens Bertelsen, “we’ve done a good job if you can’t see we’ve been there.” By Louise Older Steffensen | Photos: Jens Lindhe and Bertelsen & Scheving Arkitekter
Bertelsen & Scheving was founded by Jens Bertelsen and Hans Scheving in Copenhagen in 2007. The architects, who were old friends and colleagues, shared a special interest and expertise in the role of cultural heritage in architecture. “Cultural heritage is important everywhere in the industry,” Bertelsen explains, “whether you’re restoring a castle, transforming an industrial complex, or creating a new suburban quarter, you must understand the original intensions for the place in order to make buildings that add to their surroundings.” Scheving and Bertelsen were
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soon confirmed in their belief that this was a strong foundation upon which to create an architectural business. In 2012, they were offered the role of Royal building department inspector for parts of Copenhagen and Eastern Denmark. Maintaining originals for future generations The role involves working with the Danish Agency for Culture to maintain important state-owned listed buildings. They’ve now collaborated on more than 120 projects, and they recently redesigned the entrance
to the ancient ruins at Christiansborg, home of the Danish Parliament (and star of TV series Borgen). The work involved the daunting task of carving shafts into the rather important walls to make room for tourist lifts in the newly opened tower. Bertelsen & Scheving are currently carrying out maintenance work at Amalienborg, the Royal Family’s Copenhagen residence. “With structures like these, it’s crucial that you don’t stray from what’s already there,” Bertelsen remarks. “It’s all about faithfully maintaining the originals for future generations, and being involved is a great honour and responsibility.” Outside of their Royal building duties, Bertelsen and Scheving work as consultants or architects on a wide range of projects, both new builds and historical buildings. “I think the process of re-imagining a place whilst respecting the original creator is an equally creative process to generating something from scratch,” says Bertelsen, adding: “It’s just different. You must work
Promoting Brand Scandinavia. Featuring interview with actress Signe Egholm Olsen.