A Fitting Tribute to Environmental Harmony Continued...

Copenhagen's skyline is famed for its historic spires, churches, castles, Andersen's Little Mermaid and the Tivoli Gardens. Recently voted Best Design City, the Danish capital is highly discerning about its architectural landscape.

When Architects Lundgaard & Tranberg designed the new Danish headquarters for the SEB bank, their vision was clear. Their structure would be a statement of modernity and environmental harmony. But how would their materials be chosen and how would these materials function to achieve this goal?

Cooling and Nurturing

The SEB building in Copenhagen harbour will comprise two buildings embraced by a wide landscaped garden. Plastic pipes will be used extensively throughout the buildings to provide all the necessary services - and a lot more! 

For example, the two buildings will be cooled by a system that uses seawater from the Copenhagen harbour. Horizontal drilling has been used to install two large polyethylene inlet pipes and one outfall pipe. These 500 mm diameter pipes are made from flexible yet very tough PE 100. They are connected with two polyethylene buffer tanks (2,500 mm x 4.7m) and a similar return tank (3,000 x 4.5m). In each of these two tanks, two pumps were installed, together with the required pressure pipes, valves and level control, etc. 

A further feature of the building design is an attractive staircase garden that winds from street level to about eight metres above ground. Trees, grass, ferns and moss together with water mist will recreate the sensation of a damp and lush Scandinavian hillside. Rainwater will be collected under this entire plot by a network of plastic drainage pipes to provide run off. Surface water harvested from non-traffic areas will be used for more sunny days to nurture the entire garden with an irrigation and micro-drip system. 

Between the two buildings and under the garden there is a two-storey underground parking facility. The rainwater from this area is gathered and diverted to a separate drainage system for cleansing via an oil trap before discharging it into the public sewer network. 


The architects have proved that modern building design and sustainability can be best friends. They are creating a green and welcoming public space. With its reliance on renewable energy for ambient cooling, the buildings will not require expensive air conditioning equipment. And outside the building, the use of mains water for watering trees and bushes will be totally minimised. 

In this city laced with the enchantment of tales told by Hans Christian Anderssen, dreams and the buildings they evoke are sustainable and endurable.