Sustainable by design 2050

An initiative of the UIA

Velux model home 2020




The Royal Danish Playhouse

The Royal Danish Playhouse
The Royal Danish Playhouse
The Royal Danish Playhouse
The Royal Danish Playhouse
The Royal Danish Playhouse
The Royal Danish Playhouse
The Royal Danish Playhouse
The Royal Danish Playhouse
The Royal Danish Playhouse
The Royal Danish Playhouse
Lundgaard & Tranberg Architects
Western Europe - Denmark - Copenhagen
Climate Zone
Design status
Date of completion
Site area (m²)
Footprint (m²)
GFA (m²)
Building Costs
71000 EUR
Building Costs / m² GFA
Primary Energy (kWh/m²a)
Heating Energy (kWh/m²a)
Cooling Energy (kWh/m²a)
Cooling / Heating-System

The building is heated and cooled by thermo-active slabs that are serviced by a cooling compressor which can also function as a heat pump backed up by district heating. When possible, however, the building uses free cooling from the seawater,which is placed adjacent to the building. Also natural ventilation, mechanical ventilation on stages with highly efficient heat recovery, reuse of surplus heat in thermo active slabs

Use of renewable ressources - low tech
natural cross ventilation, use of high thermal mass, others
Use of renewable ressources - high tech
heating pump, energy recuperation, thermal building mass activation, other
Key Sustainability aspects
public spaces, innovative bulding materials, integrated planning process, use of innovative design tools
Social and ethical responsibility

Social and Ethical Responsibilty
The Royal Playhouse is an important cultural institution in the Copenhagen, with broad appeal to its inhabitants. This special place in the city's consciousness somehow encourages the playhouse to stand forth and break with its surrounding. The building achieves this by gliding over the city's edge and into harbour, resulting in a prominent position on the waterfront. It is here, over the water, a new and unique urban space is realized.
An elegant public promenade deck wraps around the playhouse, giving access to the open foyer. The elegant, wood-clad deck forms an inviting, wide public walk that veers and dances over the water on tilted columns, providing a passage over the harbour that is both accessible to all and completely unique in Copenhagen. The promenade visually and physically connects the various city quarters along the water, providing a broad, multi-purpose surface for pedestrians, cyclists, and gatherings of all sorts.
The excitement of arrival to the Royal Playhouse is heightened by the approach over the water, where theatregoers and those passing by see each other and are seen in a constant public procession. The promenade simultaneously anticipates the evening's theatrical spectacle while revealing a rare overview of Copenhagen and its relationship to the sea.

Contextual performance and impact

The Royal Playhouse occupies one of Copenhagen's most important points of conjuncture, the meeting of the historic 18th century city quarter of Frederiksstaden, the city harbour, and the sea. The playhouse, firmly rooted in the context of its historic neighbourhood, takes its place among the culture institutions along the harbour, marking where the inner harbour angles and opens toward the distant Sound.
The playhouse is located south of where Sankt Annæ Plads, one of Copenhagen's finest urban spaces, meets the harbour. Here the elegant, elongated urban room meets the waterfront, giving way to views that follow the harbour north to the distant Sound. The playhouse acts as an anchor for this meeting of city and sea, revealing and reinforcing the existing urban spatial qualities. The playhouse provides a striking, yet conscientious conclusion to Frederiksstadens continuous urban structure while simultaneously embracing the harbour and opening up to both theatregoers and those passing by.
The playhouse is placed with careful regard to the surrounding urban context. The building is located as close as possible to Nyhavn canal and maintains the street line along Kvæsthusgade, holding the street space intact.  The contour of Sankt Annæ's Plads is also maintained, allowing the existing urban room to continue to the harbour front. In deferring to these existing urban streets and public spaces, the volume of the playhouse extends naturally over the harbour edge and over the water.