Pakhus 48

Vilhelm Lauritzen Architects is based in Pakhus 48, a converted warehouse in the Nordhavn district of Copenhagen. The warehouse, originally built for the East Asian Company, was constructed in red brick and was subsequently rebuilt whenever necessary. The building is characterised by styles from several periods and needs: part of its charm in the old harbour area.

The firm’s premises, located on the 1st floor, have direct views of the quayside, Kronløbsbassinet, and the entrance to the Copenhagen Harbour. The space was transformed from a 1,800m2, open storage room with visible installations and small, high-up window apertures into a contemporary, bright, and practical office landscape. To the north, west, and south, new windows were established in new holes in the masonry, on a par with the remainder of Pakhus 48. 

The inner qualities of the storage room have been preserved in all their rawness. The existing granite terrazzo floor was polished. The brick walls and concrete columns were painted white and retain their visible irregularities. The existing, characteristic steel doors were preserved and painted dark grey.

CPH City and Port Development I/S
Alectia A/S
Pakhus 48, Sundkaj 9,, Nordhavn
1,800 m²
Realised in 2014

In the middle area of the room, where there is the least daylight, there is a functional core, which embraces the firm’s functions and forms two separate office areas. In the functional core, there are bright meeting rooms and a model workshop with glass walls facing the office area. In the longitudinal corridor within the functional core, the firm’s material library is visibly laid out on shelves. The functional core also houses archives, the printing room, the server room, cloakroom, and toilets.

The functional core has a golden glow and is clad with perforated plywood panels with sound ducts behind them for acoustic regulation. The walls of the meeting rooms and the model workshop are clad in smooth plywood with built-in cork notice boards.

The canteen and prep kitchen are an extension of the functional core, like a glass box between the two office areas. The kitchen is made of plywood and built into the functional core.

The existing ceiling beams were spackled and painted, and a new acoustic ceiling was installed with a built-in daylight simulation. Ventilation and electricity are consolidated in an installation box in the ceiling, made of white-painted metal.

The firm wanted to use elements from its history: for example, the pattern on the functional core was borrowed from the flooring edges of the VEGA Concert Hall in Copenhagen, which Vilhelm Lauritzen designed in 1956, while the canteen features Radiohus pendant lights from the 1940s.

We devised a furniture and fittings project for Pakhus 48, in which the new fixtures and fittings are combined with furniture and lighting from the former office premises. Drawing boards, floor boxes for electricity, furniture in the meeting rooms, and steel shelves are new and adapted to the needs of the practice. The steel shelves in the model workshop, the archive and the canteen, and between the drawing boards, are a consistent and recognisable element.