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Vilhelm Lauritzen

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Vilhelm Lauritzen (1894–1984) is one of the most significant architects in the history of Denmark; he was the trail-blazing figurehead of Danish functionalism. A number of his buildings – Nørrebro Theatre (1931–32), Daells Varehus department store (1928–35), Radiohuset (1936-41) and the first airport built in Kastrup (1937–39) – represented the concentrated essence of contemporary life. Other significant buildings to stem from Lauritzen’s drawing board include Folkets Hus (1953–56) better known today as the Vega concert venue, the Shellhuset (1950–51) building and the Danish embassy in Washington (1958–60). In particular the Radiohuset building and the earliest version of Kastrup Airport – both listed today – are considered peerless monuments to modernism in the European genre of construction.

Throughout his life, Vilhelm Lauritzen adhered to the principle that architecture is applied art – with equal emphasis on both ‘art’ and ‘applied’. “No life without aesthetics” was another one of Vilhelm Lauritzen’s firmly held beliefs.

Vilhelm Lauritzen mastered both daylight and artificial lighting. He consistently involved daylight in his architectural projects by including large south- and west-facing windows that neatly mixed warm sunlight with the cooler sky light flowing in through windows facing north and east. It was an approach that shifted focus from the limited wall surfaces in the room itself. People, furnishings and fittings are highlighted and shaded in the sculptural light.