KAB, Copenhagen’s largest housing association, has a new headquarters space that combines the administrative with the creative, courtesy of Henning Larsen. The 79,000-sf headquarters building is located at the axis of two major streets in Copenhagen, between one of the city’s oldest neighborhoods and one of its newest.
The building features a sturdy, red-brick exterior and forgoes a traditional front and back. Instead, it is a pentagonal shape that opens to the city on all sides. Atop the headquarters building is a green roof garden with spaces for visitors and employees to gather and take a break.
The new KAB headquarters was designed to be representative of Denmark’s approach to collectivism, welfare, and the home itself. The building design takes traditional elements of the home, such as the living room, the stairs, the garden, and the kitchen, and applies them to the workplace. Things begin very office-like on the ground floor with an open and airy reception desk flanked by a plant-filled seating area, behind which the office canteen is nestled.
Almost everything in the atrium is clad in wood, creating a scent and texture not often associated with the workplace. The slender stairs cut back and forth across the middle of the atrium, descending on large community kitchens on each floor.
"The stairs are a play on the classic stairwell of residential buildings, which is typically the place you meet your neighbor,” said Troels Dam Madsen, Associate Design Director at Henning Larsen, in a release. “In the KAB House, we added layers of visibility, texture, and beauty to what is usually a very practical space.”
The western edge of the atrium is a wall of windows. Behind these windows are the main meeting rooms, which are outfitted to resemble rooms in a house. This area marks the border between the private workplaces for KAB and the space that is accessible to the public.
The new building is a gathering place for 44 housing organizations and provides the framework for KAB’s 400 employees’ daily work. KAB moved into the building in June 2021.
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