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Henning Larsen (1925 - 2013)

Danish architect Henning Larsen has died at his home in Copenhagen aged 87

Henning Larsen was born in 1925 in the town of Opsund, Videbæk, in western Denmark. He graduated from the Royal Danish Academy of Fine Arts, School of Architecture, in 1952.

Larsen founded his architecture studio in 1959, built around design competitions and with an international focus. The practice was behind a large number of significant buildings both in his home country of Denmark and further afield.

Among the studio’s major schemes in the UK was the Roland Levinsky arts faculty building for the University of Plymouth, which it completed in collaboration with BDP in 2007 (see AJ 16.08.2007).

The practice made its international breakthrough back in 1961 after winning a contest run by Stockholm University. Some of his most important work was outside Denmark, including the Ministry of Foreign Affairs in Riyadh and The Danish Embassy in Riyadh.

Closer to home, Larsen worked on the Copenhagen Business School Dalgas Have, Enghøj Church, Ny Carlsberg Glyptotek and the Royal Danish Opera.

Often described as ‘a master of light’, this can be seen in the Malmö City Library. Completed in 1999, the building is flooded with light from the surrounding city park.

In the 1980s Larsen began the architecture journal SKALA, which he published for more than 10 years. He also set up an architecture gallery with the same name.

From 1968 to 1995, he was a professor at the Royal Danish Academy of Fine Arts, School of Architecture in Copenhagen.

In 2001, he established the Henning Larsen Foundation with the objective of promoting and disseminating architecture in its broad sense. Each year on Larsen’s birthday a number of awards and grants are presented.

Most recently he was awarded His Royal Highness the Prince Consort of Denmark’s Europe Nostra Award 2013 and in 2012 the ‘Nobel Prize of art’, the Praemium Imperiale. In 2013, his practice won the Mies van der Rohe Award for the Reykjavik Concert Hall & Conference Centre.

In a statement the partners at Henning Larsen said: ‘Henning Larsen’s influence on architecture has been grand. He created a culture in the company that is driven by professional ambition and a desire to work with projects where architecture can make a difference. This is a heritage that we will carry with us.’

Henning Larsen - Timeline

1925
Henning Larsen was born in Opsund, Videbæk, in western Denmark on 20 August

1952
Larsen graduates from the Royal Danish Academy of Fine Arts, School of Architecture

1959
He sets up his practice Henning Larsen Architects

1961
The practice wins the competition to design Stockholm University

1968
Larsen is appointed as professor at the Royal Danish Academy of Fine Arts, School of Architecture in Copenhagen

1984
Henning Larsen Architects complete the Ministry of Foreign Affairs in Riyadh

1987
The practice completes the Danish Embassy on Riyadh

1989
Larsen is awarded the Aga Khan Award

1994
Henning Larsen Architects completes Enghøj Church

Enghoej Church

Source: Martin Schubert

Enghoej Church, Denmark

1996
Ny Carlsberg Glyptotek completes  

1999
The practice completes the Malmö City Library in Sweden

Malmö City Library, Sweden

Malmö City Library, Sweden

2001
Larsen sets up the Henning Larsen Foundation

2004
The Royal Danish Opera completes

Royal Danish Opera, Copenhagen

Source: Adam Moerk

Royal Danish Opera, Copenhagen

2012
Larsen is awarded the Praemium Imperiale

2013
Henning Larsen Architects win the Mies van der Rohe Award for the Reykjavik Concert Hall & Conference Centre

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