Dynamic solar screening concepts for Maersk Tower

The Maersk Tower is an expansion of the medical faculty Panum of 34,000 square meters. Illustration: C. F. Møller/MIR

The Maersk Tower is an expansion of the medical faculty Panum of 34,000 square meters. Illustration: C. F. Møller/MIR


Mette Theil

Mette Thiel

MSc, PhD (struc.Eng), Senior Project Director
T: +45 5161 8481
Søren Peter Kristensen

Søren Peter Kristensen

Chief specialist
T: +45 5161 7598

Services we provided

Maersk Tower - researcher collaboration into the heights

The building with the eye-catching Maersk Tower is in many ways a research building beyond the usual. Requirements for flexibility and security have resulted in innovative solutions.

The facade

A facade in motion

The facade is covered with 3,300 copper shutters, which provide the building with a relief-like expression. One third of the shutters moves depending on the sun. The facade changes its appearance during the day and reduces the energy consumption to cooling by shielding from the sun's heat. The movable shutters are made of stretch metal, which is transparent and keeps the heat from the sun out. The result is both a comfortable and sustainable construction. The fixed shutters are perpendicular to the building and together with the buildings rounded corners, this has a wind-absorbing effect. The facade patinates from shiny to dark brown – and only after many years the copper begins to patinate to green.

We assisted C.F. Møller Architects with developing a range of different dynamic solar screening concepts for Maersk Tower, a 17 story high-rise in the middle of Copenhagen.

Full-scale mockups of the different concepts were built, so the contractors, architects and engineering consultants could compare them to each other based on aesthetics, materials, functionality, outlook, transparency, environmental issues, energy, comfort, safety, durability, operational stability and cost.
The final concept, motorized exterior horizontal sliding shutters, was then developed into a fully functional mockup. The mockup was tested in the most advanced climate test center in Europe.

Mechanical engineering

Ventilation systems

Ventilation systems are, in their own right, one of the most important installations in research laboratories. In Maersk Tower the ventilation system is in a category of its own. With a total volume flow of 500,000 m3 / h, the plant exceeds the capacity of the country's largest University hospitals relative to the size of the building (area). In fact, the capacity is 100 times higher than in other types of buildings, such as. schools and institutions.

The laboratory ventilation consists of a blow-in system, which is located in the basement, and an exhaust-system, which is located on the 14th floor. Ventilation of the intermediate floors takes place via central shafts where the supply per floor is designed as a ring connection.

Ventilation systems are designed with heat recovery, meaning that the energy from the extracted air is recycled for pre-heating the supply air (outdoor air) as much as possible and thereby reducing the heating energy usage.

Not just water

In a laboratory building such as the Maersk Tower, water is not just water. For the laboratories there are two different qualities of water or treated water. For the canteen/kitchen there is filtered water (reverse osmosis water) and outdoors rainwater is collected from the green roofs and used for flushing lavatories and watering. Every year about 5 million. litres of rainwater will run through the outdoor tiles on the square in front of the main entrance and into the 650m3 large gabion / fascine underneath it. The collection volume in the gabion / fascine and on the square, is dimensioned for a 100-year rain event.

Safe handling of dangerous gases and liquids

The laboratories use a lot of dangerous gases and liquids, which are stored in a separate facility outside of the building. This facility is specially built to control the risk of explosion and to protect against leakage. A pumping system transports the liquids to a filling room in the individual laboratory floors and ensures proper dosage. Access to the filling rooms is limited by the access control system, which also detects who uses the individual substances.

Radiator in the window frame

Heating and cooling of the building happens via district heating and cooling. Heating of the building is devised via radiators that are built into the window structure. This solution has been developed in collaboration between the project and Hudevad - and there are more than 3,000 of them. Both because of the aesthetic and the hygienic causes, it is an advantageous solution.


Strong, stable core

Most of the Maersk Tower contains advanced research. The tower breaks with the norm for research facilities, which are often located in low buildings, and therefore are less sensitive to wind. The building is designed so that it is stabilized around a strong, reinforced core that is cast in situ by heavy concrete. This makes the building completely stable, so wind and city vibrations do not affect research.

Fire safety in special class

A high-rise, like the Maersk Tower, has special fire protection requirements. This is because it takes longer to get to safety. In the laboratories, researchers work with potentially hazardous organisms and flammable chemicals and gases, but everything is brought to the laboratories in pipes in specially secured cabinets to minimise risk of fire. The building is fully sprinkled and in addition there are smoke detectors, warning systems, emergency lighting and emergency lightning escape routes. In case of fire, the systems ensure that people are alerted, fire is extinguished quickly and people can evacuate the building through non-smoking zones. The security systems are automatic and will work for a day with a power generator even during a power failure. Thus, safety measures at the Maersk Tower are in a class of their own.

Electrical engineering

Unusual secure electricity supply

A power failure can have fatal consequences for research results and equipment in the Maersk Tower. Security of the supply is therefore high. In addition to the supply company's 10 kV supply, the building has its own 10 kV generator of 2.5 MVA that can supply the entire building. There are 2 main electrical switchboards each with a 1000 kVA primary transformer and a corresponding backup transformer in case of a breakdown at the primary transformer. Critical loads are provided by both main electrical switchboard while a 400 kVA UPS system ensures a blink-free power.

The light tells the history of the Maersk Tower

The light supports the structure of the building and processes the Maersk Tower in a single grip, based on the building's transparency and daily use. The lighting actively tells the story of an organic complex that works with biology. The lobby area, canteen and auditoriums work with light experience, warm colours and so-called black lights, where the light source itself is hidden. This creates a feeling of forest walks with small light strokes and corresponds to the use of organic materials on the lower floors. Higher up, the lighting is dominated by the laboratories' requirements for light levels, regularity and good glare/dazzle conditions, ensuring optimum working conditions for the researchers. The tower is horizontally tied together by three continuous/ consecutively staircases that are highlighted by wall wash lights, which simultaneously function as lights in the corridors. All light sources are LED and lighting is controlled centrally.

Ramboll Group A/S

Ramboll Group A/S
Hannemanns Allé 53
DK-2300 Copenhagen S
Tel:+45 5161 1000
Fax:+45 5161 1001

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