national bank of denmark, copenhagen, 1961-1978.
architect: arne jacobsen, 1901-1971.
final stages completed by architects dissing+weitling.
I have previously attempted to make the point that jacobsen's career did not simply begin in neoclassicism and end in modernism but rather that it formed a continuous oscillation between the two.
as such, the short facades of his national bank, designed just two years after the completion of the all glass SAS royal hotel, can be read as a highly abstract tempel front.
the bank replaced an entire 1880's city block and quickly became one of the most unpopular houses in copenhagen, criticized for not fitting in. while popular sentiments may have changed somewhat with the ongoing reappraisal of jacobsen the designer, the fallacy of the original rejection still lingers.
the national bank is in fact a piece of highly refined contextualism in which jacobsen rather than mimicking the surrounding buildings consciously connects with certain aspects and certain architects from the long history of copenhagen architecture. in that respect, it is a model monument to my mind but more than that a model methodology as opposed to the post-modern you-build-red-brick-I-build-red-brick urbanism.
the bank was designed around the same time as jacobsen's more famous st. catherine's college in oxford.