Frederiksberg Courthouse / 3XN

Frederiksberg Courthouse / 3XN

  • © Adam Mørk  / Frederiksberg Courthouse / 3XN
  • © Adam Mørk  / Frederiksberg Courthouse / 3XN
  • © Adam Mørk  / Frederiksberg Courthouse / 3XN


In accordance with the Danish design tradition, Frederiksberg Courthouse is the result of a rigorous and pragmatic process, where the challenges of the programme and the site were the creative point of departure. The successful result is an elegantly curved building, classical yet modern.

The design strategy takes its signal from the neighboring neo-classical courthouse designed by Hack Kampmann. To ensure a respectful dialogue with Kampmann’s building only parts of the building plot of the 5,000 m2 site was exploited and the new courthouse is kept lower against Kampmann’s building towards east while rising against the taller buildings towards south.

This resulted in a compact structure of 5,500 m2 designed at a respectful angle of 45 degrees to the listed courthouse and with an open corridor between the buildings, which are connected by a glass footbridge. A row of old trees was preserved by letting the western facade curve elegantly. The brick and tile facade express solidity and creates a relationship with the existing cityscape. The elevation of the facade by the main entrance combined with the light tones of the facade adds lightness and gives the courthouse identity.

The interior is designed in coherence with the values of a modern democracy. It is a key parameter that all user groups, from staff to defendants, experience a logic and friendly environment with optimally separated flows. An atrium with skylight cuts through the middle of the building; drawing daylight deep into the interior and creating visual connections between decks. Shifting light art promotes a play of light and a pleasant atmosphere. The sustainability strategy is ambitious. The building’s compact form, the immense use of daylight together with natural ventilation and the thermo active surfaces with night cooling result in significant energy savings. Moreover, the building has a green roof. Frederiksberg Courthouse was awarded the RIBA EU Award 2013.

Extra info

Project Data

Address: Howitzvej, 2000 Frederiksberg, Denmark
Function: Municipal Courthouse
Completion: October 2012
Size: 5,500 m2 (8,200 m2 basement)
Budget: 25 m. euros
Number of court rooms: 8
Type of Construction: Concrete and steel
Facade material: Brick, tile, glass and steel louvers
Flooring: primarily terrazzo and lino


Architect and Interior Design: 3XN
Client: Danish Agency for Palaces and Cultural Properties
Engineer: Lemming & Eriksson
Landscape: Schønherr