Herlev Amts Sygehus [Herlev County Hospital]
Gehrdt Bornebusch, Max Brüel, Jørgen Selchau
Sven Hansen, Landscape Architect
Concrete by reinforcement
Concrete is a relatively brittle material that is strong in compression but less so in tension.
To increase its overall strength, steel rods, wires, mesh or cables may be embedded in concrete before it sets. This reinforcement, often known as rebar, resists tensile forces. By forming a strong bond, the two materials are able to resist a variety of applied forces, effectively acting as a single structural element .
In this case, the concrete can be made by mixing the components directly on site, or it may be transported from a production plant in concrete-mixer trucks.
This method has the disadvantage of leaving the concrete exposed to the elements while it is setting. Whereas, with other methods, the environmental conditions can be controlled during setting, providing greater control over the outcome, with cast-in-place concrete a series of tests and protocols are necessary to verify its final strength.
In its design, the element should account for aspects such as modulation, finishes, transportation, anchoring, installation on site, junctions between panels, the creation of openings and the relationship between the panels and joinery. The element may also be given characteristics that can improve the thermal insulation of the façade, for example. In that sense, they are often part of an industrialized system that offers a variety of responses to different construction situations and maximum versatility in terms of architectural solutions.
The aesthetic possibilities of concrete in prefabricated façade panel systems are endless in terms of size, shape, color, texture, hardness and a wide range of features.
- textured walls
- wooden formwork finish
- stamped concrete
- exposed aggregate concrete, colored concrete, etc.
Beams are the horizontal load-bearing elements of the frame. Columns are the vertical elements of the frame and act as the building’s primary load-bearing element. They transmit the beam loads down to the foundations.
A shear wall resists loads parallel to the plane of the wall. Collectors, also known as drag members, transfer the diaphragm shear to shear walls and other vertical elements in the seismic force resisting system. Shear walls are typically light-framed or braced wooden walls with shear panels, reinforced concrete walls, reinforced masonry walls or steel plates.
The construction of cantilevers creates structures that protrude from their supports without external reinforcements, contrasted with constructions supported at both ends, where the load is distributed between them, like in the case of a beam or a lintel. Formal strategies can be used to improve the structural performance of the cantilever and reduce thicknesses.
A suspended roof refers to the case where the vertical supports do not rest on the ground but hang from a structure above. Steel cables are often used for these supports, since they are only subject to traction forces.
State of Conservation
Herlev Hospital, with 28 floors reaching 120 meters in height, is the tallest building in Denmark. The immense complex, on which construction began in 1961, was conceived as an emblem of the advanced social protection systems that characterize the Nordic countries. No efforts were spared in ensuring the quality of services and the medical technology, which was the most advanced for its time. The value of the building’s architecture, as well as its spectacular interiors, with contributions from important Danish artists of the period, make this facility a magnificent example of quality public architecture.
The complex consists of several buildings: under the appearance of a single vertical block, three independent towers are articulated and connected to one another. One houses the medical staff, another is for patients – with broad views over the landscape from all the rooms, and the third is occupied by the communications center. The façades of the towers were built using colored concrete panels, combined with glazed panels with exquisitely designed joinery. At the base of the tower, the most emblematic image of the building is formed by two auditoriums in a fan shape with prominent cantilevers: it is a futuristic architecture, built from exposed concrete and glass, which is considered one of the country’s best examples of the Brutalist movement.
It is also worth highlighting the painstaking work of the artist Poul Gernes in the interior decoration: 10 km of curtains in a colorful print fabric designed especially for the hospital and more than 4,500 doors painted with different motifs, in 21 color schemes, are some of the many details that generate a unique interior atmosphere.
Due to the complexity and the enormous cost of the construction, the initial floors were not put into operation until 10 years after the work begin, and the building did not become functional in its entirety until 2007.
Herlev Ringvej 75
Københavns Amt [Copenhagen county], Hovedstaden (Region) 2730 Harlev Kommune
Fundación DOCOMOMO Ibérico