Heritage in Danger: SAS Royal Hotel in Copenhagen, Denmark

Docomomo Denmark reports that the SAS Royal Hotel in Copenhagen by Arne Jacobsen (1960) is at risk. The building is assessed as high value by Copenhagen municipality (value 2 of 9 (1 being the highest)). However, the building is not listed by national authorities.

According to Docomomo Denmark’s assessment, the building and the curtain wall façade system are of highest international standard representing the best of its time, and the insensitive change of façade system including the glass quality would be disastrous to the building. The building was original and created with an outstanding quality. It was a work that was considered a “Gesamtkunswerk”, including a construction at balance with context, to structural design, furniture as well as cutlery. It´s inclusion in the urban context is of an extreme value. Any changes to the building would risk to be a serious loss to the expression of the modern context and impact on the environment. The building is inalienable to the context of the historical and urban area of
the city, and represents a central work of international modernism and the architecture of Arne Jacobsen.

The present discussion about the plan for the renovation of the SAS Royal hotel is taking place in printed media and conservation boards, as well as municipal and national authorities. It includes architects, preservation societies and a general public concern. According to Docomomo Denmark, it seems that the discussion has lifted the problem of the planned façade renovation. Still, it is unsure how the owner of the building will proceed with the plans. It seems unlikely that the original façade will be properly restored as long as there is no thorough analysis of the existing façade.