Design you can bank on

Wednesday 13 Oct 2010

3XN's new bank building provides an iconic structure for Danish town

Middelfart Savings Bank is a key institution in the town of Middelfart, located by the Lillebælt waters on the island of Funen, Denmark. Thus the Savings Bank wanted their new head office to provide a new public space for the local citizens as well as an architectural icon for the town and the Savings Bank.

The building is characterised by a dramatic roofscape accommodating multiple functions. 83 prism-like skylights compose the spectacular roof surface defining the geometry of the rest of the building - in reference to the maritime environment on the harbor front as well as the surrounding timber framed buildings. The new head office is gently fitted into the context and its special ambiance by reflecting and interacting with the dimensions, scales, roofs and cornice lines of the old town.The roof is specially designed to frame a perfect view towards the water while at the same time shading from direct sunlight; thereby demonstrating a perfect synergy between design and function.

A bookshop, a café, a real estate agent and the cash desk are placed around a central plaza, resulting in the building forming an informal public meeting space at the ground floor level. The Savings Bank work stations are located on three open terraces internally connected by broad staircases. The zigzag formation of the staircases encourages interaction, informal meetings or breaks; and thereby literally shapes the behavior of the people working in or visiting the building. All plateaus and work stations are endowed with plenty of daylight and an unhindered view to the water.

The working environment is further improved by sustainable features such as natural ventilation and the latest technologies in energy efficient heating and cooling. Thermoactive concrete elements make it possible to reduce the energy consumption for heating by 30 percent and the energy consumption for cooling and mechanical ventilation by up to 85 percent; in total, an energy saving of 30-50 percent.

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