Copenhagen Plant Science Centre

  • Date
  • 2015
  • Location
  • Bülowsvej 21a, 1870 Frederiksberg, Denmark
  • Size
  • 57 m²
  • Sector
  • Research
  • Structure
  • Steel
  • Application
  • Canopies


The Copenhagen Plant Science Centre (CPSC) focuses on increasing plant productivity and resistance to stress and environmental changes. If we apply the same logic of lower stress, lower environmental impact and higher productivity for the staff at the CPSC the architects had no other chance but planning the new building with an ETFE roof. Therefore we were asked to install Texlon® ETFE in a  mesmerizing atria, which not only provides a pleasant atmosphere, but also resembles the growing of plants.

Texlon® ETFE atrium in Copenhagen, Denmark

The atrium of the building is covered with a two-layer ETFE system of 57 m2, while the building itself is three story building with a concrete structure. The playfully positioned atrium allows the sunlight to hit certain spots of the space which in turn makes the interior look amazing, together with the eye-catching floor. The employees at the Copenhagen Plant Science Centre are surrounded by natural sunlight, giving it the feel of being outdoors, when in fact they are in a very cozy, climate controlled indoor space – especially considering that Copenhagen has 157 rainy days per year.

Concrete support structure

The supporting structure resembles almost cylindrical shapes, while the aluminum profiles span the ETFE cushions in free-form shapes. Due to the lightweight nature of ETFE, concrete foundations are designed more efficiently because there’s a reduction of structural framework, meaning less dead load on the supporting structure. ETFE systems provide ample natural daylight, thus minimizing energy costs by lowering the demand for indoor lighting. Vector Foiltec’s Texlon® ETFE system can be applied to a variety of support structures other than concrete, such as steel, tensile and wood structures.

Planned thermal climate in the rooms below the skylight

Two layers of ETFE film are layered with a cushion of air in between. The resulting ETFE cushions are tensioned on the lightweight aluminum structure. Because of their thermal insulation and structural stability, ETFE cushions are ideal for buildings in cold weather locations, as it happens to be the case for Copenhagen. They provide thermal performance up to 3 to 7 R-value for enclosed envelopes and the linear thermal expansion coefficient is higher in comparison to traditional building materials. Having control over the thermal climate in the building is very important for the Copenhagen Plant Science Centre due to the day-to-day sensitive work with plants.

Five small cushions, all different size

The spectacular geometry of the aluminum structure decomposes the skylight in five free-form small cushions, each of different size. The cushions are fixed on aluminum profiles which are then connected through bolt connections to the main concrete structure with a condensation gutter in between. ETFE cushion skylights are light sources that give richness to the interior space, giving it an amazing decorative feel. The plants, as well as the employees at the Copenhagen Plant Science Centre, find themselves enjoying the new lab building.