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Denmark, Finland, Iceland, Norway and Sweden Embassies in Berlin

Denmark, Finland, Iceland, Norway and Sweden Embassies in Berlin

Date : between 1996 and 2000

The Felleshus / Pan Nordic Building
Item 21 on 25
Outdoor architecture

Area related
Berlin (Germany)


The Felleshus / Pan Nordic Building, which is open to the public, combines the security, working and representation functions of all five embassies. The house also serves as central passageway to the embassies. The name Felleshus denotes the sense the building imbues and what it is used for - a house for all, a house in which to meet and interact. The Felleshus has an auditorium for concerts, readings, film viewings and conferences, exhibition spaces, conference rooms, a spacious terrace and a Nordic canteen. The facade of the building is panelled with maple wood. The entrance opens up in the form of a centrally placed glass front as high as the building. The glass-roofed entrance hall spans all floors and is flanked by slender columns. On the second floor an extensive exhibition area and the terrace open up. On the next floor is the Nordic canteen. The walls and columns in the Felleshus are made of exposed concrete. Complementing this, the use of maple wood imparts a warm, bright atmosphere. The floor is of light-coloured Swedish marble. The building is the public space for the entire complex and presents a functional, modern and inviting ambience to visitors.

Embassy Complex
Connections between countries and political alliances in Northern Europe have a long history. Denmark, Finland, Iceland, Norway and Sweden comprise the so-called Nordic Region and have a common representation of interests in the Nordic Council (since 1952) and in the Nordic Council of Ministers (since 1971). After the fall of the Berlin Wall and the German Parliament's resolution to relocate the capital from Bonn to Berlin, the often considered idea of a common Nordic embassy complex was able to be realised. The vision of five national embassy office buildings with one common building open to the public, the Felleshus/Common House, enclosed by a band of copper, corresponded to the fundamental idea of individual freedom, combined with a feeling of unity. The almost 230 metres long and 15 metres broad copper band is the distinguishing feature of the design of Berger and Parkkinen. It consists of approximately 4000 pre-patinated lamellas and gives the complex a unified appearance from the outside. The area inside the copper band, the plaza, is transected by geometric lines. The area within these lines forms the plaza, and the sides of the four intersecting lane strips are defined by the sides of the buildings. The lane strips form streets between the individual embassy buildings. Three water basins between the buildings are an architectural reference to the connecting seas between the Nordic countries. The embassy buildings, in turn, are grouped to correspond to the arrangement of the countries on the map.

The Royal Danish Embassy is situated on the south-western side of the Klingelhoefer Triangle. It has been built to plans by the architectural practice of Nielsen, Nielsen + Nielsen and is meant to symbolise a path. A meandering atrium allows passers-by to see into the interior of the diplomatic precinct. The building is divided up into three main sections which are characterised by the use of different materials: a wooden stairwell, a glass cube facing the square and a transparent structure facing the copper band surrounding the five Nordic embassies.

The Finnish Embassy has been built to plans by the architects, Rauno Lehtinen, Pekka Maeki, and Toni Peltola, in the south-western section of the northern part of the Klingelhoefer Triangle. It is designed in the shape of a hall with overlapping stairs. The offices can be accessed by galleries which run alongside the hall.

In late 1992, Norway said that it would like to set up its embassy together with those of the other Nordic countries in the northern part of the Klingelhoefer Triangle. However, the federal state of Hesse had already acquired a third of the 7,200 sq. m. of land here for its official representation in Berlin. Negotiations led to Hesse being given an alternative property and so the path was free for the establishment of the Nordic Embassy complex. The Oslo firm of architects Snoehetta won the competition for the design of the Norwegian Embassy in June 1996. The building is situated at the northern end of the complex. At the obtuse front end of the embassy there is an aspen wall as high as the building itself. A steel frame stands in front of the eastern facade. Cafés, reception rooms and a garden terrace are to be accommodated in a small triangular courtyard.

The Swedish Embassy has been constructed to plans by the Gothenburg architect, Gert Winghårdh, in the north-eastern corner of the Klingelhoefer Triangle. Seen from the inner square, the building gives a closed-off impression, but its plain, extended facade opens up to the copper band. The atrium behind comprises different interacting spaces and structures. The western facade together with the window band and the wall strip is reminiscent of classical Swedish Modernism.

The smallest building in the Nordic embassy quarter is by no means dwarfed by its larger neighbours. Situated to the north of the Danish representation, the Icelandic Embassy has been built to plans by the architect, Pálmar Kristmudsson. Designed as a cube in two parts, the building has a courtyard looking out onto the copper band. The staggered height of the building forms a thematic link with the nearby Norwegian Embassy building.

Already in 1952, the five Nordic countries founded the Nordic Council with the aim of political and social cooperation. The idea of a joint project in building the embassies for Denmark, Finland, Iceland, Norway and Sweden had also existed for a long time. The resolution to relocate the seat of government from Bonn to Berlin made the realisation possible for the first time, whereas the choice of a common location was contingent on history. In 1996 the first decision was reached in the two-stage architectural competition. The Austrian-Finnish architectural partnership Alfred Berger and Tiina Parkkinen won first prize with its design. Berger and Parkkinen designed the concept as a whole. In addition, Berger and Parkkinen also designed the Felleshus/Common House. In a second phase each of the five countries held national competitions for their embassy buildings. The five ambassadors turned the first spade together at a joint groundbreaking event in May 1997. The construction of the buildings took only 29 months, and the embassies were officially opened in October 1999 in a joint ceremony.

Agrandir le plan

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