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[Innovators] Extension of Danfoss University by Jürgen Mayer H. Architekten (Nordborg, Denmark)

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Plastic Fantastic: Jürgen Mayer H returns to the AR with unique style

In an awards programme that, by its nature, tends to be dominated by small-scale work, this project for a science park in Denmark was that comparatively rare thing, a biggish building executed with confidence and brio. But despite its undoubted chutzpah, it divided the judges. Some felt that its crazy, cookie-cutter profile epitomised the worst aspects of gratuitous form making. Others were impressed by its bravura ingenuity and pointed out that it was not merely a decorated shed, as the apparently ‘wilful’ plasticity could be read inside as well as out.

Mayer was premiated in AR Awards 2002 for his Stylepark installation at the Berlin UIA Congress (AR December 2002), where visitors reclined on and engaged with a sensuously sculptural internal topography. This project draws on that experience and extends Mayer’s exploration of the relationship between the human body, technology and, nature as a jumping off point for new forms and spaces.

Set in the agricultural landscape of Nordborg, the Danfoss Universe has proved very popular with the public, no doubt in part due to Mayer’s showpiece building. Sheltering within its hectic contours (which have become emblematic of the Danfoss enterprise) are an exhibition space, auditorium, cafe and offices.

Perhaps it makes more sense to see it as a kind of provocative modern folly, a latter-day temple or fantastic grotto, set just so in the landscape. It certainly had the effect of provoking the jury.

Architect Jürgen Mayer H., Berlin
Project team Jürgen Mayer H., Marcus Blum,Thorsten Blatter, Andre Santer,Alessandra Raponi

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