Frederiksberg Courthouse - 3XN

Frederiksberg Courthouse from the south west


The new Courthouse in Frederiksberg is part of the extensive development of the area to the west of the main shopping centre forming a series of squares and pedestrian areas with several new civic buildings. The old Courthouse, with two-storey ranges around three sides of a courtyard, designed by Hack Campmann and completed in 1921, has been retained but a substantial new brick building designed by 3XN has been constructed to the west as a separate block but with a glass link between the two parts at the first-floor level.

Tall, to reduce the footprint, the new range has a sloped roof towards the old buildings in part so that the front towards the historic buildings is a similar height but also so the slope of the roof throws less shadow over the courtyard in the afternoon.


Although the use of brick for the exterior is a nod to tradition the lighter colour of the new brickwork distinguishes the two phases. There are some interesting details so towards the north end of the building, on the east side and beyond the line of the courtyard, the tiles of the roof are swept back up to a vertical in a great curve that has a hint of Arts and Crafts architecture.

Brick is now used in many modern concrete or steel buildings with no structural function, often brought to the site as pre-formed panels, almost as a veneer, so with no need to follow traditional arrangements for coursing or bonding but this is the first building I have seen where several external doors have brick cladding. I’m curious to know how much these doors weigh and if there have to be special closers and door furniture to stop them slamming onto fingers. A line of severed digits on a threshold is not good.