all in the detail … frame and plane

the City Hall, Rødovre from the east

Through the 1950s and 1960s Arne Jacobsen experimented with different types of curtain-wall systems for glazing and not just for office and commercial buildings but also for houses and apartment buildings. The term curtain wall is here used in it’s broadest sense to mean a building where cross walls or internal columns or piers carry the full weight of the floors and roof so that large frames that do not carry any load can be constructed to form walls with large areas of window glass. At the summer house at Strandvejen in Tisvilde on 1956 one whole wall onto a long balcony on the first floor was glazed; at Munkegård Elementary School in Søborg, completed in 1957, large areas of glass with minimal frames were used for corridors and classrooms and, even more dramatically, a curved wall of glass was constructed in the house completed for Leo Henriksen at Odden on the north coast of Sjælland in 1956.

Jacobsen encouraged manufacturers to produce thinner and thinner metal profiles for the frames, at first in timber that was clad with aluminium but then with aluminium or steel profiles, and he used geometry and proportions to design complicated arrangements of glass with closed panels below and above the windows in various materials including enamelled metal sheet, in concrete, reinforced with fibre (asbestos) and then painted, or in opaque coloured glass.

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