all in the detail … geometry and proportion in buildings by Arne Jacobsen

SAS Royal Hotel, Hammerichsgade 1-5, Copenhagen 1960

Towards the end of his life, in an interview that was published in Politiken in 1971, Arne Jacobsen explained that “the main thing is proportioning. Proportioning is what makes the beauty of old Greek temples classical. Like great blocks from which the air is literally carved out between the columns. And whether we look at a building from the Baroque, from the Renaissance, or from our own time the ones we wish to look at, the ones we admire - they are all well-proportioned: this is what is decisive.” 

It is a comment that reveals much about an underlying aesthetic principle that was at the core not only of his architecture but also his designs for furniture and interiors … an aesthetic that can be seen in major works of this late period of his career such as St Catherine’s College in Oxford or his last major commission for the National Bank of Denmark in Copenhagen. Not just buildings designed with elegant proportions but buildings that are calm and monumental in a way that is closely reminiscent of the best classical buildings. 

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both illustrations show details of the National Bank of Denmark in Copenhagen