Designed by the architect Andreas Fussing, work on the power station began in 1916 and was completed by 1920 although there have been several major additions. The long turbine hall with shallow curved roof in concrete was part of the first phase. Additions in 1924 and 1932 were designed by Louis Hygom and Waldemar Schmidt and for that phase Burmeister & Wain built what was then the world’s largest diesel engine.
Some roads around and through the works are open to the public and there is a museum here and open days when it is possible to see some of the machinery halls.
This is certainly some of the most dramatic architecture in the city and should have been a model for some of the recent developments around the city - particularly for the Carlsberg redevelopment but also for the overall planning of the North Harbour area.
The power station is Functionalism at its best … carefully controlled and beautifully proportioned buildings in the style known as New Classicism and incredibly important industrial archaeology that tells the history of electric power in the city.
Of course, that’s not to suggest that new architecture in the city has to be a pastiche of industrial buildings of the past but that modern buildings achieve the scale but seem thin and flimsy and curiously rather cautious when compared with the bold compositions here that use very strong but carefully controlled colour; strong use of shadow and strong, simple but beautifully proportioned fenestration and rational design where function, generally, is expressed in the form.
A new metro station is due to be built here, just south of the power station and there are plans to build blocks of apartments along the water frontage but it is to be hoped that they respect the form and the importance of the architecture of the power station. There is also to be a new bridge to link this part of the harbour development with the new areas further south … all part of developing the circuit of the harbour to encourage people to cycle, run or walk around the harbour.