Schmidt Hammer Lassen

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Schmidt Hammer Lassen Architects (SHL) is an international architectural firm founded by a group of Danish architects in 1986 in Aarhus, Denmark. It currently has three offices in Copenhagen and Aarhus in Denmark, and Shanghai, China.

Schmidt Hammer Lassen (SHL)
Den Sorte Diamant 3.jpg
PartnersMorten Schmidt
Bjarne Hammer
John Lassen
Kim Holst Jensen
Kristian Ahlmark
Chris Hardie
Rong Lu
Elif Tinaztepe
Kasper Frandsen
Mads Kaltoft
Nathan Smith
Rasmus Kierkegaard
Sanne Wall-Gremstrup
Tiago Pereira
Founded1986 (1986)
LocationCopenhagen, Denmark
Aarhus, Denmark
Shanghai, China

The studio has a distinguished track record as designers of international high-profile architecture, that is deeply rooted to the Nordic architectural traditions of democracy, welfare, aesthetics, light, sustainability and social responsibility. In 2018, Schmidt Hammer Lassen became part of global architecture and design firm Perkins and Will.

The practice has a track record as designers of high-profile cultural buildings; theatres; art galleries, educational complexes and libraries. Notable projects include the national library of Denmark The Royal Library (Det Kongelige Bibliotek) in Copenhagen, the ARoS Kunstmuseum in Aarhus, DOKK1, the largest public library in Scandinavia and named by IFLA International Federation of Library Associations as Public Library of the Year in 2016, and Shanghai Library East, which will become China’s largest new library when it opens in 2021.


Halmstad Library
Halmstad Library

Schmidt Hammer Lassen Architects was established in 1986 by Morten Schmidt, Bjarne Hammer and John F. Lassen.

Royal Library in Copenhagen

The current group of Principals includes Morten Schmidt, Bjarne Hammer, John F. Lassen, Kim Holst Jensen, Kristian Lars Ahlmark, Chris Hardie, Rong Lu, Elif Tinaztepe, Kasper Heiberg Frandsen, Mads Kaltoft, Nathan Smith, Rasmus Kierkegaard, Sanne Wall-Gremstrup, and Tiago Pereira.

The practice had its major breakthrough with the Katuaq Culture Centre in Nuuk, Greenland, completed in 1997. The project in Nuuk was followed by first prize in the international competition for the extension of the Danish Royal Library on the harborfront in Copenhagen. Completed in 1999, the library extension, also known as the Black Diamond, has become one of the practice’s best known buildings.

Another major project is the ARoS Art Museum in Aarhus, Denmark, which was completed in 2004. In May 2011 the art work Your rainbow panorama, by Olafur Eliasson, was officially unveiled on the roof top of the museum.

In 2010 Schmidt Hammer Lassen Architects won the competition to design the first permanent premises for the International Criminal Court (ICC) in The Hague, the Netherlands. The ICC is the first permanent, treaty-based, international criminal court established to help end impunity for the perpetrators of the most serious crimes of concern to the international community. It was founded in 2002 and has grown to the present-day size of 122 member countries. The building is designed to convey hope, trust and faith in justice.

In 2011 Schmidt Hammer Lassen established an office in Shanghai, to serve their increasing client base in Asia. Current projects include China’s largest new Library Shanghai Library East due for completion in 2021, the world’s largest waste to energy power plant Shenzhen East due for completion in 2020, and Ningbo New Library in Ningbo, China, completed in 2019.


The common denominator underlying the practice’s work is a democratic approach to an architecture focused around people, material, space, and light.

Product designEdit

Schmidt Hammer Lassen Architects' work also include furniture and product designs, both as an integral part of large-scale architectural projects, such as the Black Diamond and ARoS, and as independent designs. Begun with the intention of raising the overall quality of architectural projects, Schmidt Hammer Lassen design is an independent department working on architecture-related designs and independent products with international manufacturers.

The current product range includes light fixtures for Philips Lighting, Lampas and Focus, indoor furniture Piiroinen and DJOB Montana, outdoor street furniture for Veksoe. Designs include the Flakes chair, the Focus Lighting, Idea Water Fixtures and the Swan Neck. The design department also creates unique pieces such as the sculptural receptions desk at Danfoss.

The firm also creates interior designs, such as the Bodil Binner Jewellery shop.[1]

Selected worksEdit


  • Nykredit Headquarters, Copenhagen, Denmark (completed 2001)[2]

In progressEdit

  • Ningbo Home of Staff, Ningbo, China (expected completion 2017)
  • Konstitucijos Avenue 21 urban complex, Vilnius, Lithuania (competition win 2009)
  • Island School, Hong Kong, China (competition win 2014)
  • Ningbo New Library, Ningbo, China (expected completion 2017)
  • Skanderborg Sports and Administration Centre, Skanderborg, Denmark (competition win 2013)
  • Vendsyssel Theatre and Experience Centre, Vendsyssel, Denmark (competition win 2013)
  • Expo Green Valley, Shanghai, China (expected completion 2016)
  • Ningbo Daily Newspaper Headquarters, Ningbo, China (expected completion 2016)
  • Dream Theatre, Dream Dome and Dream Hub for Dream Center, Shanghai China (expected completion 2017)
  • CaoHeJing Innovation Incubator, Shanghai, China (expected completion 2016)
  • Sunbird Daxi Central Park Residences, Taipei, Taiwan (expected completion 2016)
  • Saltkristallerna, Helsingborg, Sweden (competition win February 2010))[10]
  • Warsaw Office Tower, Warsaw, Poland (competition win, November 2011)[11]
  • China Mobile Campus, Huaian, China (expected completion 2017)
  • China Mobile Campus, Luoyang, China (expected completion 2017)
  • New Aalborg University Hospital, Aalborg, Denmark (competition win, 2013)
  • Cultural Center and Library, Karlshamn, Sweden (competition win, January 2013)[12]
  • Extension of Helsingborg Hospital, Helsingborg, Sweden (competition win 2013)
  • Correctional facility in Nuuk, Greenland (competition win 2013)
  • New Hospital Hvidovre, Hvidovre, Denmark (competition win 2013)
  • Christchurch Central Library, Christchurch, New Zealand (expected completion mid-2018)


  • 1997 Nykredit Architecture Prize
  • 2007 MIPIM AR Future Projects Award ('residential' category) for Skytthusbugten[13]
  • 2008 LEAF Award, Grand Prix for Performers House
  • 2008 MIPIM AR Future Projects Award ('office' category) for Amazon Court
  • 2009 Construction and Investment Journal Award ('Best Office Development') for Amazon Court[14]
  • 2009 MIPIM AR Future Projects Award ('mixed use' category) for Holbæk Harbour Masterplan
  • 2011 New London Award ('learning' category) for City of Westminster College[15]
  • 2011 LEAF Award ('structural design' category) for The Crystal[16]
  • 2011 Aarhus Municipality Award for Villa Busk/ Vibevej 27, Denmark
  • 2011 The Concrete Society Awards, shortlisted for City of Westminster College, England
  • 2011 ArchDaily Building of the Year Award for the Crystal, Denmark[17]
  • 2012 Arne of the Year Award, shortlisted for The Crystal, Denmark
  • 2012 RIBA Award, EU category, shortlisted for The Crystal, Denmark
  • 2012 Civic Society Award for University of Aberdeen New Library, UK
  • 2013 IABSE Denmark’s Structure Award for the Crystal in Copenhagen
  • 2013 RIAS Award 2013 for University of Aberdeen New Library, UK[18]
  • 2013 RIBA Award 2013 for University of Aberdeen New Library, UK
  • 2014 Lieutenant Governor's Design Award in Architecture for Halifax Central Library


  1. ^ "Jewellery shop as gallery". World Architecture News. Retrieved 2009-09-21.
  2. ^ "Nykredit Headquarters". Retrieved 8 June 2017.
  3. ^ "Library turns new leaf". World Architecture News. Retrieved 2009-09-22.
  4. ^ "Justice is served". World Architecture News. Retrieved 2010-03-08.
  5. ^ "Sky's the limit". World Architecture News. Retrieved 2009-09-23.
  6. ^ "Harmony reached at Counterpoint". World Architecture News. Retrieved 2010-05-23.
  7. ^ "Cathedral of the Northern Lights / SHL Architects + LINK arkitektur". ArchDaily. Retrieved 2013-02-21.
  8. ^ "By the book..." World Architecture News. Retrieved 2011-11-21.
  9. ^ "SHL wins International Criminal Court". World Architecture News. Retrieved 2010-03-08.
  10. ^ "Harbouring designs". World Architecture News. Retrieved 2010-03-08.
  11. ^ "Best of three..." World Architecture News. Retrieved 2011-11-21.
  12. ^ "schmidt hammer lassen to Design New Cultural Center and Library in Karlshamn, Sweden". Bustler. Retrieved 2013-02-07.
  13. ^ "SHL celebrate third Future Projects Award". World Architecture News. Retrieved 2009-09-22.
  14. ^ "Amazon Court receives another prestigious award". Europe Real Estate. Retrieved 2009-12-22.
  15. ^ "City of Westminster College wins a New London Award". ArchWirld. Retrieved 2011-10-08.
  16. ^ "The Crystal Awarded with Emirates Glass LEAF Award for Best Structural Design 201". Bustler. Retrieved 2011-10-08.
  17. ^
  18. ^

Further readingEdit

  • Marianne Ibler (2007) Global Danish Architecture #2 – Housing. Copenhagen, Denmark: Archipress
  • schmidt hammer lassen (1999) The Royal Library – Architectural Images. Copenhagen, Denmark: Gyldendal
  • Forster et al. (2005) 10x10_2. London, UK: Phaidon
  • schmidt hammer lassen architects (2008) Outline – architecture by schmidt hammer lassen, Birkhäuser Verlag

External linksEdit