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Middelfart, a New Building by 3XN, Smells Better Than Its Name

Middelfart Savings Bank

3XN–which, along with Snøhetta and BIG is one of the three most buzzed-about architects currently working in Scandinavia–has just completed its latest project, a headquarters for the Middelfart Savings Bank on the sleepy Danish island of Fyn. You’d never guess by looking at it, but the building is deep green.

The most obvious feature, the spiky window awnings, are canted at a very specific angle to lend shade during summer months, when the sun is high, and to let the sun in during the winter, when the sun swings low. But they’re also angled to frame the most impressive views of the surrounding waterfront.

Middelfart Savings Bank

Meanwhile, the biggest energy savings in the building come from prefab concrete blocks, shot through with plastic piping. In the winter, the pipes circulate warm air gathered by heat pumps; in the summer, cool sea water is circulated. The effect is barely noticeable indoors, since the temperature of the air or water being circulated is only a few degrees off from room temperature. But the savings is vast–the building consumes just 30-50% of the energy it otherwise would.

Middelfart Savings Bank

Middelfart Savings Bank

Last but not least, Danish/Icelandic artist Olafur Eliasson has installed six of his signature kaleidoscopes in the lobby: 

Middelfart Savings Bank

Middelfart Savings Bank

[Photographs: Adam Mørk/3XN]CK