Towards a tectonic approach - Energy renovation in a Danish context

Marie Frier Hvejsel, Poul Henning Kirkegaard, Sophie Bondgaard Mortensen


Given the increasing environmental and legislative demands to reduce
energy consumption, not only new constructions but also the existing
urban fabric is about to change radically in the coming decades. Existing
buildings cannot simply be restored but must undergo a transformation
to comply with these demands. As the largest potential for energy
savings lies in re-insulation of the building envelope, specifically by adding
an additional insulation layer, this transformation will dramatically
affect the everyday experience of the built environment. Articulating the
architectural consequences and potentials of this transformation is an
urgent matter if it is not to be realized solely as a monotonous technical
cladding. In this matter, that of conceiving such extra insulation layer
simultaneously as a technical principle and as a spatial gesture revealing
an aesthetic architectural potential through this transformation is
inevitably a tectonic question. By analyzing three historical examples,
Adolf Loos Villa Moller, Le Corbusiers Unité dHabitation, and Frank
Lloyd Wrights Johnson Wax Administration Building, chosen for their
tectonic ability to exploit the technical principle defining the building
envelope as an aesthetic gesture, this paper discusses the architectural
challenges related to energy renovation in a Danish context and tectonic
design method as an approach to these challenges in everyday practice.

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