Buildings you probably didn’t know existed in Copenhagen

Discover the city's different and odd buildings

Get to know some exciting buildings with astonishing backgrounds

Some visit Copenhagen just to be inspired by outstanding architecture. And the most famous buildings are easy to find, but there should probably be more unknown buildings that still shine a little? So I found a number of them that caught my interest, and just had to find out more. Read on.

Osram House

This building is the former headquarters of the Osram company. It was among the first structures to be built using the shock concrete method. To clarify, shock concrete is a technique to remove water, thereby making the concrete even stronger. The architect recognized the endless possibilities for creating spectacular buildings using this innovative technique but opted for a more restrained approach. The building was constructed during 1952-53.
Valhalsgade 4

Osram House
The Osram company is famous for it´s light bulbs

Linoleum House

This quite anonymous house was built in 1931and Its name comes from the resemblance to the linoleum flooring of the time. However the architect´s inspiration was found in the venetian style.
Åboulevard 84-86

Linoleum House
Made with the most common brick colors in Denmark, red and yellow

The Balloon Hangar

Away by Islands Brygge you will find this strange building with a very large gate. Nowdays it is used as a riding hall, but was built by the military back in 1917 to store large balloons.
Artillerivej 73

Balloon Hangar
Large doors reveal its history


Originally from Germany, this building has an interesting history. Following WWI, restrictions were imposed on arms production; consequently, the hall was disassembled and shipped to Denmark. Over time, the facade has been altered to better meet contemporary requirements, giving the building a more modern appearance.
Islands Brygge 55

Here in Copenhagen the hall was first used as a machine shop

Culture Tower on Knippels Bridge

The tower is a distinctive and relatively unknown cultural café. Inside the tower, you can enjoy coffee, savor healthy food, explore exhibitions, and attend lectures. Occasionally, live music performances take place, all accompanied by a spectacular 360-degree view of the canal. Constructed in 1937, the tower has never before been open to the public on a regular basis.
Why not get some updated info at their website.
Knippelsbro 2

Knippels bridge
The tower is anonymous on the outside but on the inside the culture is sprouting

Onkel Toms Hytte

This house has an intriguing history. According to rumors, the house was temporarily situated at the Tivoli Gardens in 1905 during a colonial exhibition. Allegedly, two children from the Danish West Indies were housed within and made accessible for public viewing. And due to its unique, narrow shape—only 3 meters wide—the house reportedly swayed in strong winds!
By the way, here you can read about one of the children’s fates.
Bjerregårdsvej 15

Onkel Toms Hytte
Note the old Norse dragon heads on the roof of this building

The round houseboat at Kalvebod Brygge

A beautiful example of a spectacular house on water. And its exclusive location among modern buildings makes it even more interesting.
Kalvebod Brygge

The round houseboat
Just walk along the canal and you will soon see this floating luuxury house

The Yellow Palace

This is far more than just a another yellow palace. In fact, it is financed by the slave trade. The palace was built in 1764-67 by the slave trader Frederik Bargum. And like the other colonial powers, he bought slaves from the Africa inland and shipped them to the West Indies, where they were sold to the sugar plantations on all the Caribbean islands.
Amaliegade 18

Yellow Palace
More buildings in the city have been financed by the slave trade

The floating church

In Sydhavn there is a rather unusual houseboat. Actually it is a church anchored in the canal. And churchgoers have to walk across the gangway when mass is called. So we have to hope there aren’t too big waves that day.
By the way, You can learn more about Sydhavn here.
Abel Nobels Bro, Sydhavn

Floating Church
In the background the highest church towers seem to be the chimneys at H.C. Ørstedsværket

The house with a tree through the roof

Over at christiania there is this strange house. So aware of the tree’s inner power has probably led the homeowner to let it live on in harmony with man.
Christiania, the path along the water, south side, near Øresundsmiljøskolen

We will certainly see more of this in the future

Østre Gasværk Teater

Formerly just Gasværket, a Danish theater housed in the closed Gasværk on Østerbro in Copenhagen. The theater hall is located in the round brick shell, which housed the old gas tank until 1979, and is one of Copenhagen’s most magnificent theater rooms.
Nyborggade 17

Østre Gasværk Teater
A former gas holder that has become a theater


This house is one of the oldest preserved buildings in Copenhagen – perhaps even the oldest. In fact, it is dated back to around 1420. The Konsistoriehuset escaped unscathed through both the Copenhagen fire in 1728 and the English bombardment in 1807. Nowadays, the building is used as a meeting room for the board of the University of Copenhagen.
To see the house you have to go through the big gate at Frue Plads. The gate is open on weekdays.
University of Copenhagen, Frue Plads

Probably the oldest house in Copenhagen

The petrol station in Skovshoved

At Skodshoved Harbor north of Copenhagen there is a unique petrol station. In fact, It was built in 1936 in the Funkis style according to drawings by Arne Jacobsen.
It still serves its purpose with petrol sales, but inside the building ice cream and burgers are served. The station was renovated back in 2002.
Kystvejen 24

The ceiling can be traced to Jacobsen’s famous chairs

The buildings with the unusual chimneys

Just outside Copenhagen you will find an abandoned airbase. Scattered in nature just close to the runway, you can’t miss several strange, massive concrete buildings with really odd chimneys. Indeed, they are actually hangars for storing F-16 warplanes. And still the buildings are in very good condition.
You can get here via S-train from the city (Måløv Station).
Værløse Air Base, Sandet 91

Værløse Air Base
Bring a bike because this area is quite large

The red house

Artist Thomas Dambo (also known for his large wooden trolls) and a number of volunteers created this house together in a few days. It is made entirely of recycled material from the nearby recycling station.
The house can be used freely and there is both a barbecue area and a pizza oven available.
Borgervænget Genbrugsstation

The red House
Around the house there are more interesting details

The smallest house in Copenhagen

This is said to be Copenhagen’s smallest house. And strangely enough, there is actually nothing more exciting than that to tell about it. Because usually when it comes to older buildings, there is usually some interesting anecdote or maybe a celebrity who lived here back in the day, but no, not in this little yellow house.
Sølvgade 32

Smallest house in Copenhagen
Unfortunately the scaffolding hides most of the house, but new pictures will be forthcoming

Metropol Building

The Metropol building is a rare example of Art Nouveau in Copenhagen. The building was formerly a cinema but ceased as such in 1980.
Fredriksberggade 16 (Strøget)

Metropol Building
Massive columns and large windows characterize Art Nouveau

H/F Frederikshøj

An interesting area where small simple houses are really close together and their design breathes creativity and personal freedom. You navigate around the area thanks to a number of footpaths. The green well-grown hedges along the plot boundaries mean that the view to the houses is somewhat limited.
So take a bike ride out here and walk around and enjoy the tranquility and the alternative way of living.
Frederikshøj (just close to Sydhavn)

H/F Frederikshøj
There are also plenty of imaginative windows here

Carlsberg Lighthouse

In 1882, J.C. Jacobsen’s brewery Carlsberg got electric light, which happened at a time when it was not yet widespread in Copenhagen. As the brewery was located at the top of the high Valby Bakke, it was decided to combine the guard building with a real lighthouse. And it still stands here, despite the fact that the surrounding buildings are in many cases significantly higher. Today, an international art gallery is housed in the premises.
J.C. Jacobsens Gade, Pasteursvej

Carlsbergs Lighthouse
The old lighthouse is an interesting feature among new buildings


Copenhagens probably most interesting house built in Art Nouveau style. In fact, the large windows facing the street were built, for the first time in Denmark, with the so-called curtain wall technology, where glass and window frames make up the load-bearing part. The country’s first elevator was also in the building.
Also, In 2003, it was awarded the “European Union Prize for Cultural Heritage”.
Vesterbrogade 34

The name Løvenborg comes from an earlier tavern that used to be here

The Glyptotheque on New Carlsberg

Most of us who visit Copenhagen find our way to Ny Carlsberg Glyptotek.
But the first Glyptotek was in fact at a completely different place in the city. Yes, actually in a private villa where the brewery’s founder J.C. Jacobsen lived.
Valby Langgade 1

The Glyptotheque on New Carlsberg
Today, the building is not open to the public and can only be viewed through the gates

Nyborggade transformerstation

A transformer station from 1960. And this particular one is unique given that the materials used are significantly cheaper than most others. And precisely in the 60s, the prices for materials increased significantly, so it was with great curiosity that the architect here took on the task.
I still think it feels really exciting even though many years have passed!
Nyborggade 13

The architect’s name is Hans Christian Hansen (1901-1978)

The house on the roof

I caught sight of this house just recently. And the fact that I haven’t seen it before is probably due to its location. And it’s not very big either, only 60 square meters in total. However the view from that height must be just outstanding.
The corner of Gl. Kongevej and Tullinsgade

The house on the roof
You have to look high in the sky to see this odd house


In response to the cholera epidemic of 1853, the medical association raised private funds to bring about change. Their aim was to construct healthy and affordable housing for the working class. Consequently, upon completion of the construction work, Brumleby offered 550 apartments, providing shelter for approximately 2,500 people.
In the 1960s, the municipality attempted to replace the buildings; however, their efforts were met with strong protests.

Read more about this unique housing project here.
Brumleby 1-228

Almost all the houses here have the expressive yellow color


The house in the picture is a modern version of the former building that stood here since 1799. Really, firewood was piled up and formed the frame of a house.
The space could be used for storage and a gazebo.

Buildings like this have been found in other places in Denmark

The floating playground

Not far from Christianina is this somewhat unusual playground. Yes, due to lack of space, they have simply placed it high between two buildings!
Prinsessegade 76

Fun to watch, and probably even more fun to be up there playing

CPH Village Nørrebro 

This one is quite cool. Its a residential complex right next to the railway, built from various modules. And its execution is imaginative to say the least. Students live here, well at least until they turn 30.
Banevingen 20

There are other similar complexes in the city

The old archive

And what could this be? Well, an old archive building from the 60s with characteristic inward-sloping and closed facades covered with black slate. The building is said to be empty now, so one wonders how long it will remain. Designed by Eva and Nils Koppel.
Hiort Lorenzens Gade

If you get closer, you can see that some slates are missing


Kay Fisker and C.F. Møller designed Vestersøhus and it was was completed in 1939 and is considered a masterpiece of Danish functionalism. In fact, its distinctive balcony and bay window design has served as a model for later Danish residential architecture.
Notably, Vestersøhus is an important part of Denmark’s architectural history, having been listed as a protected building since 1994. Interestingly, the building’s design was actually inspired by the ocean liner SS Normandie, as the architects were influenced by the ship’s streamlined, modern design.
Vester Søgade 

The facade is covered with hand-made bricks and they all look different.
The design was actually inspired by the ocean liner SS Normandie

Rødovre kommunebibliotek

Another of Arne Jacobsen’s masterpieces. And this time a library that has no windows to the outside! But on the inside, even more light comes in via open courtyards and creates a really good atmosphere. And also interiors and coloring are jacobson’s own. So if you are into Danish design, this strange building is a must visit.
Rødovre Parkvej 140

Indeed, the building could be mistaken for a prison

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