Architecture for communities


Vandkunsten is an architecture firm with opinions and attitude. We only design projects we believe in. But once the work is done, the architecture is not ours. It belongs to the community.

At Vandkunsten, we focus on people. Homes, buildings and cities form the setting for human life and activity.

At the risk of sounding extravagant, we reserve the right to think and believe that good architecture has the capacity to make society more liveable.

That does not imply that architecture should make a spectacle of itself. Our architecture rarely draws attention to itself but seeks to engage in a dialogue with the people and communities that use it.

For nearly five decades, we have challenged the routine practices of the construction trade and consistently sought to create architecture that embraces social and sustainable goals.

The process always begins with history, with what already exists. Architecture should be shaped by the existing conditions and adopt a human orientation.


Vandkunsten was founded in 1970, and our own story is clearly shaped by the society we live in. In turn, through our work, we have had the privilege of contributing to the greater story of Danish architecture.

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Our office is located in a converted workshop building at the old Quintus battery at Holmen islet in Copenhagen. Here, everyone works in one large, shared space and get together around the long table.

The long table
We believe in hard work at the drawing table combined with an informal, critical dialogue with users, clients, consulting partners, contractors and – not least – each other.

We have a flat organization where the individual employee is granted a high degree of latitude. One thing that has stayed with since the beginning is our long table, which has served as our shared lunch table throughout the years.

Practice areas
Vandkunsten works within the full range of architectural practice, including everything from landscaping and city planning to site plans, urban renewal and renovation of both residential and commercial architecture. We also have a long-standing tradition for taking on projects for institutions with a social or cultural purpose.

Our main area of activity is Scandinavia and northern Europe.

Vandkunsten is made up of 80 highly skilled and dedicated employees






years of experience

Prizes and awards
Our five-decade-long effort has been acknowledged with numerous awards and accolades from Denmark and abroad.

Selected national awards
  • 2018: Architecture of the year - Lisbjerg Bakke
  • 2016: RENOVERprisen - prize for best refurbishment
  • 2015: Nykredits Sustainability Prize
  • 2014: The Eckersberg Medal
  • 1990: Nykredit Prize
Selected international recognition
  • 2009: Alvar Aalto Medal
  • 2007: Sveriges Arkitekters Bostadspris
  • 1996: Fritz Schumacher Medal
  • 1992: Kasper Salin Prize

Vandkunsten has been nominated 5 times for the Mies van der Rohe Award