Carlsberg Academy Is Restored to Its Former Glory
28 January 2020
Marbled walls, grained doors and hidden slate walls. Carlsberg Academy is slowly revealing its true soul, for Brewer J.C. Jacobsen’s (1811-87) old villa near Valby Bakke in Copenhagen is being restored to its original look. “During the process, we have made various interesting colour-archaeological findings which are reminders of the original story of the house,” says Peder Elgaard, from Elgaard Architecture, the company in charge of the project and construction management.
Visiting Carlsberg Academy – the former honorary residence of leading Danish scientists such as Niels Bohr – is like stepping into a small part of Italy. Brewer Jacobsen was deeply enthusiastic about our southern neighbour and decorated his villa with beautiful reliefs, medallions and a copy of the Alexander Frieze by the famous Danish sculptor Bertel Thorvaldsen. The main house was designed and erected in 1847-53 by the architect N.S. Nebelong and built in Italianate villa style. The greenhouse Pompeii came into existence in 1876-78. The house could compare with some of the most beautiful buildings in Copenhagen at the time, and the brewer laid out equally impressive park-like gardens with a wealth of rare plants and trees. Botany was one of his great passions.
“Our work in the villa includes four areas: the extensive renovation of the Winter Garden, Pompeii’s installations and glass roofs, the cargo lift in the main house and the refurbishment of the South Terrace and garden wall,” Peder Elgaard continues. “The reason for the renovation of the greenhouses is that rain is penetrating the glass roofs, and that the indoor climate was originally created for the well-being of plants, not humans. This is now being rectified by Elgaard Architecture in collaboration with engineers from the company Sweco Danmark A/S. At the same time, it is an important focus of the project that the brewer’s great passion for botany is retained.” Architect Kristine Jensen’s Architectural Office is responsible for the renovation of the South Terrace as well as the floors, pots and plants in the Winter Garden.
In addition, the logistics of the house are upgraded by adding a lift from the basement to the living room in order for the service staff to be able to easily serve the large events that the villa houses. Today, Carlsberg Academy serves as a meeting and conference centre after the honorary residence ceased to exist in 1995. The restoration project reinforces the story of Brewer Jacobsen’s ambitions for the house and links the Academy’s present function as a meeting and conference centre closer to the cultural history of the place. “The materials we supply are in harmony with the high quality of the house: linseed oil paint on the walls and woodwork, natural stone and terrazzo floors, molded brass gratings, etc.,” adds Peder Elgaard.
The project continues throughout 2020 and allows Brewer Jacobsen’s spirit to slowly find its way back into the old living rooms. The Brewer bequeathed the villa to the Carlsberg Foundation, which, as one of the world’s oldest commercial foundations, is heading the global Carlsberg Breweries while also supporting research activities and the most preeminent projects within science, arts and culture.