• The Henning Larsen Foundation

    The Henning Larsen Foundation was first established in 2001 with Henning Larsen’s private funds. The purpose of the Foundation is to promote and disseminate Danish architecture in a broad sense. Each year on the founder's birthday August 20, one or more grants are awarded.

  • A number of young Danish architects have been awarded grants. And in 2007, 2008, 2012, 2015, and 2017, the Foundation has additionally organized international competitions in the fields of architectural photography, architectural drawing, writing about architecture, architecture and film, as well as architecture and music.

    The objective of the non-profit, charitable Foundation is to support Danish architecture – through further training, traveling grants, exhibition activities, publication of architecture books, and development and implementation of information technology for architectural purposes. The Foundation awards grants in acknowledgement of architects who have developed significant buildings or demonstrated other achievements of high quality.

    The Foundation is a natural extension of Henning Larsen’s personal interest in communicating and advancing architecture in parallel to his work as an architect and his professorship at the Royal Danish Academy of Fine Arts, School of Architecture. This interest is also reflected in his establishment of SKALA architecture gallery and SKALA architecture magazine in the eighties.

    The Board consists of: 

      Troels Troelsen, architect (Chairman)
      Kent Martinussen, architect, CEO, Danish Architecture Centre
      Ingela Larsson, Architect
      Simon Ingvartsen, Architect  
      Bente Scavenius, Mag.art.
      Lone Backe, MA, BA in Art History
      Niels Bang, Lawyer

  • Henning Larsen Foundation announces theme of 2021 Competition: Architecture + Utopia

  • The Henning Larsen Foundation is proud to announce the latest edition of its competition series this year an open international competition on the theme of Utopia in architecture. Previous competition editions have explored photographing architecture (2007), drawing architecture (2008), writing about architecture (2012), architecture and film (2015), and architecture and music (2017.)

    The aim of the competition is to request ideas and images that can revitalize the utopia of architecture. 

    The background of the competition is Henning Larsen's work as a curious architect. He sought new untried paths in architecture and sought inspirations far and wide. It could be in anonymous design and architecture, in structures of the past, and in the latest advances in science, as described in the attached text by architect Troels Troelsen, longtime collaborator at the design studio and chairman of the foundation. 

    The competition calls for architectural, utopian visions.

    Ideas that, with artistic and poetic power, can inspire a new dimension and a new quality in architecture are sought. The task: Describe in sketches and few words a Utopia, a dream or mood with descents in spatial, architectural particulars. Contributions are to be made in drawing / photo or any pictorial technique including short illuminating texts in either Danish or English (submissions in other languages will not be considered.) Analyses and theses are not asked for.

    Entries must be submitted anonymously as a JPG or PDF sheets, max. 4 landscape-format A3 pages or 1 landscape-format A1 poster. Texts included in the sheets are limited to 1500 characters in total. File size is limited to 10mb.

    Previously published material will be rejected. Entries from relatives or partners to any of the jurors will not be accepted. 

    The jury is comprised of Henrik Oxvig (cand mag. et mag. Art), Jytte Rex (artist), Kathrin Susanna Gimmel (architect), Ben Clement and Sebastian de la Cour (benandsebastian artists) and Troels Troelsen (architect).

    Entries can be uploaded from mid-February 2021 until 9th of April 2021 23:59 CET. The proposals will be subsequently exhibited at the Danish Architecture Center in BLOX- in Copenhagen. The prize money of 14,000 Euros will be awarded to the best proposal or proposals, distributed at the discretion of the evaluation committee.

    The Foundation reserves the right to display the proposals on the website one year after publication.

    (lead image depicts Karl Friedrich Schinkel's stage set for the Magic Flute. Image via Wikimedia Commons.) 


    Thank you to all submitted to the 2021 Henning Larsen Foundation competition! Entries are now closed.


    Due to high volume of entries, it may take some time to confirm receipt. If you submitted an entry and do not receive a confirmation email by Wednesday, 14 April, please email architectureandutopia@henninglarsen.com. Include your name and the name of the file you submitted and we will get back to you.

    All those who submitted before the deadline of April 9, 23:59 CET will be considered. 

    • Utopia in Architecture

      Troels Troelsen, Chairman of the Board of the Henning Larsen Foundation and jury chair, expounds on the notion of utopia in architecture.

      How do we today maintain Architecture as an art not flooded with economic thinking, but developed through new ideas and experiments?

      Oscar Wilde: “A map of the world that does not include Utopia is not worth even glancing at, for it leaves out the one country at which Humanity is always landing. And when Humanity lands there, it looks out, and, seeing a better country, sets sail. Progress is the realization of Utopias. ” 

      Henning Larsen was a curious architect. He was eager and ambitious, though not always explicit what he striving for. He probably did not know. Had he known, the attraction and magic would be missed.  
      The exciting thing about working in his design studio was precisely this openness to the unknown. Henning let things unfold in their own way, and was willing to pursue skewed paths to keep the process open. To him, architecture was a magic seed whose secrets were to be unraveled.  Even when we achieved something unique, he desired other possibilities. Henning's curiosity was reflected in his numerous initiatives, such as the SKALA Gallery and SKALA Magazine and, most recently, in the annual Henning Larsen's Foundation prize.

      It was as if Henning was dreaming of a Utopia.  

      The escalating progress of our time, more than ever, challenges our understanding of the world. On one hand, advances of science promise overwhelming possibilities that could inspire adventurous utopias with unexpected perspectives. On the other, automated design through algorithms and artificial intelligence (combined with the challenges and trend towards home workplaces and virtual collaboration) curbs both our professional presence and our universal vision. At the same time, acquisitions and unifications between architectural firms, contractors, and engineering firms are on the rise. Here, recent demands tend to require documentation of all the technical, scientific, sociological and environmental aspects of architecture - as if we were aiming for an architecture of spreadsheets.

      How do we today maintain Architecture as an art not flooded with economic thinking, but developed through new ideas and experiments?

      The aim of this competition is to revitalize the notion of “Utopia” in architecture. Modernism was, in some ways utopic, born from and driven by visions for a future not yet possible. It was also a future that mostly turned out differently, with countless new and overwhelming potentials both promising and frightening. One can miss the magnificent, utopian reveries of the 18th century and the modernist visions of early Soviet architecture. They held dreams of adventurous futures, things that could not yet and might never take place. Things that would change our lives and our worldview.

      This competition calls for architectural, utopian visions. Ideas that, with artistic and poetic power, can inspire a new dimension and a new quality in architecture are sought.


    • 2020 Award

      The foundation awarded Danish architecture firm Leth & Gori on the occasion of the late founder's birthday.

      Leth & Gori was founded in 2007 and their work centers around site-specific projects that address both the urban scale and individual buildings.

      “The studio range far in its work, and in reality Leth & Gori is much more than a traditional architecture studio due to their particular way of working with architecture,” says Simon Ingvartsen, Design Director at Henning Larsen and jury member, about the motivation behind this year’s winners.

      Alongside building up the internationally acclaimed studio, the two architects have also run “Absalongsgade 21B”, a gallery and exhibition space in Copenhagen, since 2011. Additionally, both teach at the Architecture School at the Royal Danish Academy of Fine Arts. 

      “The many ways in which Leth & Gori work with architecture; as practicing architects, curators, communicators and teachers, testifies to an understanding of and perspective on the role of the architect as one whose main purpose is to create generous spaces for people and for something, and where architecture as a medium is unrestricted,” says Simon Ingvartsen.

      “In the Henning Larsen Foundation, we haven’t been able to ignore the similarities between Leth & Gori and the practices of Henning Larsen himself; running a studio, a gallery (SKALA) and teaching,” added Ingvartsen. In a time where specialization and growth are in demand, but, unfortunately, also contributes to creating distance between practice, teaching, research and communication, the breadth and curiosity from which Leth & Gori’s work take its departure serve as inspiration for many, which the foundation wishes to honor and appreciation through this year’s award.”

      Read the full news story here. 

    • Previous Award Winners

      The Henning Larsen Foundation has, over the years, recognized many great talents in design and architecture.

      Josephine Michau, CAFx, Copenhagen Architecture Festival  

      Norrøn, Architects 

      International Competition about Architecture and Music
      1st Prize: Cristian Vogle: "The Bell Tower Seed"
      2nd Prize: Jakob Draminsky Højmark: "Yakushiji III"
      3rd Prize: Henrik José: "Swirley Bokeh"
      Listen to the compositions

      Architect Bente Lange
      Praksis Architects, Mette Tony and Mads Bjørn Hansen

      International Competition about Architecture and Film
      1st Prize: Cole Phoenix
      2nd Prize: Sam Renseiw
      3rd Prize: Barbara Bohr and Agapi Triantafillidis

      Architect Johnny Svendborg
      Architect Merete Lind Mikkelsen

      Architect Mette Lange
      Landscape architect Marianne Levinsen
      Architect Hans Peter Hagens

      International Competition for Writing about Architecture
      1st Prize: Nathan Romero Muelas
      2nd Prize: Daniel Persson
      3rd Prize: Sanne Flyvbjerg
      3rd Prize: Mette Marie Kallehauge
      3rd Prize: Tinne Delfs

      Journalist Henrik Sten Møller
      Architect Kjeld Kjeldsen

      Architectural photographer Jens Lindhe

      Architect Theo Berg

      International Competition about Drawing Architecture
      1st Prize: Robert Müller, Austria
      2nd Prize: Julian Busch, Germany
      3rd Prize: Julie Huang Jahn, Denmark
      3rd Prize: Barnabas Wetton and Chris Thurlbourne, Denmark
      3rd Prize: Clemens Helmke and Dorothée Billard, Germany

      International Competition for Photographing Architecture
      No 1st Prize winner
      2nd Prize: Michael Stefan Rathje-Sørensen, Denmark
      2nd Prize: Ditz Fejer, Austria
      3rd Prize: Nils Lund Pedersen, Denmark
      Honorary mention: Lars Gundersen, Denmark
      Honorary mention: Casper Balslev and Mads Nissen, Denmark

      Artist Jytte Rex

      Studio Force4: Andreas Lauesen, Christian Dalsdorf, Maja Asaa and Mikala Holme Samsøe

      Studio Kollision: Andreas Lykke-Olesen, Tobias Løssing and Rune Nielsen
      Architect Kent Martinussen
      Film director Nils Vest

      Architect Julien De Smedt

      Architect Dorte Mandrup-Poulsen
      Architect Merete Ahnfeldt-Mollerup

      Architect Bjarke Ingels

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