Winds of change at Næstved harbour

From a distance, the appearance is that of a sharply dynamic building - as you move closer, you notice its surprising and beautiful details. A building that prompts comment.

Troldtekt, Max Bank
Photo: Helene Høyer Mikkelsen, architect MAA

Glass façades with text, raw concrete and airy rooms. Simple and straightforward – but far from dull. Max Bank in Næstved has a new domicile, while also having kick-started developments at Næstved harbour. With a six-storey glass building sited at the entrance to the harbour, both the town and the bank’s employees have a new landmark. The firm of architects Juul Frost Arkitekter drew up the master plan for one side of the harbour entrance, with the construction of the Max Bank domicile marking the start of urban development along the harbour front. Having prepared the master plan, the architects possess in-depth knowledge of the area’s qualities and what it would take to accentuate the character of the site. The local plan suggested materials and dimensions that closely resembled the existing building, Kanalgården, which was built in 1882 as a poorhouse and used more recently as a shelter for the poor. However, inspired by the harbour-related architecture in the area, the architects successfully modernised the project by selecting materials and an architectural style which means that the Max Bank domicile has become synonymous with the renewal of Næstved’s identity from within.

Three buildings in one
The project is rather unusual in that a new six-storey glass building is connected with the historical building Kanalgården via a simple foyer construction through which you enter the ‘complex’. In light of its location close to the town, Kanalgården’s new function means that, architecturally, it represents a transition to the ‘high-rise’ building, with glass façades overlooking both the street and the harbour.
As part of the project, Kanalgården has been carefully restored with close attention being paid to the many façade details, and with one façade now enclosed by the glass foyer. Here, the brickwork of the old building works well in the otherwise airy room. Beautiful, round skylights in this interconnecting building elegantly supplement the daylight and are interesting elements in the roof surface when viewed from above from the new main building. Max Bank’s reception will be housed in the interconnecting building next to the entrance, with offices in both Kanalgården and the six-storey main building. The six floors feature an almost uniform layout with a raw concrete spine against which all installations and smaller rooms are gathered and with concrete columns in the rest of the façade, giving the windows free run. The office floors are elongated rooms which, as can seen from the outside, are angled in such a way as to create interesting and varied spaces that facilitate the establishment of smaller rooms and areas. Glass cubes for meetings and single offices offer further possibilities for creating smaller units.

Dynamic architecture with comfort a priority
For Juul Frost Arkitekter, it was important that the offices were pleasant, high-ceilinged rooms which afforded good acoustics and all-round comfort. Thus, Troldtekt panels have been installed throughout all three building sections, ensuring greater coherence, which is further enhanced by the edge-on parquet flooring. A perfect solution for Max Bank’s employees. Together with the raw concrete elements, the materials convey a sense of simplicity and robustness which suits this industry-inspired architecture. For Juul Frost Arkitekter, the choice of materials has involved rediscovering a sense of originality and rawness with its own aesthetics and identity.

Creative solutions on all scales
Max Bank is a place that continues to surprise. From the patently oblique solutions – to the carefully considered functional solutions which are perhaps not as obvious. The Troldtekt acoustic panels enabled several wishes to be fulfilled, for example the desire for an energy-economical building, good acoustics and well-proportioned ceilings in the offices. The lighting in all the rooms was also important, as well as the authenticity and inherent aesthetics of the materials. Like the raw concrete elements with their unpredictability, a quality which is currently very popular.

The building’s façade also boasts an unusual degree of dynamism. The crystalline shape means that light determines how the building looks, constantly varying in the course of each day. Signage in connection with the bank was not possible, and the architects therefore suggested placing text on the back of the glass with words taken from the world of finance. The text is not visible from a distance or from certain oblique angles, but suddenly becomes very apparent, for example at the entrance. In effect it tells people that this is a building which encourages curiosity and enquiry.