Olav de Linde: renewal and preservation go hand in hand

Property company Olav de Linde is especially well-known for its special approach to building transformations, for which it received the 2023 Developer Award. Read an interview with the company’s founder, Olav de Linde, who also talks about the Mindet office building in Aarhus.

Photo: Ejendomsselskabet Olav de Linde
The Olav de Linde Property Company was founded by Olav de Linde himself back in 1974.

For many years, the Olav de Linde Property Company has made a name for itself through its exciting, large-scale construction projects, especially in Aarhus. Here, the company has transformed former industrial and production buildings, bringing them into a new era as the need for attractive office space increases.

Over the years, Olav de Linde has renovated around 1,500 leaseholds. The transformations are carried out with great respect for the buildings' original cultural heritage and a focus on reusing materials as much as possible. The portfolio includes several projects at Mellemarmen in the port of Aarhus, Banegårdspladsen, the old chocolate factory Elvirasminde in Klostergade, office spaces in Frichsparken, Bazar Vest and now Mindet.

– "With our ongoing transformation of Mindet in Aarhus, we are trying to create a building that is vibrant most of the day. We want to preserve the old Aarhus and therefore also preserve the most important characteristics of the existing building. In addition, we are drawing on our stock of recycled building materials that fit into the building’s history, while adding something new," says Olav de Linde, founder and chair of Olav de Linde.

The work with building transformations has, among other things, resulted in the 2023 Danish Construction Client Award, one of the prestigious prizes at the Building Awards. The award is presented by the trade journal Licitationen in collaboration with Boligfonden Kuben. The jury called the property company “ahead of its time”.

In January 2024, Olav de Linde also received Realkredit Danmark and the industry network Byggesocietet’s newly founded award, The Green Lighthouse. He received the award for his systematic focus on the recycling of building materials and the transformation of old industrial, manufacturing and commercial properties.


Preserving a building’s characteristics

When Olav de Linde starts a new project, the work always begins with a thorough analysis of the building:

– "I tend to say that I talk to the building: what are its merits? What cultural heritage should be preserved? And what will we be able to use the building for afterwards? Usually, buildings are born with one use and then transformed for another use – and that requires new ways of thinking," says Olav de Linde, who adds:

– "It's important for us to preserve the building’s original look, shape and history. So once we’ve finished a transformation, it’s still clear that the building has had a different origin.

For the same reason, it's crucial to keep as many of the existing elements as possible."

The Olav de Linde Property Company therefore carefully selects the new materials to be used in a transformation project:

– "The appearance of new materials should be something we like, and they should blend in with the rest of the building. In addition, it's important that the materials have a long service life. We don't like to make frequent substitutions, and it doesn't make sense from a carbon perspective, either. That’s why materials must last at least 50 years," says Olav de Linde.

Photo: Erik Nord Arkitekter/Ejendomsselskabet Olav de Linde
At a height of 143 metres, the Mindet office tower will be a striking landmark in the Sydhavn district of Aarhus. Construction started in 2022 and is expected to be completed in 2027.

Mindet 6 as the workplace of the future

One current project is Mindet in Aarhus, which is under construction in the Sydhavn district. This is an industrial, waterfront area where Olav de Linde has already transformed several buildings on the adjacent Mellemarmen.

Mindet will consist of both an existing two-and-a-half storey building – a former grain warehouse from 1926 to be transformed – as well as a new high-rise tower measuring 143 metres. Together they will form an office complex with an associated urban space in the form of a rooftop garden on top of the existing building and a square at street level that forms the setting for 'the best workplace', as Olav de Linde describes it. At the same time, the space should be open to the public with plenty of life and experiences.

– "The ground floor becomes the lungs of the building – the space where you can breathe. It will consist of various speciality shops such as beer and wine bars, galleries, bakeries and cafés – offerings that appeal to most people. Cosy public areas will be created, both for visitors and for the up to 2,000 employees who will have their office spaces in Mindet," explains Olav de Linde.

The first floor will have around 2,500 square metres of exercise facilities with fitness equipment, yoga and pilates. On the second floor of the building, there will be access to the roof terrace with seating areas that include trees, plants and vegetable cultivation. There will also be orangeries here to spend time in.

Between the two floors there will be a mezzanine where healthcare professionals can have a clinic for physiotherapy, massage, etc.

To reach the office spaces, you can take the lift up the tower block for 360-degree views. Modern office landscapes and lounge areas will be created here – all with beautiful surfaces," says Olav de Linde:

– "For me, Mindet will be the most sublime office building. A building where you can make your wishes come true. You can start the day by buying a good breakfast, swing by the gym and then head into work. And customers or colleagues can enjoy a cup of coffee on the roof terrace in one of the greenhouses.

More exciting transformation projects in the portfolio

It's not just Mindet that stands out in Olav de Linde’s project portfolio. In 2022, the transformation of the old post office on Ankersgade 12 in Aarhus was completed, and the site is now open to the public with a gym, climbing centre, bakery, coffee roastery, retail store and office spaces.

The old chocolate factory Elvirasminde in Klostergade in Aarhus was also transformed from factory buildings to primarily office spaces, but also a gym, coffee bar and retail space.

The Olav de Linde Property Company is also behind several renovations in both Odense and Copenhagen, including the old steam turbine Victoria and the old grain warehouse on Havnegade 16 by Odense harbour, as well as Thomas B. Thrige’s former factories in Thrige Firkanten in Odense C with a mix of office spaces, café, bakery, gym, retail and housing.

About the Olav de Linde Property Company

  • The Olav de Linde Property Companywas founded by Olav de Linde in 1974 and is now one of the country’s leading properpty companies.
  • Its property portfolio comprises 521,031 square metres of leased space in operation and approximately 130,000 square metres under development in Aarhus, Odense and Copenhagen.
  • The company has over 100 employees in Aarhus, Odense and Copenhagen.
  • Olav de Linde specialises in transforming existing building stock into attractive commercial leases.

Examples of Troldtekt projects by Olav de Linde Property Company:

Troldtekt acoustic panels are one of the materials used by Olav de Linde Property Company in several transformed buildings, including the company’s own headquarters in Aarhus. Here you can see examples of some of the projects where Olav de Linde has used Troldtekt: