August 11, 2021

Denmark’s Klimatorium: A Seaside International Climate Centre

Kathryn Shanks
Denmark’s Klimatorium: A Seaside International Climate Centre
In the port town of Lemvig, Denmark, a new climate research centre stokes hope and inspiration.

Designed by architectural firms 3XN and SLA Aarhus, the Klimatorium is a striking building on Lemvig’s harbour front. The climate hub, which is also concerned with storm surge and water research, rises above the rocky shoreline with a commanding presence, seemingly situating itself in strong defiance against rising seas.

The most eye-catching feature of the Klimatorium is its inbuilt wooden wave, which appears carved into the side of the building with a natural wooden finish. The horizontal slats form a curved alcove that reaches above the centre’s main entrance and provides external seating, with the bottom of the wave doubling as a bench. This lightly toned wave stands in contrast to the building’s remaining façade, where glass makes up the ground floor and dark vertical slats form a starkly defined cube for the upper floor. The glass exterior below piques the curiosity of passers-by and gives the illusion of a floating second floor, perhaps a vessel riding the wooden wave that bisects the building – an homage to the town’s ship-building past.


The simple, elegant design feels at home on the harbour, with a rustic-yet-contemporary atmosphere underscored by the natural materials and well considered landscaping. As a seaside hub, the centre needed flood defences that wouldn’t block access to the sea – a quandary solved by landscape architectural firm SLA Aarhus’s inclusion of a jetty. The nearby Climate Corridor gives visitors a microclimate to wander through, demonstrating the centre’s research, while native coastal species thrive across the Klimatorium site. Nearby, trees shelter a water playground, a parkour area, and a multi-purpose sports court, integrating the centre into the local community with ease.

The Klimatorium is set to engage in the most important research questions of our time, and both architectural firms involved in the project, 3XN and SLA Aarhus, endeavoured to demonstrate the centre’s ethos and aims in the building and its surrounds. This means that although the port is ‘one of the places where the climate challenges are felt and seen’, it now also features a beacon for hope in climate research and solutions, making a visible statement to inspire visitors and residents alike.

If you liked this article, you might like to read our feature on the Zheshui Natural Library, a community library built against the mountainside. 

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