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A rural skyscraper for Denmark

A rural skyscraper for Denmark

When we think of the world’s tallest buildings, we tend to imagine the skylines of the biggest cities. The Shard and 22 Bishopsgate in London and the Commerzbank Tower in Frankfurt are all iconic – but something new and unusual is coming to usurp their status as the tallest buildings in Western Europe: a rural skyscraper.

With a population of 7,000, the town of Brande is not where you would expect to find a 307.5 metre tower, especially a ‘skinny skyscraper’ of the sort that have been springing up around Manhattan’s Central Park. In contrast, Brande is located in the countryside of Jutland, Denmark.

However, what Brande lacks in size it makes up for in money. The town is home to Bestseller, one of the world’s leading clothing companies, owned by Anders Holch Povlsen who is Denmark’s richest man. If that status doesn’t put Brande on the map, the approval of Bestseller Tower surely will.

Designed by Danish architects Dorte Mandrup Arkitekter, Bestseller Tower will be just over 10 metres taller than the Shard, although it will fall short of the Lakhta Tower in St. Petersburg which is over 150 metres taller still.

The design includes a hotel, conference centre, shops and offices which will make up a village-style complex around the base. In addition, though the tower is designed to be “climate positive” in line with Bestseller’s sustainability drive, it is hard to see how building a new skyscraper in the middle of unbroken countryside can improve the climate – but we will await more details on that front.

"The plan is born out of a passion and interest for architecture and a vision of creating a unique building that matches the unique setup of a rethought headquarters," said Anders Krogh, project manager at Bestseller.

The local response to Bestseller Tower has been surprisingly positive considering that it is located in the flat part of the country and will be visible from 60km away in all directions. In part, this can be attributed to Bestseller’s status as a major local employer and the heart of Brande.

“It’s hard to find anybody here who is opposed to the tower. Everybody thinks it’s a fantastic idea, and me too,” says Morten Dickmann, a reporter for the local newspaper. “The Danish news media tried hard to find someone opposed, but they couldn’t find anyone.”

Indeed, most opposition comes from Copenhagen where a satirical newspaper argued that it resembles the tower of Sauron, the villain from fantasy classic The Lord of the Rings.

However, this general state of tranquillity is unlikely to last. Skyscrapers stir up enough resentment in the middle of cities, let alone ones standing proud in the countryside. It seems likely that more vocal protests will arise once the reality sets in – that is, when people used to a rural lifestyle realise that they won’t be able to take a walk in the woods anymore without being loomed over by urban modernity.

It is an impressive tower, and a bold project, but we have probably not seen the last of Bestseller Tower in the news.

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