The SAS Royal Hotel (now Radisson Collection Royal Hotel), completed in 1960, was Copenhagen’s first high-rise. The building was designed by Arne Jacobsen as a hotel and air terminal for the airline company SAS and is now regarded as one of Arne Jacobsen’s principal works.
Together, the precise, minimalist architecture and the detailed total design he created for the building’s interior form one of the ultimate expressions of Arne Jacobsen’s modern aesthetic.
Earlier this year, the current owner presented plans for a renovation of the building’s exterior. With an opinion piece in the Danish newspaper Politiken on 2 September 2023, American architect Michael Sheridan, the author of the comprehensive book about the SAS building Room 606, ignited an important public debate about the need to preserve the exterior of this iconic work of architecture.
As descendants of Arne Jacobsen, we are encouraged by the many who have joined the public debate with calls for a respectful renovation of the SAS hotel – not least Kjeld Vindum, co-author of the 1998 book Arne Jacobsen and architect and professor MSO at the Royal Danish Academy, Institute of Architecture and Culture, and Christoffer Harlang, architect and professor at the same Institute.
The renovation plans have now been put on hold, and a proposal to grant the building ‘listed’ status is under consideration. It is our hope that the SAS building will be legally protected, and that the exterior renovation will preserve its unique design qualities and thus protect one of Arne Jacobsen’s most significant works of architecture – and a Copenhagen landmark.