Dorte Mandrup is a team of die-hard overachievers. Striving towards the ultimate synthesis, we combine our firm grasp on reality with a knack for dreaming out loud – delivering the know-how to solidify ideas.
About the studio
With Founder and Creative Director Dorte Mandrup firmly at the wheel, our international team of 70 die-hard overachievers drive headfirst into complex architectural tasks armed with unconditional curiosity and an undying love for the process of finding an original take.
Driven by a devout belief in the possibilities of modern architecture and an experimental curiosity that insists on outstanding craftmanship – our team combines a firm grasp on reality with a knack for dreaming out loud.
Always striving to perfect the art of listening and understanding the bigger picture, we consider it our greatest responsibility to transform ideas into great, buildable design.
Originating from a background in sculpture and ceramics, Dorte Mandrup’s approach to architecture has always been ‘hands on’. Shape and form constitute the company ethos - to create spaces which are aesthetically pleasing, contextually relevant, and invite people to engage.
Dorte Mandrup graduated from the Aarhus School of Architecture, Denmark in 1991. She founded her Copenhagen based studio in 1999 where she continues to be Creative Director. Her design philosophy and artistic yet systematic mindset permeates the entire office as she is design responsible in all projects.
As a humanist with a distinct nonconformist outlook, Dorte Mandrup is well known for her commitment to the development of the architectural practice and her frequent participation in public debates. Receiving national and international acclaim for her work, in 2018 Dorte headlined at the curated international exhibition at La Biennale di Venezia.
Alongside her appointed role as Chair of the prestigious Mies van der Rohe Award 2019, Dorte is Vice Chairman of the Louisiana Museum of Modern Art, member of the Historic Buildings Council in Denmark, Adjunct Professor at The Royal Danish Academy of Fine Arts and holds frequent visiting professorships abroad, this year at Cornell University College of Architecture, Art, and Planning.
Areas of expertise
We have specialized in creating iconic buildings spanning geography, function and scale. Our forte lays in designing for complex and challenging sites – and doing so with an insightfulness that addresses environmental and societal issues.
Most of our work is found in the world of landmarks, transformations, mixed use buildings and education & workspace.
The art of the successful transformation lies somewhere between the past and the future. When faced with the task of transforming – or adding to – an existing building, Dorte Mandrup immerses itself in a process of analyzing existing structures and function, and in researching future needs and desires. Somewhere in the middle – in the present – lies the potential for innovation, whether it be found by stripping down to a fundamental, original structure or by preserving an idea or a quality.
Education & Workspace
Creating a well-functioning workspace or a learning environment is nothing short of a gigantic, architectural jigsaw puzzle. The Dorte Mandrup approach is a balanced diet of listening and challenging: listening to and acknowledging the intricate patterns of workflow and user activities, while challenging the presumptions and traditional ideas of what a workplace or learning environment is. Gathering and processing large amounts of data, visualizing a framework for human behaviour and taking the identity and brand of the client into consideration, are all prerequisites for a successful result. A real-life 3D jigsaw puzzle of epic proportions!
Complexity! Is a keyword in understanding the process behind architectural projects classified as Mixed Use. Complexity sums up the experience of designing a solution that accommodates all the specific needs and desires of diverse target groups, whose only common ground may be the physical site on which they reside. Combining housing, shops and public spaces is no small feat and requires in-depth analysis and a capacity for diversified solutions. Dorte Mandrup has many years of experience dealing with mixed use projects and is the go-to office for complicated assignments.
Culture & Landmarks
We used to affectionately refer to these projects as our supermodels – thereby acknowledging that all buildings are born equal, but some seem to be more equal than others. Culture & Landmarks are those projects that we simply HAVE to do; projects that beckon us and pull at our artistic heartstrings, whether it is the assignment or the place that requires something out of the ordinary. Stemming from humanistic values, we relish designing spaces that endorse cultural activity and working on cultural heritage sites such as UNESCO. Some landmark and cultural projects quickly reveal themselves in the conceptional phase, whereas others develop over time in public opinion – but all with artistic validity and originality at the core of their being.
Selected Awards & Distinctions
Chairwoman of the Jury, European Union Prize for Contemporary Architecture – Mies van der Rohe Award
"CONDITIONS" in exhibition at the curated 16th International Architecture Exhibition, La Biennale di Venezia, Italy
Honorary Grant, Statens Kunstfonds (The Danish Arts Foundation), Denmark
Finn Juhl Architecture Award 2018, Wilhelm Hansen Fund, Denmark
Breeam Building of the year, Sweden Green Building Awards 2017, IKEA Hubhult Global Meeting Centre, Sweden
The Art, Design and Architecture Award of the Year, Dir. Einar Hansen and wife Vera Hansen Foundation, International
Green Good Design Award, The Chicago Athenaeum, Chicago
Hæderslegat (Honorary Award), Danmarks Nationalbanks Jubilæumsfond af 1968 (Danish National Bank Jubilee Fund), Denmark
WAN Metal in Architecture Award 2016, Salling Tower, Denmark
TRÄPRISET (Swedish Timber Prize), Råå Preschool, Sweden
WAN Best Mixed-Use Building Award 2015, Sundbyøster Hall II, Denmark
German Design Council - ICONIC Award 2015: "Architecture - Public with distinction", Råå Preschool, Sweden
Gröna Lansen 2015, IKEA Hubhult Global Meeting Centre, Sweden
WAN Education Award, Amager Children's Culture House, Denmark
AIT Award, Amager Children's Culture House, Denmark
"Store Arne" Award, Danish Association of Architects, Munkegaard School, Denmark
C.F.Hansen Medaillen (The C.F. Hansen Medal), Denmark
Nykredits Arkitekturpris (The Nykredit Architecture Prize), Scandinavia
Grant, Hans Kongelige Højhed Prinsgemalens Fond (HRH Prince Consort of Denmark Foundation), Denmark
Eckersberg Medaillen (The Eckersberg Medal), Denmark
Direktør N. Bang og Hustru Camilla Bangs Legat (Director N. Bang and Camilla Bang Grant), Denmark
Dreyers Fonds Hæderspris (The Dreyer Foundation - Honorary Award), International
Bauwelt-Preis (Bauwelt Award), Neighbourhood Centre, Jemtelandsgade, Denmark
Træprisen (Danish Wood Award), Denmark
How we work
As a result of Dorte Mandrup’s educational background in sculpture and natural science, the studio’s method is defined by a formal restlessness that materializes in deep, contextual analysis and explorative prototyping. This preoccupation with exploring sculptural and material qualities of architecture leads to artful, intriguing spaces. Spaces that foreground their environment and the conditions from which they arise.
Our understanding of context goes above and beyond mere observation and towards an inquisitive, open, and highly subjective interpretation of all accessible facts, figures and feelings. With a steadfast integrity and a tenacious approach to quality, the result is classical yet contemporary architecture characterized by a pragmatic sensibility and contextual cohesion.
Only if clients and partners alike share the highest level of architectural ambition, are we successful in creating extraordinary architecture. Only when we share courage and patience to explore and experiment. That is why we choose our projects carefully. That is why we choose our clients carefully.
In the end, the extraordinary requires nerve.