Daylight and fresh air can save local culture centres

By VELUX, July 04, 2012

Whilst worn-out cultural centres all over Europe are struggling to attract users, a local culture centre in the Nørrebro district of Copenhagen has tripled its user activity. Its success lies in focussing on daylight and fresh air in the renovation plan. Today the Centre has become a source of inspiration to visitors from all over the world.

From 300 to 1,000 users

Many of Europe’s 2,000 or so local culture centres are scraping by with minimal budgets and worn-out facilities. But one answer to their prayers could simply be improving their indoor climate. In Nørrebro, a renovation project centred on daylight and natural ventilation has breathed new life into the OSRAM Culture Centre and considerably improved its energy bill.

“We used to have real problems with the indoor climate of this old industrial building. That drove users away. So in 2009, we began a complete renovation,” says Birgitte Kortegaard, manager of the Municipality of Copenhagen project Haraldsgade Områdeløft – the organisation behind the OSRAM culture centre.

Later that same year, the rebuilding and refurbishing of the OSRAM culture centre was complete. Large roof windows with automatic ventilation provided masses of daylight and fresh air – and the effect on the indoor climate was felt immediately.

“Local residents were not slow in noticing the improvements. In fact, we saw an immediate renewed interest in the place. Before, the place was virtually empty until the evening on weekdays, but now the centre is buzzing with activity from early in the morning to late at night,” explains Birgitte Kortegaard.

Today, the OSRAM Culture Centre has more than 1,000 users a week, a 300 per cent improvement. The renovation has also improved energy efficiency, with the result that energy consumption per user has fallen dramatically.

Others could enjoy the same success

Project Manager Henrik Norlander Smith from the VELUX Group, one of the companies taking part in the renovation of the OSRAM Culture Centre, is not at all surprised at the boost in user activity.

“People everywhere are attracted to a room that has abundant daylight and a good indoor climate. We regarded improving those two factors as an essential step when we started planning the renovation. And they are quite definitely two of the most important reasons for the Centre’s resounding success,” explains Henrik Norlander Smith.

The OSRAM Culture Centre is now visited by architects and culture institutions from all over the world who want to see it for themselves and find inspiration for their own projects. Still Henrik Norlander Smith points out how important it is to take a holistic view and look at a building in its entirety if they want to achieve the same success. 

“All too often, we see a fixed focus on optimising a building’s energy consumption when a renovation is under consideration. But it is just as important to remember to ensure a good indoor climate, with ample and balanced daylight, and ventilation. If those factors are included in the project plan, I can see no reason why similar culture centres should not enjoy the same success as the OSRAM Culture Centre,” concludes Henrik Norlander Smith.


The OSRAM Culture Centre was originally built by OSRAM as office and storage space.

In the 1980s, the building was abandoned and has since been used for various cultural activities such as dancing, lectures and concerts.

As a part-project in Haraldsgade Områdeløft in 2009, the Municipality of Copenhagen commissioned the renovation of the Culture Centre. The result was a 300 per cent increase in user activity.

It is estimated that there are at least 2,000 similar culture centres in Europe, many of which are facing the same challenges as the OSRAM Culture Centre.

About the VELUX Group

The VELUX Group creates better living environments with daylight and fresh air through the roof. The VELUX product programme contains a wide range of roof windows and skylights, along with solutions for flat roofs. The Group also supplies many types of decoration and sun screening, roller shutters, installation products, products for remote control and thermal solar panels for installation in roofs.

The VELUX Group, which has manufacturing companies in 11 countries and sales companies in just under 40 countries, represents one of the strongest brands in the global building materials sector and its products are sold in most parts of the world. The VELUX Group has about 10,000 employees and is owned by VKR Holding A/S, a limited company wholly owned by foundations and family. For more details, visit


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Thomas Overholt Hansen

Media Relations Manager

The VELUX Group

Mobile: +45 20 59 74 09

E-mail: [email protected]

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