Vilhelm Lauritzen was a Danish architect and designer whose work significantly contributed to the development of modern architecture and design in Denmark. Lauritzen was born on September 9, 1894, in Slagelse, Denmark, to a family with a strong interest in engineering and architecture. His father was a civil engineer, and his grandfather was an architect.
Lauritzen was educated at the Royal Danish Academy of Fine Arts in Copenhagen, where he graduated with a degree in architecture in 1921. During his studies, Lauritzen was exposed to the classical style of architecture, which emphasized ornate details and decorative elements. However, Lauritzen was more interested in the emerging modernist movement, which advocated for the use of simple forms and materials.
After graduation, Lauritzen worked for several architectural firms in Copenhagen, including Poul Holsøe's studio. It was during this time that he became interested in the functionalist style of architecture, which emphasized the use of simple forms and materials to create efficient and functional buildings. Lauritzen's interest in functionalism would become a defining characteristic of his work.
In 1924, Lauritzen founded his own architectural firm, Vilhelm Lauritzen Arkitekter, which quickly became one of the most successful architectural firms in Denmark. Lauritzen's early projects included several functionalist-style apartment buildings, which were notable for their clean lines, simple forms, and efficient use of space.
One of Lauritzen's most famous designs was the Copenhagen Airport, which he designed in collaboration with fellow architect Ole Falkentorp. The airport, which opened in 1939, was one of the first modern airports in the world and was praised for its innovative design and functionality. The airport's terminal building was characterized by its simple, clean lines and large windows that provided ample natural light.
In addition to his work on the airport, Lauritzen designed several other important buildings in Denmark, including the Daells Varehus department store in Copenhagen and Radiohuset, which served as the headquarters of the Danish Broadcasting Corporation. His designs were marked by their simplicity, functionality, and use of high-quality materials.
Lauritzen's work was also influenced by his interest in industrial design. He designed furniture, lighting fixtures, and other household items, many of which are still in production today. His designs were characterized by their elegant, modernist style and emphasis on functionality.
Lauritzen received numerous awards and honors throughout his career, including the Eckersberg Medal in 1949 and the Prince Eugen Medal in 1956. He was also elected to the Royal Danish Academy of Fine Arts in 1937 and served as a professor of architecture at the academy from 1942 to 1961.
Lauritzen retired from his architectural practice in 1968 and died on December 22, 1984, in Copenhagen, Denmark. His legacy continues to be celebrated today, and his designs remain influential in the fields of architecture and design. His commitment to functionalism and the use of simple forms and materials has had a lasting impact on modern architecture and design in Denmark and beyond.