Revisiting Carlsberg Byen

Last updated: 22 Feb 2018

Yesterday we explored the area between Toftegårds Alle and Gamle Carlsberg Vej in Valby, just outside the grounds of the former brewery. Walking along Banevolden, an elevated path running parallel to the railway line, the influence of the Carlsberg dynasty becomes ever stronger, for which read, not least, money. This led me to wonder how far the area, despite appearances, is residential. Some of the houses, particularly on Bjerregårdsvej and Antoinettevej, are stunning, although newer buildings have snuck in here and there:

buildings on Antoinettevej and Bjerregårdsvej

two houses on Antoinettevej flanking the location of the home of DASK, Denmark’s first computer, on Bjerregårdsvej

It turns out that several buildings here and on the surrounding streets have been bought by Edlund A/S, a firm of IT consultants cum actuaries. The area is almost an Edlund campus, although in order to conform with local plan requirements most have a residential component. We thought Bjerregård itself, the original farmhouse, was a museum – turns out its Erling E’s house. Sorry!

Two houses facing each other at the end of Bjerrgårdsvej are particularly interesting. Built in historicist style, Frans Schwartz’ house and Onkel Toms Hytte (Uncle Tom’s Cabin) both have a half-timbered appearance and an unlikely selection of ornamentation, including elephant heads on the former and dragons on the latter. Both were restored by Edlund in 2010.

Frans Schwartz' house (1884)

Frans Schwartz’ house (1884), designed by Hans Jørgen Holm, a leading proponent of National Romantic style

Onkel Toms Hytte, the slighter of two, dates from 1905. At that time it stood at the entrance to the harbour near Østerport station and housed a corner shop, but had to make way one hundred years later for an extension of the railway tracks. It was saved from being torn down by a campaign led by architect Michael Varming from Foreningen til Hovedstadens Forskønnelse (lit: Association for the Beautification of the Capital), who I’ve not come across before but who sound splendid.

In the same eclectic style is the nearby Jesuskirken (Jesus Church), erected in 1891 by Carl Jacobsen (for whom the berg was named) as a mausoleum for his family. Designed by Vilhelm Dahlerup, responsible for most of the turn of the century architecture in Copenhagen it seems, the church boasts a campanile decorated with swastikas and a troll statue.

Jesuskirken (1891)

Jesuskirken (1891); the troll is just out of shot

Could you get much further from Danish minimalism?

Sources: Politiken; Valby før og nu on Bjerregård, Frans Schwartz’ hus and Onkel Toms Hytte (FB), all with lots of lovely old pictures.

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