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Karen and Ebbe Clemmensen’s family home

Home to the architect couple Karen and Ebbe Clemmensen, the house was built in 1953 and stands out among post-war residential architecture as an experimental and powerful personal vision of a modern single-family house.

Karen and Ebbe Clemmensen’s family home

The house was designed and built by architects Karen and Ebbe Clemmensen in 1953 as a combined home and drawing office. The three-floor property stands on a gently sloping plot with views over the protected area of Hundesømose in Gentofte Municipality.

The house was built as a government-subsidized house, but was allowed to exceed the normal size limit for such properties of 130 m2 because the almost 200 m2 property includes a working space, the couple’s shared drawing office.

The Clemmensen’s house is exceptional because:

The house exhibits a remarkable artistic intensity in its design and the way it plays with unity, details and colours, and stands out among post-war residential architecture as an experimental, yet grounded, vision of a modern single-family house.

The use of colour is exceptionally well thought out. The entrance area and the garage are lavishly painted in yellow shades with grey, black and the occasional red stripe, which combine to form a Mondrianesque pattern. The same pattern is repeated on the wall of the kitchen bordering the dining area, where pastel yellow, black, grey and turquoise blocks of colour boldly reference Piet Mondrian’s contemporary, abstract paintings.

This is a house with a profoundly personal design, and an expression of a highly informal approach to architecture. It achieves this through its honest and simple combination of rustic, modest and inexpensive materials. The building’s unorthodox architecture is a conscious backlash against the period’s more formal conception of architecture, with influences from international modernism.

Photo credit: Mike Syke

Photo credit: Mike Syke

Architect/builder:

Architects Karen and Ebbe Clemmensen

Year of construction:

1953

Geography:

North of Copenhagen

Style and period:

Modernism

Gallery

Watch the movie about Karen and Ebbe Clemmensen’s family home