Topping-out ceremony for DTU Skylab with international scope

Friday 15 Nov 19


Nina Tolstrup
Project Manager
+45 51 15 74 01


Mikkel Sørensen
Head of DTU Skylab
+45 20 78 73 17

About the building project

Area: approx. 3,000 m2
Budget: DKK 99 million
Construction period: 2019-2020
Turnkey consultants: EKJ Rådgivende Ingeniører, Rørbæk & Møller Arkitekter 
Landscape: BOGL APS
Turnkey consultants: Rørbæk & Møller Arkitekter, EKJ Rådgivende Ingeniører
Landscape: BOGL APS
Client consultants: Rambøll Danmark, mtre aps, LMH International
Fixtures and fittings consultants: mtre aps, Urgent.Agency A/S
Primary contractor: NH Hansen & Søn A/S
DTU Skylab is being enlarged to three times its present in size, and will become the first sustainable-certified building at DTU.

On Wednesday, the DTU Skylab extension was celebrated with a topping-out ceremony that lived up to the saying ‘Reach for the sky’ which was written in large letters on the fencing. Two hundred tradesmen, contractors, DTU students, and employees gathered in a pavilion tent in the 3,000 m2 extension, which at the moment is nothing more than a raw concrete shell. Surrounded by clouds of smoke from the barbecue and to music being played through loudspeakers from the DTU start-up Kubell, speeches were made and thanks given for the DKK 80 million donation from the A. P. Møller Foundation’s Support Fund which has made it possible to realize the ambitious project.

“It has been a great pleasure to be involved in developing this project. You’re building an innovation environment at the highest international level, and you’re not afraid to pursue your own - and new - avenues to the outside world. You get a clear sense of this when visiting DTU Skylab, where there is a particularly vibrant and energetic environment - or ‘the vibe’ as you call it,” said the building’s architect Anders Wesley Hansen, a partner at Rørbæk & Moller Arkitekter.

Mikkel Sørensen, Head of DTU Skylab, thanked the tradesmen for having made a dream come true, and made a point of saying that employees and everyone using DTU Skylab has closely followed the construction process.

“It’s quite literally been built in our own backyard. So when the pneumatic drill started up at eight in the morning, it could be heard in the room on the other side of the wall. But it’s gone up in no time, and you’ve been incredibly efficient. And we’re really looking forward to moving in!” said Mikkel Sørensen.

Innovation and learning environment

"DTU is building an innovation environment at the highest international level, and you’re not afraid to pursue your own - and new - avenues to the outside world."
Anders Wesley Hansen, partner hos Rørbæk & Møller Arkitekter.

In his speech, Mikkel Sørensen took his audience on a journey into the new building, taking the pavilion which had been erected in DTU Skylab’s forthcoming ‘Arena’ as his starting point, an area that in future will house teaching facilities, courses and events.

Afterwards, guests were invited to turn their gaze upwards, where DTU Skylab’s business environment and office facilities will be installed. And finally, they looked towards the ground floor, where they were able to envisage DTU Skylab’s new technology maturation hall and the developer floor, with adjoining GMO labs and multilab, 3D print lab, and workshops.

These elements constitute the core of DTU Skylab according to Mikkel Sørensen. On the one hand it’s a vocational teaching environment, and on the other an innovation environment. Together, the approx. 5,000 m2 will open up even more opportunities for technology-based innovation.

Sustainability a top priority

In expanding DTU Skylab, DTU is setting the bar high for how the University wants to build sustainably in future. The new DTU Skylab building is the first to be certified in accordance with the DGNB Gold sustainability standard. In addition, certification at diamond level is possible because of the building’s high architectural standards. At the topping-out ceremony, the two certifications of the enlarged DTU Skylab were summarized in the expression ‘DTU’s green diamond’.

The construction work at DTU Skylab will continue until August 2020, when the building will be inaugurated and taken into operation.

Growing pains

The DTU Skylab innovation environment has grown significantly since its opening in 2014. A wealth of activities have been launched such as start-up coaching, innovation courses, pitch events, and hackathons, and today the level of interest is so great that DTU Skylab does not have the capacity to meet demand. In 2017, more than 500 prototypes were built in the DTU Skylab workshops, and more than 150 start-ups and pre-start-ups from primarily students received feedback and help. In addition to the students, innovation-oriented enterprises and researchers have shown an ever-increasing interest in being part of DTU Skylab’s innovation environment.