DTU Diplom, Ballerup

Forward-thinking and flexible architecture that supports the university’s needs and number of students.




Ballerup, Denmark


1985 – 1996




45,000 m²


Ministry of Education


Landscape: Svend Kierkegaard

In 1985, PLH Arkitekter won 1st prize in an invited competition to design the Copenhagen Technical College for the Ballerup College of Engineering - now DTU Diplom. The building, covering 45,000 m2, was built in four stages from 1988 to 1996.

Approx. 3,000 students attend 17 different diploma engineering programs at the university. The vision behind the design was to gather all students under one roof and create coherence and cohesion across the programs. The result was a robust and flexible building that has been able to keep up with the times and the number of students. DTU Diplom was designed in such a flexible and forward-thinking manner that the university has not made any major alterations in its lifetime.

Ballerup Municipality’s Building Award

In 1997, the university received the Building Award from Ballerup Municipality,

“The Copenhagen University College of Engineering is awarded for its development plan, which in a distinguished way utilizes the site’s terrain and view potential. The buildings appear harmonious and varied and are shaped in a human-friendly scale of solid constructions and materials.”

Søren Mølbak
T: +45 2720 0591

A large artistic chandelier hangs in the library, which is inspired by Rutherford and Bohr’s atomic model. The three rings of the chandelier with 60 halogen lamps symbolize the electron orbits.

A bright and architecturally exciting library
Centrally located at the university is the library, which is designed as a cylindrically shaped rotunda with a dome. The library rises above the rest of the university, almost like a landmark. The shape has created interesting surrounding areas. These areas are often used by students for group work, to concentrate and to hold informal touchdown meetings.

To create a good study environment with optimal light conditions for reading and concentration, windows are placed all around the dome, allowing for copious amounts of daylight in the room. The architecture is inspired by Stockholm City Library, designed by famous Swedish architect Gunnar Asplund.

Sustainable and aesthetic materials

Emphasis is placed on robustness and aesthetics in the architecture and choice of materials. The interior walls of the foyer are built of brick, and the floor is covered with natural stone to withstand the intense use.

The university’s exterior facades consist of a mix of shiny and scrubbed masonry panels, which go directly into the ground. This design contributes to the university’s bombastic expression, and it appears as though the building emerges out of the hilly terrain.

Nature and daylight are drawn into the building

The university is in hilly surroundings at Ballerup Sømose. By turning the five buildings 45 degrees, all lecture rooms have a direct view of the scenic area. This architectural idea brings nature and daylight into the building and creates nine exciting courtyards.

Art - an integral part of architecture and wayfinding

In addition to laboratories, experiment rooms, classrooms and group rooms, auditoriums, canteen, library, bookstore, reception, fitness, offices, lounge and focus areas, the university also houses several unique works of art. The art serves as a wayfinding for the students and staff.

The four artists behind the decorations are: Torben Ebbesen, Henrik Pryds Beck, Peter Brandes and Steffen Tast.

Foto 2019

Foto 1990

Foto 1990

Foto 2019