Johan Otto von Spreckelsen

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Spreckelsen' childhood home in Viborg (photo: Lars Schmidt)

Johan Otto von Spreckelsen (May 4, 1929—March 16, 1987) was a Danish architect.

He was born in Viborg and studied at the Viborg Katedralskole and Royal Academy of Arts in Copenhagen, and later served as director up to his death.

He directed the creation of several modern churches in Denmark, Vangede Kirke near Copenhagen (1974), Stavnsholt Kirke at the city of Farum (1981) and the two Roman Catholic churches in Esbjerg and Hvidovre both consecrated to Saint Nicholas. His best known work however is the Grande Arche at La Défense in Paris.

He was a modest man, who once in an interview declared that he was an architect who built three churches and one Arch. He relied heavily on simple geometrical figures, especially the quadrant, which can be seen in his churches, in the interior decorations even of church organs.

The Grande Arche in Paris

His design won the international competition of the Grande Arche in Paris, France, because the French President François Mitterrand felt it was the best because of its 'purity and strength'. This work of 110 meters of height was inaugurated in 1989, two years after his death, uses with remarkable ability the technology of our times and is inspired by the nearby Arc de Triomphe. The monument is located in the heart of the financial district of La Défense and is built of granite and of Carrara marble. From its terrace it is possible to admire a panoramic view all along the Champs-Élysées with the Arc de Triomphe, the obelisk at the Place de la Concorde and the gardens of the Tuilleries and the Louvre beyond.

Source[edit]

  • Torben Weirup (ed.): Det Åbne Vindue, et essay om arkitekten Johan Otto von Spreckelsen, without place, 2003, ISBN 87-985316-3-8