Johan Otto von Spreckelsen

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The Grande Arche in Puteaux - his best-known design.

Johan Otto von Spreckelsen (4 May 1929 — 16 March 1987) was a Danish architect, best known for designing the Grande Arche of La Défense in Puteaux, near Paris.

A modest man, he directed the creation of several modern churches in Denmark.


Spreckelsen's childhood home in Viborg

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.

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.

La Défense[edit]

His design won the international competition of the Grande Arche in Puteaux, France, as the French President François Mitterrand felt it was the best because of its 'purity and strength'. This work of 110 meters of height, which was inaugurated in 1989, two years after his death, used with remarkable ability the technology of its time, and was inspired by the nearby Arc de Triomphe.

The monument, located in the heart of the financial district of La Défense, is built of granite and of Carrara marble. From its terrace, it is possible to admire a panoramic view all along the Axe historique with the Arc de Triomphe, the Champs-Élysées, the Luxor Obelisk at the Place de la Concorde and the gardens of the Tuileries and the Louvre beyond.



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

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