Celebrating 90 Years
This year marks a significant milestone as we celebrate 90 years of looking forward and implementing positive change. As we reflect on this occasion, we take great pride in tracing our organization’s rich history of important projects, events, and milestones since our foundation in 1933.
As we reflect on our history, we are reminded of the countless individuals who have contributed to our success. Their dedication, expertise, and passion have been instrumental in shaping our organization and driving us towards excellence. We are immensely proud of our team and grateful for their invaluable contributions.
Encouraging his son to become an engineer may be something he regretted, at least in a humorous way, seeing his poem entitled 1906 (being the year his son was born).
Vast changes have taken place since our foundation in 1933, but to appreciate how far we’ve come we want to look back at the history and philosophy which we were built upon and have since developed.
90 Years ago, in 1933, Steensen Varming was looking forward to working on our very first commission – the University of Copenhagen’s Library.
Shortly after our foundation, Steensen Varming started working with Niels Bohr to further develop the Niels Bohr Institute, as his fast-developing science required constant equipment and facility updates to his institute. Working with and for Niels Bohr had a significant impact on the company and resulted in precious know-how and many subsequent scientific research facilities commissions.
In the heart of Aarhus, Denmark, stands the Aarhus City Hall, a stunning masterpiece of functionalist architecture. The buildings striking design is the result of a fierce competition to secure the contract for its construction, won by the visionary architect Arne Jacobsen.
Jacobsen’s determination to win the bid was evident in his phone call to Jørgen Varming, where he demanded that Varming secure the vote of an engineer to the jury.
After the end of World War II, there was a surge in construction projects across Europe, as nations sought to rebuild their infrastructure and economies. In this context, Steensen Varming secured the first engineering commission outside of Denmark, hired by Irish architect Michael Scott to work on a project that involved providing engineering services for the Irish National Bus Terminal and Headquarters for Irish National Transport Authority. The project was significant as it was Ireland’s first major building construction in the post-war period.
Steensen Varming was well underway with its international expansion in the 1950s, but smaller local projects were no less special to the company. One such project was Varming’s House, a heritage-listed, humble yellow brick house located just north of Copenhagen that is celebrated for its iconic architecture and innovative engineering. One of the most notable features of Varming’s House is its air heating system, which was a groundbreaking innovation at the time of its construction and has been preserved to this day.
Encouraged by architects such as Sir Basil Spence, in 1957 Steensen Varming’s international expansion continued with the establishment of a London practice. This marked the beginning of a new era of growth and expansion with the first project undertaken by the London practice being the redevelopment of the old St. Thomas’ Hospital, a project on a major scale.
Steensen Varming was responsible for the design, documentation, contract administration, and supervision of all engineering services related to the St. Thomas’ Hospital redevelopment.
In 1964, Steensen Varming joined friend and renowned architect Arne Jacobsen in designing the St Catherine’s College in Oxford, England, providing mechanical and electrical engineering services while ensuring our designs aligned with Jacobsen’s vision for the building.
One of our most significant contributions to the project was the design of an innovative heating system that used hot water piped through concrete floors to provide radiant heating throughout the building. This approach represented a significant departure from traditional heating systems and enabled greater energy efficiency while providing more even heating throughout the college.