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.

Where It All Began
Before Our Foundation
Before our foundation in 1933, Kristoffer Nyrop Varming (1865-1936), one of the Royal Danish Architects of the day, played a vital role in our establishment: Being worried that his son Jørgen would end up playing the cello in jazz clubs all his life, Kristoffer sent him to England to do an engineering degree.

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).

New Copenhagen University Library
The University of Copenhagen's Library
Our First Commission

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.

A Great Source of Inspiration
The Niels Bohr Institute

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.

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A Collaboration with Arne Jacobsen
Aarhus City Hall

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.

The Beginning of an International Expansion
First Commission in Ireland

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.

Innovative Solutions Continue
Varming's House

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.

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A UK Practice is Established
St. Thomas' Hospital

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.

A High Profile Commission
St. Catherine's College

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.

A Landmark of Innovation and Artistry
Herlev Hospital

Healthcare has always been an important focus of our work, today and in the past.

While our international expansion in the mid-60s was growing more rapidly than ever before, Steensen Varming always stayed well connected to the Danish roots.  In 1965, construction of Herlev Hospital commenced, a project that came to span over a decade. Steensen Varming played a pivotal role providing planning and briefing advice during the early stages with expertise extending to design documentation, contract administration and site supervision ensuring flawless execution of mechanical, hydraulic, fire protection, communication and control systems.

Cooling Air with Water
Sydney Opera House

By the 1970s Steensen Varming had expanded beyond European borders as the Sydney Opera House brought the company to Australia, where we left a lasting impact on this iconic landmark. Collaborating closely with Danish architect Jorn Utzon, Steensen Varming pushed boundaries of engineering excellence and sustainability while staying committed to aesthetic integrity.

By utilising Sydney harbour’s plentiful water to provide cool air, we enabled the iconic silhouette to remain unit–free – a ground-breaking initiative on a world scale and at the largest system of its kind, making the Opera House a shining example of sustainable design.

The largest public building construction in the U.K. during the twentieth century
The British Library

In 1973, the planning, design, and documentation phase of the architectural project for the New British library began. Steensen Varming took on the responsibility of providing engineering services for the 200.000 square metre building complex. This architectural masterpiece was meticulously crafted to consolidate the various components of the British Library, providing a centralized space capable of accommodating approximately 3500 readers, 2500 staff members, and a considerable number of visitors.

The primary objective behind this project was to create an environment which was specifically designed to safeguard and preserve the invaluable collection of 25 million volumes of books and documents, housed in the largest building in England.