Inquisitive and dedicated woodworker honoured

With his penchant for construction and wood, strong developmental drive and unique professionalism, Lauritz Rasmussen has worked for 30 years making prefabricated wooden elements into central building components in modern construction. In November, he received the Building Component Award 2019 for his dedicated and tenacious work.

 

From building his own furniture in his parents' carpentry workshop to his 25 years as Managing Director at Taasinge Elementer, Rasmussen has expanded the horizons of what can be built in wood today.

Over the years, he has refined the production of wooden roof and facade elements and made it possible to build everything from detached houses to high-rise buildings with wooden elements that are at once prefabricated, customised and energy-efficient.

Among other things, Rasmussen has moved the production of wooden elements into controlled factory settings, where the use of energy, resources and costs has been reduced and the possibilities of building with wood have been expanded and refined.

Bjarne Graabæk Thomsen, Chair of the Nominations Committee, had the following to say with regard to the reasons for awarding the Building Components Award to Rasmussen:

"Lauritz Rasmussen has made wood an increasingly useful and important element in construction. Both in relation to sustainability and the possibilities of using wood in new contexts, he has, through industrialisation, set new standards so that wood is no longer just a supplementary element, but a primary one. It is because of Lauritz Rasmussen's curiosity and dedication that we can today use wood as a building component in such a diverse and complex range of buildings as we do."

About Lauritz Rasmussen

Born into a five-generation carpentry business, Lauritz Rasmussen has had a fascination with the many properties of wood since childhood. It is this fascination that has led him from his parents' workshop to a 25-year career at Taasinge Elementer.

Between the workshop and Taasinge Elementer, Rasmussen also gained a PhD in sandwich constructions, or the 'zero-energy elements' used to build the 'zero-energy house' at the Technical University of Denmark (DTU). Today, Rasmussen is a senior advisor for Taasinge Elementer and runs the company LR-Consult.

New possibilities for wood

Lauritz Rasmussen's dedicated and innovative work can be seen, among other places, in the elegant roof shapes of the Bispebjerg Bakke building in Copenhagen's Northwest Quarter, designed by the artist Bjørn Nørgaard. Rasmussen and Taasinge Elementer were among the first in Denmark to make use of digital design in the construction industry. And by combining Kerto wood with specially laminated plywood it became possible to manufacture double-curved elements industrially, which meant greater savings, shorter production time and a better product.

Rasmussen had the following to say with regard to the background to the many achievements of his career:

“I have always been blessed with talented staff and I have never turned down new challenges. I also believe I can attribute a large part of the success that my colleagues and I have had in moving wooden elements as a building component into new contexts to my technical background. Right from the construction of Denmark's first three and four-storey wooden houses, having an understanding of wood's physical construction properties on both a practical and a theoretical level has been an invaluable anchor for me. I have been able to draw on that when we have had to find solutions for completely new challenges in the production and use of wooden elements in construction."

An exemplary contribution

Rasmussen's dedicated work in allowing the many possibilities of wood to come to fruition in widely applicable building elements is precisely the kind of exemplary contribution that the VILLUM FONDEN and VELUX FONDEN aim to honour through the Building Component Award.

And it was a very proud and happy Lauritz Rasmussen who received the Award:

"I am immensely grateful for the recognition that comes with this Award and the attention it will help to draw to the many opportunities that wooden elements have to offer as an industrialised building component. By optimising the production of wooden components, we have been able to customise complex and flexible components for Danish construction architecture. That is work for which I am proud to receive the Building Component Award."

Building components that make a difference

Villum Kann Rasmussen founded the VILLUM FONDEN and the VELUX FONDEN on the basis of his indefatigable and innovative work on building components. These include the VELUX roof window, his most well-known building component. It is precisely the legacy of Villum Kann Rasmussen's work that the two foundations aim to propagate through the Building Component Award, which rewards a special contribution to industrialised building components every second year.

Bjarne Graabæk Thomsen, Chair of the Nominations Committee, had the following to say with regard to the role of the award:

"With the Award, we want to shine a spotlight on very special contributions relating to building components that create added value in everyday life, on the construction site or the drawing board, whether they improve production, develop an individual component or expand its use. In other words, it is those very special, passionate achievers who, with great dedication and persistence, create quality through their work that the Award aims to recognise."

The building component award

The Building Component Award is awarded by the VILLUM FONDEN and the VELUX FONDEN. The Award is given to one or more persons who have made a special contribution to the value, importance and practical application of industrially manufactured building components in everyday life.

The Award is given out every second year and is worth DKK 100,000.

The Foundations were founded by Villum Kann Rasmussen, who started his own company in 1941 and worked intensively on building components for the rest of his life. His most famous building component is the VELUX roof window.

The Award was first given out in 2015, when it was won by entrepreneur, architect and designer Claus Dyre for his invention and commercialisation of the Unidrain line drain. In 2017 the Award went to Peer Leth, CEO of Troldtekt, a manufacturer of acoustic ceiling panels.

The nominations committee for the building component award
  • Bjarne Graabæk Thomsen, Chair of the Nominations Committee, representative of the VILLUM FONDEN and the VELUX FONDEN
  • Frank Jensen, Managing Director, Søren Jensen (consulting engineers)
  • Jacob Steen Møller, Campus Director, DTU
  • Kurt Bering Sørensen, CEO, Bering Board, former Managing Director,
  • Søren Nielsen, architect, MAA, partner, Vandkunsten
  • Ellen Kathrine Hansen, Associate Professor, PhD, Aalborg University Copenhagen - Award Coordinator.
Contact

 

The Building Component Award Coordinator, Ellen Kathrine Hansen: +45 2172 3181 // ekh@create.aau.dk

Communications Advisor at the VILLUM FONDEN and the VELUX FONDEN Emil Kaas Rasmussen: +45 2966 6732 // era@veluxfoundations.dk

Communications Advisor at the VILLUM FONDEN and the VELUX FONDEN Eva Beckmann: +45 2084 2085 // eb@veluxfoundations.dk