DTU Skylab

Updated 26.07.22 |
Signe Moeslund Mains

Photo credit: STAMERS KONTOR

DTU Skylab is an innovation hub established in an old, run-down workshop at DTU Campus in Lyngby. The activity level for innovation and entrepreneurship exceeds all expectations. JUUL | FROST Architects is behind the transformation in close cooperation with the users of the building. Architectural firm mtre has created the building interior.

"It had been discussed whether the building would be able to capacitate 10,000 visitors per year, however, during the first 3-4 months it had 21,000 visitors.” Gösta Knudsen, chairman of the nomination committee of RENOVER, 2015

Energy Optimisation & Preservation Worthiness

Following the renovation of DTU Skylab, the energy consumption has dropped by an estimated 32 % according to RENOVER. This has been achieved by installing new windows, a new ventilation system with heat recovery and new LED lighting. The transformation has been made while respecting the existing architectural qualities, where e.g. the unique ceiling height and the original concrete columns create a very special atmosphere. Both time and money have been saved by renovating the old workshop instead of tearing it down and building something new. 
It’s super cool. I become excited and motivated because the building oozes of passion and creativity. No matter where I am, I’m able to see the entire building and the many activities and spontaneous meetings taking place.”  Sannie Fisker,  Chief adviser at DTU Skylab, Indeklimaportalen 2015 

Identity, Indoor Climate & Knowledge Sharing

Following the renovation of the run-down, unheated workshop, DTU Skylab now offers a budding innovation environment that encourages community and creativity. According to RENOVER, the place had 21,000 visitors during the first 3-4 months compared to the expected number of 10,000 per year. More than 6,000 students use the facilities each month. Through e.g. transparent walls and intelligent acoustics design, the perfect environment has been created to allow different functions and activities to take place at the same time.  

We offer – quite literally – a lot of latitude, because the students must dare being ambitious, global and fearless. When you try to move the limits of what is possible, you sometimes fall over the edge. So the commercial breakthrough might not come until your third or fourth try, yet the experience you amass can also create important learning and value. This is the mindset that this building supports.” Mikkel Sørensen, Head of DTU Skylab, RENOVER 2015 

For the second year in a row, DTU managed to set the record for the number of associated start-ups in 2015, and 31 out of the total of 54 new businesses were started by students. According to Marianne Thellersen, Senior Vice President – Innovation and Entrepreneurship at DTU, this is in part due to the introduction of DTU Skylab, which encourages a more focused environment than before where the students can get consultancy from volunteering entrepreneurs as well as lawyers and accountants.  

“Skylab has really helped accelerate student start-ups. We also have a President who believes that it is important to get technology into society.”  Marianne Thellersen, Senior Vice President – Innovation and Entrepreneurship at DTU, Finans 2016

Photo of DTU Skylab by JUUL | FROST Architects. Photo Credit: STAMERS KONTOR

About the case

DTU Skylab offers a multi-functional and interdisciplinary supporting space with room for entrepreneurship, conferences, teaching and social events. The renovation of the old workshop has been made with respect for the existing architectural qualities, including e.g. the building’s wavy facade, the original ceiling height and the interior layout with concrete columns.

Transparent walls and intelligent acoustics design have made it possible for workshop and office activities, meeting and conference facilities to take place side by side. With synergy, cooperation and visibility as design key words, an innovative hub has been created that encourages community and both professional and social collaboration. The building appears relaxed and mobile and is the ideal platform for open tests and dialogues; a laboratory that invites the outside inside and does not close in on its own knowledge production.

Read more about DTU Skylab by Juul Frost Architects