HANSEN, Christian Frederik
(b. 1756, København, d. 1845, Frederiksberg)


Danish architect (usually referred to as C. F. Hansen), the main representative of Neoclassicism in Denmark. He was known as "Denmark's Palladio" on account of the architectural style he promoted. His buildings are known for their simplicity, strength and scale.

He trained as a bricklayer, and at the same time he attended classes at the Academy of Art starting in 1766. He studied at the Academy under architect Caspar Frederik Harsdorff, but probably also received some training from Nicolas-Henri Jardin (1720-1799). He won the Academy's small silver medallion in 1772-1773, the large silver medallion in 1774-1775, and the large gold medallion in 1779.

He was taken into Harsdorff's private studio where he worked on the construction of Frederik V's chapel at Roskilde Cathedral in 1780. He traveled out of the country starting in late 1782, travelling over Vienna and Venice to Rome, where he studied ancient Roman art. He returned home in 1784, and became a member of the Academy in 1785. Shortly afterwards he was named to the position of Regional Architect for the Duchies of Schleswig and Holstein, with residence in Altona, a position for which he held until his retirement in 1844.

When Harsdorff died in 1799 a number of public building projects were transferred to Hansen, among these the completion of Frederik's Church, also known as The Marble Church (Marmorkirken) in Copenhagen. He returned to Copenhagen in 1804, where he lived until his death.

Hansen adhered rigorously to Greek models. His first buildings were designed for Altona which, although a suburb of Hamburg today, was a separate Danish city in the 18th century. He later turned the medieval and Baroque city of Copenhagen into a Neoclassical capital. He built the town hall, court house, and prison (1803-16) and the church of Our Lady (1811-29), with its Boullée-inspired interior.