Steen Eiler Rasmussen

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Steen Eiler Rasmussen (1898–1990) was a Danish architect and urban planner, professor at the Royal Danish Academy of Fine Arts, and a prolific writer of books and poetry.


Early life and education

Steen Eiler Rasmussen was born on 19 February 1898 in Copenhagen to Lieutenant colonel and later general Christian Rasmussen and Anna Dorthea (Dori) Jung. He first aparentised as a mason and then studied architecture at the Royal Danish Academy of Fine Arts from 1916 to 1918. In 1919 he set up his own practice. [1]

Architecture and urban planning

It was mainly as an urban planner that that he made his name. He was part of the Danish Urban Planning Laboratory from 1924, as the Academy Council's representative, and its leader from 1942 to 1948. From 1932 to 1938 he worked at Copenhagen Municipality's Department for Urban Planning.

Through his involvement in the Urban Planning Laboratory, he was an important part of the proces which led to the Finger Plan om 1048 which has governed the overall development of suburban Copenhagen ever since. He also co-planned the Tigbjerg area in Copenhagen as well as the town Hørsholm.

Among the buildings he has designed are Ringsted Town Hall and his own house (1938).


Rasmussen was a lecturer at the Academy from 1924 and became a professor in 1836. Among his students were Jørn Utzon, designer of the Sydney Opera House, and Marian Pepler who designed rugs for Gordon Russell in the 1930s .


A rpolific writer, Rasmussen's bibliography, which was published by librarian Finn Slente in 1973, lists [2]

One of his most important books was London. It was first published in Danish in 1934, in English (as London, the Unique City) in 1937. When this edition was re-issued in 1948, Rasmussen had added two Postscripts: "For English readers only", and "For American readers only". A shorter version was published as a paperback in 1960.

Other influential books by Rasmussen are Towns and Buildings (1951), and Experiencing Architecture (1959).

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