Lauritz de Thurah bigraphy, stories - Danish architect

Lauritz de Thurah : biography

04 March 1706 - 05 September 1759

Laurids Lauridsen de Thurah, known as Lauritz de Thurah (4 March 1706 – 5 September 1759), was a Danish architect and architectural writer. He became the most important Danish architect of the late baroque period. As an architectural writer and historian he made a priceless contribution to the understanding of both Denmark's architectural heritage and building construction in his day.

de Thurah was a self-taught architect who learned much of what he knew by studying the inspiring buildings he saw on his travels outside Denmark between 1729 and 1731. He brought home the baroque style, which was then popular, but was quickly losing way to rococo. Throughout his life he maintained a loyalty to the baroque, even as the world around him continued to change and he lost work assignments to others who mastered the newer, more popular styles.

Life and career

Youth and early life

Lauritx de Thurah was born Laurids Lauridsen Thura in Aarhus, the third son of parish priest Laurids Thura, later Bishop of Ribe, and wife Helene Cathrine de With. He was educated at home by the elder Thura, a literate scholar and able teacher. By chance he come into contact with the royal house when King Frederik IV called on the Bishop, and chose the boy and his older brother Didrich for military service. In 1719 he went to Copenhagen as a military cadet, a landkadet in Danish, to receive an education for the Engineer Corps at the Military Cadet Academy (Landkadetakademiet).

He was employed in 1725 as Assistant Resident Engineer in the Holstein Engineering Corps, and he moved to Rendsburg where he served from 1725-1729.

Architectural studies and travels

With an interest in improving his lot in life by eventually coming into an architectural career, he enthusiastically studied the local building style, and petitioned the king for a royal grant to study civil architecture on a longer travel to foreign lands. In order to attain this he made carefully detailed drawings of Rendsburg's fortifications, churches and houses, and a preliminary construction drawing for a suspension bridge.

The king was impressed, and promised to give him funds, but instead he gave Thura and his friend Lieutenant Holger Rosenkrantz additional surveying and drawing assignments. Finally Thura, after having sent the king many reminders to his promised financial assistance, went to Copenhagen and was put to a final test, before receiving the economic grant so he and Rosenkrantz could travel.

Thura also made drawings and measurements of the newest castle in Denmark, Fredensborg, which were given as a gift to the Count of Hesse, before he traveled.

Thura and Rosenkrantz left in 1729, and visited a number of German cities, including Kassel, where they made careful studies and measurements of buildings. They traveled further to Italy, France, Holland and England before returning to Denmark in 1731.

Career in Denmark

Hirschholm as illustrated in J. P. Trap: Kongeriget Danmark 2nd edition, 1872 After his return home, Thura rose rapidly up the ranks. He became Resident Engineer in 1732. In 1733 he was named Royal Building Master with supervisory responsibility for royal buildings on Zealand and on Lolland-Falster. At the same time he was promoted to Captain in the Engineering Corps.

In 1732-1736 he designed and built the royal Palace in Roskilde, also known as the Yellow Palace, on the site of the old Bishop’s palace east of Roskilde Cathedral. The four-wing baroque building became the headquarters of the Duke of Wellington during the English siege of Copenhagen in 1807, and now houses the Museum of Contemporary Art.

In 1733-1739 he worked on the first remodelling and expansion of Hirschholm Palace for King Christian VI and his consort Queen Sophie Magdalene.

In 1734-36 de Thurah built the Eremitage Palace, palatial hunting lodge overlooking Jægersborg Dyrehave north of Copenhagen, and facing east over the Øresund to Sweden. The grey-stone house with copper-clad mansard roof replaced another hunting lodge named "Hubertus", which had been built nearby in the 17th century. The original design featured an elevator-table, similar to a dumbwaiter), which could be raised from the cellar up to the dining room. In this way servants stayed in the cellar kitchen, where they prepared and set the table, and then it could be hoisted up to the dining room through a hatch in the floor. Diners would then eat unattended by servants or "en eremit". that is "in the hermit style". The lodge is still in use to this day for special occasions.

Living octopus

Living octopus

In countries which are located near sea coasts, sea food is an important part of national cuisine