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Ulrik Plesner (architect, born 1930)

James John Ulrik Plesner 13 July 1930, Florence – 2 June 2016, Tel Aviv was a Danish architect who has mainly worked abroad, most notably in Sri Lanka


  • 1 Early life
  • 2 Career
  • 3 Awards
  • 4 Private life
  • 5 Works
    • 51 Sri Lanka
    • 52 India
    • 53 Israel
    • 54 Denmark
    • 55 Projects
    • 56 Written work
  • 6 References
  • 7 External links

Early life

Ulrik Plesner was born in Florence, Italy His father was Professor Johan Frederik Plesner, a Danish historian who was studying for a doctorate in Medieval history His mother was Kathleen Risk, who was of Scottish origin He is the grandnephew of Danish architect Ulrik Adolph Plesner The family moved to Denmark when he was four

Already in his childhood he spent much of his childhood abroad - during summer he stayed in the UK and Italy


Plesner graduated from Herlufsholm School in 1955 and was employed by Kay Fisker between 1956 - 57

As a newly qualified architect Plesner won 5 prizes, alone and in collaboration with others After winning 3rd prize in a competition for a Buddha monument in India and thus gaining a name for himself in Asia, he was invited to Sri Lanka at the time Ceylon in 1958 and stayed there till 1967 He first worked for Sri Lankan architect Minette de Silva and then was made partner in Geoffrey Bawa's studio in Colombo Together they built Ekala Industrial Estate, Good Shepherd Chapel Bandarawela, Polontolawa house, St Thomas Preparatory School, and many other buildings, mainly schools, factories, private houses and hotels The buildings bear witness to an understanding of the local building traditions and the tropical climate while using modern building techniques

In 1967 he went to London, where he was at Arup Associates until 1972 At Arup Plesner was responsible for the Oxford Mail and Times 'building, Kensington and Chelsea New Central Depot and Housing and was architectural consultant on highway bridges 1972 he moved to Israel and established his own office in Jerusalem in the same year Plesner was city architect in Jerusalem 1976 - 77, where he worked on a new urban plan, and architect of the World Bank 1980 - 87 He has designed Bet Gabriel cultural centre, adopting elements of the regional building traditions For a short period, he moved his studio to Copenhagen in 1987 and joined forces with Dan Wajnman In the competition for Copenhagen harbor, he attended 1985 with an acclaimed project His most important work in Denmark is the Slotsarkaderne shopping mall in Hillerød

From 1972 until his death, he lived in Tel Aviv and ran an architectural firm with his two daughters, architects Daniela Plesner and Maya Plesner


Ulrik Plesner has received the Jerusalem Prize for Architecture 1982, Margot and Thorvald Dreyer's Honorary Award 1985, Nykredit Architecture Prize and Eckersberg Medal in 1987

Private life

Plesner was married on 7 January 1966 in Colombo, Sri Lanka, to Israeli journalist and lecturer Tamar Liebes, born on 28 September 1943 in Jerusalem to classical philologist, professor at the Hebrew University of Jerusalem, Joseph Gerhard Julius Liebes 1910-1988 and ceramicist Miriam Leibowitz Their son, Yohanan, is an Israeli political scientist and former politician Their two daughters, Daniela and Maya Plesner, both graduated the Bezalel Academy of Architecture in 1994 and 1997 respectively, and continue leading, and working at, the Tel Aviv architecture firm founded by their father in 1972


Sri Lanka

  • Ekala Industrial Estate, Ja-ela 1960 and 1965
  • Manager Property, Stathspey Tea Plantation, Maskeliya 1961
  • District Manager Property in Anuradhapura 1961
  • Headquarters for Lever Brothers Ltd, Colombo 1961
  • Chapel of the Good Shepherd, Bandarawela 1962
  • Medical Property with consultation, Galle 1962
  • Own studio, Colombo 1962
  • Bishops College, Colombo 1963
  • Polontolawa House 1963
  • Town house in Colombo 1963
  • Montessoriskolen, Colombo 1966
  • Bentota Beach Hotel 1967
  • 6 new towns in the Mahaweli Building program, designed as self-help 1980–87


  • Boys' Town, Madurai 1966


  • Liberty Bell Garden and Bloomfield Garden, Jerusalem 1977
  • Malcha Sports Hall, Jerusalem 1982
  • Zionist Confederation House, Jerusalem meeting centre, renovation of several historic buildings; 1982 Presentation on the Jerusalem Municipality site; photos "before and after"; photo interior
  • Bet Gabriel cultural and conference centre at the Sea of Galilee 1993
  • The Daniel Rowing Centre, Yarkon River, Tel Aviv 2002 Video presentation with comments by Ulrik Plesner
  • Faculty of Management Building, Ben-Gurion University of the Negev


  • Slotsarkaderne, shopping mall in Hillerød 1993, awarded
  • Interior of the concert hall of Støberihallen culture centre, Hillerød 1993


  • Monument to 2500-the year of Buddha's Nirvana, Delhi 1956, 3rd prize
  • Herlev Sports 1956, together with Ib and Jorgen Rasmussen, 1st prize
  • Theatre and concert halls, Tel Aviv 1972, 2nd prize
  • Copenhagen Harbour Range of future 1985, with Dan Wajnman, 2nd prize
  • Covering Thomas B Thriges Street, Odense 1991

Written work

  • Articles on architecture and planning architect, 1957-78
  • The Port of Copenhagen's future in politics 17 January 1982; 9 June 1984; 16 June 1984; 23 June 1984; 30 June 1984 and June–July 1987th
  • In Situ An architectural memoir from Sri Lanka An autobiography published in Denmark in 2013 in both English and Danish Aristo Publishing, 451 pages, illustrated


  1. ^ "Nekrolog: Ulrik Plesner var arkitekt for menneskene" politikendk in Danish 2016-06-03 Retrieved 2016-06-11 
  2. ^ "PLESNER Ulrik" Retrieved 20 October 2015 
  3. ^ Ulrik Plesner 2013 In Situ: an architectural memoir from Sri Lanka Aristo Publishing ISBN 9788791984211 
  4. ^ Brittain-Catlin, Timothy 6 June 2013 "Ulrik Plesner: Playboy Architect of the Eastern world" The Architectural Review Retrieved 20 October 2015 

External links

  • Art Index Denmark
  • Homepage for Plesner's architectural studio in Tel Aviv

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