The Henrik F. Obel Foundation

The Henrik F. Obel Foundation is funded by the endowment left by Henrik Frode Obel (21 October 1942 – 7 February 2014). Although born into one of Denmark’s leading business families, Henrik Obel always sought to earn his own fortune.

At a young age, he left his home in Aalborg in northern Denmark and set out to see the world. His desire to travel internationally and learn from other people and places indicates that he was ahead of his time. He became a successful businessman, living and working abroad most of his adult life. He founded his own company in Madrid, Spain, PCI Pest Consult International, which was later acquired by Rentokil. 

 Obel spoke numerous languages and was a sociable, somewhat eccentric, quality-conscious bon vivant with an international outlook and lifestyle. He was a friend of renowned architect Jørn Utzon. This friendship lasted many years and perhaps enhanced Obel’s love of architecture. He always had a keen eye for aesthetics and quality, and during his life, he purchased and renovated several old, beautiful buildings, thus transforming and restoring the built environment.

 As the culmination of his life where culture was important, Henrik Frode Obel decided to dedicate his entire fortune to establishing a foundation to reward exceptional works of architecture – and so to contribute in his own way to the development of the fields of architecture and design. He assigned part of his fortune to travel bursaries for Danish architecture and design students. In this way, he could help new generations achieve architectural excellence and a global perspective. However, most funds are devoted to the OBEL AWARD and its activities to promote sharing of new ideas globally and highlight architecture’s transformative power to create more humane environments for the common good.

Board of Trustees

The board plays a crucial role in providing governance and stewardship to the OBEL AWARD. It is responsible for making important decisions that affect the award’s direction, strategy, and viability.

Christen Obel

Chairman of the board
Obel family representative

Louis Becker

Board member
Architecture advisor

Henrik Sjøgreen

Board member
Financial advisor