part of the container port is still operating and shows the general character of the area before the extensive redevelopment of the docks started
The first area of apartments in the Århusgade neighbourhood of Nordhavn are nearing completion with many of the blocks now occupied.
There are apartments by Vilhelm Lauritzen Architects on both sides of the Nordhavn basin - on Marmormolen (the Marble Pier) immediately to the west of the new UN building and along Sandkaj - on the north side of the basin - looking across to the UN building. There are also new blocks of apartments close to completion around The Silo and around Göteborg Plads - a new square around Portland Towers. These two tall cylinders were built in 1979 as silos for concrete for Aalborg Portland but are now the dramatic offices of Dansk Standard with that development designed by Design Group Architects.
Portland Towers by Design Group Architects
All these new buildings are close to Nordhavn suburban railway station but in 2019 an extension of the Metro will open with a new station at Nordhavn Plads.
Work is about to start along Gdanskgade - on the island beyond Sankt Petersborg Plads and the P-Hus Lünders car park - and work is progressing fast on the other side of the next basin around Sundkaj and Orientkaj.
This recent series of posts has looked at facing materials or cladding. From walking around this new area, it is clear that the blocks are quite closely packed - although many of the apartments do look across water or face onto canals - and the streets are relatively narrow compared with earlier developments along the south part of the harbour and courtyards are generally small.
This higher density is a clear and deliberate policy by the city and its planners as one obvious way to avoid the alternative - extensive suburban sprawl around Copenhagen - as the population of the city is set to increase significantly by the middle of this century.
But this higher density means that the colour and the tone of the exteriors of the buildings becomes much more important. Sunlight in Copenhagen in the summer is strong and clear but through the winter, although days can be very bright, the sun is low in the sky so does not penetrate tighter courtyards or get to windows on lower floors that look into the street. This is not a new problem … the blocks of apartments in Islands Brygge date from around 1900 and, generally, are built in very dark brick that makes the area seem more gloomy than other parts of the city in the winter.
The curious thing about new apartments is that although some of the blocks are more traditional, with fairly restrained use of brick with plain architectural features such as banding or panels in darker or lighter brick, some architects seem to try hard to stand out by using more unusual materials for the exterior - one of the new blocks on Århusgade seems to be covered with wire fencing - but that raises a problem when trying to decide if you want to live in a striking or novel building or one that is more traditional. Or if - in fact - what your own building looks like does not actually matter that much once you are inside but what is much more important is the appearance of the building opposite as you look out of your windows.
In 2008 the Copenhagen architectural and planning studio COBE under Dan Stubbergaard won a competition for drawing up the strategic plan for Nordhavn. Their work is shown in the current exhibition Our Urban Living Room at the Danish Architecture Centre in Copenhagen that continues until 8 January 2017.
It is worth spending time on the COBE web site looking at their maps and graphics that show clearly how Nordhavn will be developed to become a significant and new district of the city. There will be a complex layout of streets, squares, canals - it is described as an ‘urban archipelago’ - with homes for 40,000 people, jobs for 40,000, easy access to the water, cycle routes and green ways for routes into the city and a new metro line.