Løsninger - exhibition of work by graduates from the School of Architecture, Design and Conservation

 

 

There are just a few more days to see the work of the 232 architects and designers who graduated this summer from the schools of architecture and design at Det Kongelige Danske Kunstakademis Skoler for Arkitektur, Design og Konservering - KADK or the Danish Royal Academy of Architecture, Design and Conservation.

 

the exhibition is open every day to the 19 August 2018
KADK
Udstillingen og Festsalen
Danneskiold-Samsøes Allé 51-53

Economist ranking of the most liveable cities in the World

jazz by the canal

family life

 

The Economist Intelligence Unit has just published their annual list of the most liveable cities in the World.

Out of 140 cities considered, Vienna was at the top - replacing Melbourne ranked at number one for the last seven years. Copenhagen was ranked 9th which, initially, might seem to be not that high until you realise that Vienna and Copenhagen are the only cities in Europe to get into the top ten with Paris at 19 and London 48. New York was at 57 on the list.

The cities were judged by a wide range of criteria including healthcare, culture, environment, education and infrastructure. 

The Economist Global Liveability Index 2018

Kunsthåndværkermarkedet / The Craft Market on Frue Plads in Copenhagen

 

 

For the next three days, the annual craft market will be on Frue Plads - the square next to the cathedral in Copenhagen.

Organised by Danske Kunsthåndværkere & Designere / The Danish Association of Craft Workers and Designers, this is an opportunity to see and to buy some of the very best ceramics, glass and textiles made in Denmark.

Thursday 9 August 12 - 19
Friday 10 August 10 - 19
Saturday 11 August 10 - 16

 

Flammespor / Scorched traces - ceramics by Charlotte Nielsen

 

 

Ceramic works by Charlotte Nielsen that are fired using raku techniques that traditionally means rapid firing at a high temperature and rapid cooling so the fired clay takes on the colours and the sharp look of weathered and rusted iron. These incredible pieces are inspired by ironwork with ribs and spirals that make the pieces look like worn machine parts. 

 

Officinet
Danske Kunsthåndværkere & Deignere
Bredgade 66
14 July until 18 August 2018

Frederiksberg Allé

 
Freds Alley.jpg

Recently, it was announced that Frederiksberg Allé is to be given special protection with a policy to retain its present character with controls on hard landscaping and planting but also to allow appropriate interventions to enhance the urban landscape.

The Allé is a fascinating street with a clear history and a wider importance - an international significance - as it represents a distinct and important phase of planning in the city.

It was laid out in 1704 and runs west from Vesterbro to the main entrance to the park and gardens of the royal palace of Frederiksberg. Maps from the 18th century show the road as a broad tree-lined avenue with open fields on either side but, even then, the circle or circus of Sankt Thomas Plads is obvious and there was a large open space at the west end, at the gates to the gardens of the palace.

The avenue is now famous for the double lines of lime trees that are pruned to a candelabra shape.

There is a wide central road with the double avenue of trees on each side, each with a broad pavement down the centre between the trees, and then secondary or service roads, outside the lines of trees, with wide pavements immediately in front of the buildings. From Sankt Thomas Plads to the gates into the palace gardens is just over a kilometre and the avenue from building front to building front is around 40 metres wide.

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the Copenhagen bench

 

Does anyone know just how many park benches there are in Copenhagen? When was the first bench made with cast iron legs and wooden planks? Was there a Copenhagen iron bench foundry?

They get repainted at regular intervals so my guess is that someone in city hall knows how much green paint the city gets through every year.

My favourite benches are the circular benches that usually go around a tree and there is no pretence … these are there and these are designed for sitting a while to people watch.

Europe's most densely populated square kilometres - mapped

Back in the Spring, at the end of March, The Guardian published an article about "overstretched cities."

With the results from data compiled by Professor Alasdair Rae of the University of Sheffield, they produced a list of the 15 cities in Europe with the most densely populated areas within a single square kilometre. Curiously, London only managed to get into the list at 15 with a part of west London that has 20,477 people living within a single square kilometre. Top of the list was Barcelona with one block of a square kilometre that houses 53,119 people.

What was surprising was that Denmark had a place in the list at all but it was the area that is so densely packed with people that it made the list that is even more surprising. In at number eleven, with 22,381 people living within a block a kilometre across, was part of Frederiksberg immediately west of the centre of the city in Copenhagen.

The word being much used in the Danish press at the moment, in discussions about poor-quality housing in areas with problems, is ghetto but then this part of Frederiksberg is far far from being a ghetto. In fact, just the opposite. For young middle-class families in the city, the place to aspire to is this densely-packed area of apartment buildings.

What is even more important to understand, in terms of planning, is that this is an area of older apartment blocks dating from the late 19th and early 20th century, most of five or six floors, set around squares and streets with only one high-rise building and that is an office building and not apartments.

If there is a lesson for planners it has to be that density of occupation is not necessarily bad and certainly the solution is not that the only way is up.

Frederiksberg from air.jpeg
 
 

owning the streets

 

As soon as the sun comes out, people in Copenhagen move outside and stake a claim to the streets. It doesn't have to be warm … just light. It's not that Danish homes are so awful that people can't stay in … just the opposite … but in Copenhagen there is plenty of evidence that this is not a modern idea. Historic paintings and drawings show citizens strolling along the pathways on top of the city defences or promenading on the squares … so walking and talking rather than actually going somewhere … and there is still a tradition to walk around the top of the embankments of the 17th-century fortress in the Spring or stroll along Langeliniekaj. It's said that the citizens only agreed to the  construction of the Free Port - which blocked the walk along the foreshore - if the quay was constructed with open access for a Sunday afternoon stroll.

The use of the public space of the street can be much more active so there is play equipment for children on many squares and streets and permanent fitted exercise equipment for people out for a jog who want to do more than just run.

Of course tables are moved out onto the pavements outside cafes and there are benches everywhere … most painted the special colour used in the city called Copenhagen Green.

This is hardly unique but in Copenhagen you can see a clear reason why this use of public space became so important: Copenhagen was surrounded by substantial defensive ramparts that enclosed a relatively small area and until about 1870 there was little construction allowed outside the gates to keep sight lines open in case of attack or a siege. As the population grew so space was limited and even many of the  courtyards had houses built in them so the only space available, for any sort of leisure, were the squares, streets or even the churchyards … even now the large graveyards around the city are a very popular and very pleasant place to stroll with family or friends.

Copenhagen is an amazing place to live for so many reasons but, if I had to cut the list right down to one, then it would be that for a densely built up city there is remarkably little vandalism ... people use and live in and own and share the public space so much more than in any city I have lived in before but, taking ownership of the street, people treat public space, their public space, with respect. 

 

 

 

street life - some needing stamina - some needing less energy

 

Sønder Boulevard then and now ... around 1900 and on a bright but cool day in early Spring 2018 above and immediately below

 
L1270517.jpg
 

the hoardings have come down along Sønder Boulevard

The new line of the metro in Copenhagen will open in 2019. Much of the main engineering work on the surface has been completed and the high green hoardings that surrounded all the main sites are now coming down.

From the city hall square and the central railway station, the new line heading out to the west follows the line of Sønder Boulevard across the north side of the meat markets and on down to Enghave. The hoardings came down in the Spring and work started on new hard landscaping and planting new trees.

Immediately, people from the neighbourhood, from the densely built apartment blocks here, reclaimed the public space.

Sønder Boulevard was actually the line of the railway in the late 19th century as it curved in from the west from Roskilde to a railway station just south of the present main building and the line followed closely what was then the shore of the bay.

The railway line was moved first to come into the city further north cutting across the lakes and then it was moved again to its present alignment across the south side of the meat markets. As the shore line was pushed out further and further into the bay, with new land claimed from the sea for first a gas works and then for the meat market, the old line became a street, Sønder Boulevard, with apartment buildings on both sides. It is a wide street with grass down the centre but through the last century it was a main route for traffic coming into the city.

The traffic lanes on each side have been reduced in width and this is no longer a main route so the centre area has basketball courts, play equipment, seating areas and imaginative planting to create a linear park that from Halmtorvet at the city end to Enghavevej and then across that road on towards Carlsberg is not far short of 2 kilometres.

the Boulevard while the engineering works for the new metro line were in progress - the edge of the meat market is at the top right and the distinctive tower of the church on Dannesbrogsgade towards the bottom right

1 - At the city end of Sønder Boulevard the landscaping of the street starts with paving and an area of water at Halmtorvet with an open area of gravel used for markets and then curved areas of stone steps and seating ... the meat market is on the right
2 - the Boulevard has shops and cafes and where cross streets meet the Boulevard at an angle there are paved areas - triangular rather than square - with cafes with pavement seating
3 - cross streets are a meeting place
4 - even in April, because the hoardings had come down,  people came out to sit in the sun - the sun was low but bright but not yet that warm ... the reason for the combination of coats and sun glasses ... looking towards the centre of the city with the tower of city hall in the distance

 

in the 1870s the railway line followed the shore with only gas works on land built out into the bay and that is where the meat market is now .....
the lakes, Tivoli and the line of Vesterbrogade are easily recognised reference points

Den Hvide Kødby / The White Meat City …. Local Plan Report 562

 

 

At the end of June a local plan - number 562 - was published by the city for Den Hvide Kødby /  the White Meat City district of Copenhagen. 

This is the west part of a large area of market buildings and slaughter houses that developed here from 1879 onwards when the meat market was moved from a site further north, closer to the lakes.

The market, sometimes referred to now as the Meat District, is west of the present central railway station and immediately south of a long open public space called Halmtorvet that continues on west into Sønder Boulevard and forms the north boundary of the site. 

Den Brune Kødby, the Brown Meat market, was the first part of the market to be built and is in brick. The buildings to its west - sometimes referred to as Den Grå Kødby or the Grey Market and included in this plan - were extensive additions to the market from around 1900 in grey or white brick and Den Hvide Kødby or White Meat City - primarily low and mainly flat-roofed buildings in concrete with white facades was a large addition to the meat market dating from the 1930s. 

In part because these are essentially industrial buildings but also because of the clean simple outlines with no decoration, then, in terms of style, this part of the market built in the 1930s is generally described as an important example of Functionalist architecture.

Note that the popular reference to the east part as the Brown Meat market only emerged after the construction of the additions of the 1930s - to distinguish the different parts the names refer to the colour of the buildings and not to the colour of the meat.

The area is owned by the city and this is certainly important for the long-term conservation of this area and for appropriate controls on detrimental development .

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Østergro in Østerbro

 

 

In fact, the current work on Tåsinge Plads and Sankt Kjelds Plads are not the first projects to bring large areas of plants and greenery right into the centre of Østerbro - a densely built up area of large apartment buildings, offices and small businesses out to the north of the centre of the city.

If you look on Google Earth, you can see that most of the apartment buildings have large enclosed courtyards with gardens and many with play equipment for children but also if you look just north of Sankt Kjelds Plads - the large round-a-bout almost at the centre - then immediately to the west of Fitness World, the long rectangle of green along the east side of Abeløgade is not alongside the pavement but four floors up on the roof of a former garage. This is Østergro … a large garden for vegetables and flowers produced here by a local association.

They have a restaurant up here and they teach children and visitors about food production … too many city dwellers have little or no idea where their food comes from and what is involved in growing vegetables and herbs. There was never a suggestion that this could make the area self sufficient for food but it's a good start.

Østergro

 

Sankt Kjelds Plads

Sankt Kjelds Plads looking south from Æbeløgade and the view up Bryggervangen towards the Plads with the new areas for planting under construction in July 2018

new storm drains going in along the road edge (above)
drawing from SLA showing the extent of the scheme from Sankt Kjelds Plads and north and south along Bryggervangen  (below)

Less than 100 metres from Tåsinge Plads is Sankt Kjelds Plads - a second phase of work for new drain systems with hard landscaping and appropriate planting to cope with the inundation of water from rain storms. 

Here there is a large traffic intersection with Bryggervangen running through from north east to south west and three other roads - Nygårdsvej from the east, Æbeløgade from the north west and Sejrøgade from the south west - meeting at a large space that was until recently laid out as a large traffic round-a-bout.

A new scheme with holding tanks for rainwater, new storm drains and a series of water features and extensive planting have been designed by SLA.

New areas of paving and traffic calming with new marked bays to control car parking is well in hand.

It is not just the road intersection that will have new planting but the long diagonal run of Bryggervangen is part of the work and this will form a new green corridor from a small lake and open ground several blocks to the north at Kildevældssøen and continuing south towards the open space of Fælledparken.

A local store has a window covered with a huge illustration of the finished scheme.

 

Hahnemanns Køkken

Hahnemanns Køkken from across the square ... perhaps not the prettiest of views right now but wait until all the planting and the water-filled canals go in 

 

 

Coffee and a cake at Hahnemanns Køkken was not the reason for going up to Sankt Kjelds Plads … honest … although it might have influenced the decision to go back a few days later … to retake one photograph of the square with the sun in a better position … or that was the excuse … and have another coffee and cake while I was there.

The café and food shop that also sells kitchenware, tableware and cookery books along with space for cookery demonstrations and cooking classes was opened here by Trine Hahnemann in February.

There are tables out at the front, facing south across the square, and from here you can watch all the engineering works and track progress as trees and shrubs are planted and the features like canals or ponds filled with water. Drawings indicate that this paved area in front of the café will be enlarged so it will be able to take full advantage of the new urban landscape once the water features and planting become established.

Hahnemanns Køkken
Sankt Kjelds Plads 14

 

 
 
 

Tåsinge Plads three years on

 

There was a post here about Tåsinge Plads back in 2015 along with a review of an exhibition called The Rains are Coming that was at the Danish Architecture Centre and was about how the city is dealing with climate change and the problems from sudden and torrential rain storms flooding streets and squares as drainage systems fail to cope.

Then, the main engineering work had been completed with new drains around the square to take surface water and water running off the roofs of the buildings and low holding tanks had been constructed. It seemed like time to go back to photograph the area now that the trees and shrubs are well established.

 

THE FIRST CLIMATE RESILIENT DISTRICT IN THE CITY
the pierced domes are drain covers for the deep and wide new drainage channels below
there are two sunken areas planted with appropriate water plants that are holding tanks for storm water to stop it overwhelming the drains and at the west end is a raised mound
bridges and passageways across the square are in Corten
paving drops down in shallow steps to channel surface water and excess water is taken down into holding tanks
rain from the side streets is contaminated by surface dirt and traffic pollution so is dealt with separately in 'swales' that replaced the street gutters with ditches and plants and with filters below

 

It is interesting to see how the square used by people living in nearby apartments.  On-street parking for cars has been either removed or rationalised - so in neighbouring streets cars park now on just one side, usually the side in the shade, and park front on to the kerb rather than parallel with the pavement.

On the square itself, the road along one side has been paved over and the local café has moved tables and chairs out onto the square. People were sunbathing on the new raised slopes of the hillock at the west end and one local lady was using a wood sculpture as a place to sit and read her newspaper in the shade on a hot day.

balconies being fitted earlier in the summer and the finished work with large new balconies to the apartments looking south and looking down onto the new landscaping of the square

 

The apartment building across the north side has new balconies fitted across the frontage so people can sit in the sun and look down on the square.

This has been a very dry and untypical summer so it was not possible to watch the rain umbrellas and the channels through the water gardens actually doing what they are supposed to do … that just means another visit sometime soon when it is raining hard.

The landscape and drainage solutions were designed by GHB Landskabsarkitekter.

within 500 metres of the new metro station

When writing about architecture, guide books for the city tend to start with obvious buildings and sights that are close to the centre or are easy to reach.

Walking around Trianglen - and around that part of Østerbro - to take photographs for recent posts, it was obvious that here are important buildings that probably do not get the attention they deserve.

Together they illustrate an interesting period in the history of the city around a hundred years ago and also show how there is very good architecture in the outer districts of the city across a wide range of building types … so here is interesting social history and architecture with a strong sense of a specifically Danish style with buildings of a high quality. Much of the appeal is from a good use of materials and a subtle use of natural colour and texture to produce what is a very attractive urban landscape.

It might seem odd to start with the tram depot but it is a building that would be easy to miss and it is also a building that shows how this area north of the centre and out from the historic core, expanded rapidly through the late 19th century and through the first decades of the 20th century. It was the trams that took people living in all these new apartment blocks into the city to work and it was the trams that brought people out from the city to walk in the park or to watch a football match.

Much of the building work in Østerbro is about the expansion of the city; about apartments built to house the growing population and about city planning and about civic pride and about public buildings of a high quality.

It is also about new building types for that growing population so about public parks and swimming pools but also about engineering and new materials like concrete that together made such large buildings possible.

When the new metro station at Trianglen opens next year, all these buildings will be within 500 metres.

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a new metro station at Trianglen

gravel area at the entrance to Fælled Park ... hoardings have been taken down but there is now a wire fence around the excavations and remaining equipment of the engineers for work to complete the new metro station here ... the park is to the left and Trianglen immediately to the right ... the post office building to the left was designed by Thorvald Jørgensen and completed in 1922 and Østre Power Station, on the far side of Øster Allé, was designed by Ludvig Fenger and Ludvig Clausen and built in 1902

 
 

 

The main engineering works for the new metro station at Trianglen are finished and the high hoardings around the site have been taken down so once more it’s possible to appreciate the size of the open space here at the south-east corner of Fælledparken / Fælled Park.

A local plan for this major work was adopted in 2011 and published in 2012 … one of 14 local plans drafted for the 14 new metro stations that are to be built in the city with the construction of the new metro line.

In the introduction to the report it was stressed that the "layout of the station space must be in interaction with neighbouring areas around Øster Allé and Fælledparken."

This was an important policy because the space, in front of the main entrance into the park, acts as an area of transition from the busy area of Trianglen itself to the open green space and the trees of the park but this area of gravel has also been used in the past as an open space for various events such as markets so no new buildings were proposed apart from the concrete steps down into the station and necessary vents and roof lights and these, along with spaces for parking for bikes, have been kept to the two outer sides along Blegdamsvej and Øster Allé and will be screened by being set within double lines of trees. 

The steps down into the metro station fit rationally with the main directions from which people will approach the station or their main destinations as they leave … so steps at the corner, on the axis of the entrance to the park, are angled towards Trianglen; steps just inset from Blegdamsvej will be used by passengers heading to or coming from the Red Cross building, the Masonic Hall or, further on, the hospital and the east steps will serve people going to the post office or heading up Øster Allé towards the football stadium. 

 

These outer edges of the space will have hard paving - traditional Copenhagen setts or cobbles - but the central area will be returned to a level gravel surface. The planting of trees reinforces the simple symmetry of the layout of the space but also acts as a visual barrier between the open gravel-covered space and the road traffic beyond.

Improvements are not restricted to the area immediately around the metro station for there will also be new planting of trees and changes to the hard landscaping at this south end of Øster Allé and along Blegdamsvej that, with planting and improved paving, is rapidly becoming one of the most attractive of the boulevards in the city.

photograph and drawing from Metroselskabet

Trianglen in Østerbro

 

 

Trianglen is a busy triangle-shaped public space in the district of Østerbro - so north of the lakes and immediately to the east of the new metro station that will take the same name. 

This is where two main roads in the city cross at an angle rather than at 90 degrees and it illustrates well how a dynamic townscape evolves over what is often centuries through a combination of factors including, of course, topography but also military and strategic history, wider patterns of roads and transport - so where people are travelling to or from either away from the city or within the city - and inevitably ownership and property boundaries and, in many cases, the direct involvement of a monarch, a city council and - from the 20th century onwards - planning authorities and transport companies. 

Oh … and as much as anything it’s often about the way people use a space or even how they cut across corners that ends up fixed in the position and line of roads, pavements and buildings.

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Bien at Trianglen

Trianglen Bien.jpg
 
 

 

This is one of the more extraordinary buildings in Copenhagen. 

It is at the east end of Trianglen on the traffic island and was a tram car stop with a kiosk; a room for a traffic controller and public toilets and with benches not only in the recessed spaces on the east and west sides but also around the outside where people could sit if they had to wait for trams at this busy interchange.

The architect was PV Jensen-Klint and it was commissioned in 1904 by the Østerbro Grundejerforening or Landowners Association to replace a wooden hut on the same site. A number of designs were presented before a final design was approved and the building was completed in 1907.

It has a sort of exuberance and delight in playing with variations of shape and form that is associated with Art Nouveau architecture but here the columns on each side with strong entasis - the bowing out in the middle - and the almost Baroque elements with curved shaped heads to windows and doors picked up in the line of glazing bars makes it more robust and strongly architectural than buildings you would find from the same period in Paris or Brussels.

The oval shape of the building and its copper roof meant that it was soon given the nickname of the Super Terrin or Terrinen - it looked like a large soup dish with a lid with the heraldic animals on the top like a knob or handle although they are actually flues for the stoves. The building is also known as Bien or The Bee from the name of the kiosk here at one stage.

 

 

Fælledparken / Fælled Park

 

Between 1908 and 1914, a public park was laid out on a large area of open ground known as Østerfælled … land that was outside the historic city defences and beyond the lakes and that had been been used in part as a bleaching ground and in part by the army and was crossed by important roads that converged at the start of the King’s highway that headed north to Lyngby and on to the castle at Frederiksborg. 

An irregular shape, the large area is contained within main roads with Østerbrogade to the east, Blegdamsvej to the south and Tagensvej and Nørre Allé to the west but with large buildings encroaching on the area across the south side, including the Masons’ Hall and the headquarters of the Red Cross, along  with a main hospital, Rigshospitalet, at the south-west corner.  

Despite the encroachment of buildings around the edge, the open area is large … running back well over a kilometre from Blegdamsvej and is over a kilometre wide at the widest point. There are lakes, pitches for football, an area laid out with small-scale roads and junctions - Trafiklegepladsen - where children learn to ride bikes and there are playgrounds including Tårnlegepladsen /Tower Park and a large skate park. 

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Fælledparken - the entrance from Trianglen

Entrance Faelled Park.jpeg
 

 

At the corner of Blegdamsvej and Øster Allé is a large area of gravel that is triangular in shape — the site of a major new metro station - and set back, beyond the triangle, is the entrance to Fælledparken.

Established in 1908, the main feature here, on the central axis of the entrance, is a memorial … a large figure group in bronze raised on a high stone base that was installed in 1930 to commemorate the return to Denmark, in an international settlements following the First World War, of land in South Jutland that had been lost to Germany in a war of 1864.

Lettering on the stone base reads:

TIL MINDE OM SONDERJYLLANDS GENFORENING MED MODERLANDET 1920

In memory of South Jutand's reunification with mother country 1920

 

The main figure is a woman who is looking down at an adolescent girl who holds or, rather, she clings to her side, looking up but not at the woman so up and away into the distance at the sky or to the heavens. It is a powerful depiction of a mother embracing or drawing in a child for their protection.

The woman is wearing a loose, finely-pleated costume, that is clearly classical in style, with an outer garment or stola that she is lifting to cover the girl who is naked … nakedness, at least here, implying both innocence and vulnerability.

The sculptor was Axel Poulsen who nearly twenty years later repeated the image of mother and child - a woman holding a dead youth slumped across her lap - for the incredibly powerful stone sculpture for the Mindelund Park in Copenhagen that is a memorial garden for the dead of the Second World War.

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