looking down the harbour


Walking over the new bridge from the Christianshavn or Opera House side of the harbour to Nyhavn, on Sunday afternoon, this was the view down the harbour looking towards Knippelsbro.

It was mid afternoon so the light was dropping and the buildings were reduced to silhouettes - almost to a series of planes - as if they were the scenery flats of a giant theatre. 

It is curious to see which buildings are obvious and which are not. On the left is the warehouse that for now is the home of the Danish Architecture Centre. The outline of the towers of the bridge - of Knippelsbro itself - has been lost against the scale of the more recent buildings that are set on either side beyond but the beautiful curve of the bridge arch stands out. The distinct mass of the Black Diamond - the national library just beyond the bridge on the right  - has been lost in the gloom but the bright fractured cubes of the new BLOX building beyond, almost in the centre of the view, is caught in the sun reflected up off the water. This will be the new home of DAC from next Spring. The red-brick apartment building in front of the bridge - between the harbour and the 17th-century Bourse - is oddly a distraction and even from this distance the superstructure on top of the hotel tower looks a mess.

Perhaps most people crossing over the harbour do little more than glance at the view but that does not make it any less important to make sure that new buildings do not intrude or distract … new developments should not be dramatic or iconic or challenging or brave … just simply a good neighbour that slots into the view down the harbour rather than dominating it.