Our Urban Living Room

Cobe don't seem to be architects who would set out any sort of manifesto and certainly not architects to follow any proscriptive formula but the introduction by Dan Stubbergaard for the catalogue of the exhibition of their work at the Danish Architecture Centre in 2016 does introduce their concept of the "Urban Living Room" where people, in a very Danish way, take ownership of public space.

Danes occupy outdoor space - not in the sense that political protestors occupy a building - although that can happen - but occupy in the sense of moving into and making use of space outside. That can be to play or to eat or simply socialise … to sit in the sun and chat.

People in Copenhagen excuse this as their response to the long dark winters of Scandinavia so any sunny spell has to be grabbed as a chance to sit out but the air here is clear and actually there are bright days well into the late Autumn and from early in the New Year - as long as you find ways to cope with the cold - so there is no likelihood of being deprived of vitamin D and it seems more to do with wanting to be outside and more to do with a long and well-established tradition of using outside space for socialising when the city is tightly packed with buildings and, with so many apartments, homes can feel cramped.

With their work on public spaces such as Israels Plads and the public space at street level at Nørreport the Cobe approach to designing good and useable urban landscapes and with good street furniture is fairly clear but it becomes much more interesting where they are also designing the buildings and particularly with their designs for schools where children move between indoor and outdoor space much more through a normal day.