HC Ørstedsværket / HC Ørested Power Station


Designed by the architect Andreas Fussing, work on the power station began in 1916 and was completed by 1920 although there have been several major additions. The long turbine hall with shallow curved roof in concrete was part of the first phase. Additions in 1924 and 1932 were designed by Louis Hygom and Waldemar Schmidt and for that phase Burmeister & Wain built what was then the world’s largest diesel engine.

Some roads around and through the works are open to the public and there is a museum here and open days when it is possible to see some of the machinery halls. 

This is certainly some of the most dramatic architecture in the city and should have been a model for some of the recent developments around the city - particularly for the Carlsberg redevelopment but also for the overall planning of the North Harbour area. 

The power station is Functionalism at its best … carefully controlled and beautifully proportioned buildings in the style known as New Classicism and incredibly important industrial archaeology that tells the history of electric power in the city.

Of course, that’s not to suggest that new architecture in the city has to be a pastiche of industrial buildings of the past but that modern buildings achieve the scale but seem thin and flimsy and curiously rather cautious when compared with the bold compositions here that use very strong but carefully controlled colour; strong use of shadow and strong, simple but beautifully proportioned fenestration and rational design where function, generally, is expressed in the form.

A new metro station is due to be built here, just south of the power station and there are plans to build blocks of apartments along the water frontage but it is to be hoped that they respect the form and the importance of the architecture of the power station. There is also to be a new bridge to link this part of the harbour development with the new areas further south … all part of developing the circuit of the harbour to encourage people to cycle, run or walk around the harbour.

Knippelsbro - KULTURTÅRNET


At the centre of the harbour is Knippelsbro - the bridge between the historic centre of the city and Christianshavn. There has been a bridge here since the early 17th century when houses and warehouses were first built on land claimed from the sea in what was then a wide stretch of open water between the walled settlement of Copenhagen and the island of Amager.

The present bridge was completed in 1937 - designed by Kaj Gottlob and built by Wright, Thomsen & Kier with Burmeister & Wain - an engineering company whose works were just to the west of the bridge and whose ship yards were then to the east at Refshaleøen.

Earlier bridges had been at the level of the quay so had to be raised for most shipping to pass and were relatively narrow. As the port expanded, traffic crossing over and passing under the bridge increased so the new bridge, with a deck well over 27 metres wide, meant there could be tram tracks in each direction down the centre, wide lanes for traffic and wide pavements and, set much higher, with long approach ramps on both sides, the bridge only had to be raised for the larger ships passing through to the quays where the National Library now stands and to a long line of quays along the Islands Brygge side.

With its two copper-clad towers on distinctive stone piers, set just out from the quays, the bridge is an iconic and perhaps the iconic feature of the inner harbour.

Those towers held control rooms and sleeping accommodation for the men who supervised and opened the bridge but with the decline in harbour traffic the bridge is now controlled from the tower on the city side and the tower on the south or Christianshavn side of the bridge has been redundant for many years. A long campaign of lobbying and a serious programme of restoration work has lead to the south tower reopening as a new cultural attraction in the city. Visitors can climb up to the upper viewing gallery for amazing views up and down the harbour and in the process appreciate the quality of the well-thought through and careful design of the tower itself … now restored as one of the major monuments in the city from the 1930s that can be seen in its original form.

Some facilities were upgraded, including the fitting out of a new kitchen, so the tower can be used for social and cultural events including as a venue for meetings and meals and there have even been a couple of jazz concerts.

For information - Kulturtårnet or email l.lyndgaard@gmail.com