Irreplaceable Landscapes - by Dorte Mandrup

model of Vadehavscentret / The Wadden Sea Center in Vester Vedsted - completed in 2017


With the title Irreplaceable Landscapes, this major exhibition at the Danish Architecture Centre starts with the new Icefjord visitor centre and research centre that overlooks the Sermeq Kujalleq glacier in Ilusulissat on the west coast of Greenland.

Then, in the main exhibition space at BLOX, are models and information panels for an astounding trilogy of buildings - the three new visitor centres designed by Dorte Mandrup in three different countries that overlook three of the distinct seascapes of Vadehavet / The Wadden Sea.

Vadehavscentret - The Wadden Sea Center - overlooks the marshland of Vester Vedsted in Denmark; the Vadehavscenter - Wadden Sea World Heritage Center - in Wilhelmshaven in Germany incorporates the remains of a war-time bunker and Vadehavscenter - The Wadden Sea Center -  is on the tidal waters of Lauwersoog in the Netherlands.

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Irreplaceable Landscapes continues at the Danish Architecture Centre until 26 May 2019

Dorte Mandrup Arkitekter

edited by Tomas Louri,
Arvinus + Orfeus 2014

Has a foreword by Kent Martinussen of the Danish Architecture Centre, a conversation between Dorte Mandrup and Christian Bundegaard and an essay by Hans Ibelings and entries for 29 buildings - each with a short assessment - and divided into four sections under the headings Move/Play, Community/Live, Add/Change and B-Sides.

Good simple layout - deceptively simple so clever and well thought-through layout and graphics - and exemplary typography. Ends with useful chronology of work.

Dorte Mandrup

Jægersborg Water Tower by Dorte Mandrup


In any major city, industries change or the way that utility services are provided have to adapt or are modernised and substantial and striking buildings can become redundant.

In Copenhagen many of these industrial buildings have been converted in an imaginative way to become housing or major gallery spaces for exhibitions or have become venues for concerts or theatre … buildings mentioned here recently include the former locomotive works that are now an exhibition hall - used for Finders Keepers and the installation by Hiroshi Sambuichi in The Cistern - an imaginative conversion of an underground water reservoir in Frederiksberg that is now a dramatic gallery space.

Many of the buildings are not just striking or unusual but are normally exceptionally robust - they were built well and built to last - and some were designed by well-established or well-known architects and engineers so, from that point of view alone, they merit being retained but in reality that means justifying the cost by finding new uses.

It seemed worth starting an occasional series of posts here about some of those buildings.

The water tower at Jægersborg is on a high point above the city - about 12 kilometres to the north of the city centre and close to the rail line and Jægersborg suburban station. Designed by Edvard Thomsen and completed in 1954, it has a large circular water tank supported on a complicated and tight arrangement of concrete columns with 12 outer columns and 6 inner columns forming an inner hexagonal pattern of cross beams. 

The initial scheme included a plan for apartments but it seems the idea was abandoned because of noise pollution.

An extensive remodelling of the tower by Dorte Mandrup Arkitekter was completed in 2006 to provide leisure facilities on the three lower levels and student housing above. Accommodation is in pods with bed-sitting rooms with large, full-height windows angled to make the most of the views and the sunlight.



On the walk across to look at the new Pelican storage building the light was good for taking photographs of the Prismen sports and culture centre that is just to the south - on the opposite side of Prags Boulevard.

Designed by Dorte Mandrup, the sports hall opened in 2006. 

This part of the city lacked sports facilities and the hall covers a large space for a variety of community activites and although its envelope of polycarbonate panels might look like an out-of-town shopping shed from the outside - the inside has amazing natural light and it feels more like a large public square that happens to be covered.

The shape and volume is deceptively simple so, although it looks like a large wedge, there is a complex relationship with buildings to the east with two traditional Copenhagen apartment buildings of U shape - both around three sides of a courtyard - and with a short street between them so the slope of the roof runs up to four high gable ends and the building closes off two courtyards and a short street. The plan is also a wedge shape that tapers in on the north and south side and forms interesting triangular public spaces towards Prags Boulevardand to Holmbladsgade to the south.

PRISMEN, Holmbladsgade 71


Dorte Mandrup Arkitekter


Næstvedgade Day Care Centre, Copenhagen (2004)


Slowly but hopefully surely more architects and designers are being added to the menus that drop down from the bar at the top of the site. These pages are simply a broad introduction to the work of an individual or a studio ... a quick reference point for a reader wanting to find links to a person or a company that has been the subject of a post so links will be added to existing works, to provide a context, or for new work or to web sites, exhibition details, and references to catalogues and monographs.

The latest addition is a brief summary of the works of the Copenhagen architects Dorte Mandrup Arkitekter.