voted the grimmest


This week, the Danish newspaper Berlingske published the results of a poll where they asked readers to vote for the grimmest building in Copenhagen.

With over 50% of the votes, the new building at Østerport by KHR Architecture won … although in the circumstances perhaps winning is not the right word as, presumably, it is not an accolade the architects will cherish.

And it is not even finished.

Lars Kragh, from the architects, defended the design by suggesting that once "there are beautiful trees on the tarmac and there is life in the shops and workplaces are in use and the construction fence is gone, there is no doubt that the experience will be great."

An odd plea. So, the design will be fine once it is hidden behind trees and when people are using the shops and offices and are too busy to look at the architecture?

One critic summed up the problem well by pointing out that, “the building overwhelms the urban space with its size and tasteless façade."

If you are interested …

BLOX, just a year since it was completed, came in second
House of Industry, close to the city hall, was at three
Bohr Tower, out at the redevelopment of the old Carlsberg site, was at four
The Opera House received the fifth largest number of vote.

The Opera House, designed by Henning Larsen, is interesting because it is now fifteen years old but clearly that is not long enough to either endear itself or to become so familiar that people stop reacting to it.

earlier post on the Østerport building

KHR Architecture
Berlingske article

Proposals for Dokøen - the area around the Opera House

The Opera House from the north west


Designed by Henning Larsen Architects and completed in 2005, the Opera House dominates the central harbour in Copenhagen … in part because, obviously, it is a very very large building but the scale is exaggerated by the open areas to either side with lawn to the south - over an area about 140 metres by 140 metres - and on the north side an even larger space 160 metres by 160 metres that is now mostly car park but divided by a dock running back from the harbour and with a historic brick pumping house that dates from the 19th century along with massive gantries of two harbour cranes that were kept when this part of the dock was cleared.


The original scheme included large apartment buildings that were to have flanked the Opera House but with the onset of the economic recession that phase of the development was put on hold. 

New proposals, under discussion, are to proceed with building the apartments planned for the north side of the Opera House around the dock - retaining the cranes and the pump house - but for the area to the south the new plan is to construct a large underground car park and then reinstate the area of grass for a new park with landscaping. 

It has been suggested that the quay facing across towards the harbour - facing towards Ofelia Plads but now set back and at an angle - could be pulled forward to line up with the edge of Papirøen to the south. Would that be a gain? It might make the harbour too regular - too much like a wide canal - and there is another potential ‘loss’ because any development and even more dense planting will in part hide and will reduce the visual impact and impressive scale of the two long historic blocks along the canal to the east that were warehouses but are now converted into homes.