Oslo Plads is in front of the station and takes the road over the railway
the building being converted and extended by KHR is in the top angle of the junction with the Citadel to the right - to the east - the main railway station building to the left - to the west - Den Frie opposite, on the other side of the junction and the northern-most houses of the famous 17th-century Nyboder centre bottom
towards the top left of the view are the engineering works for the new Metro station that will open this summer and on the left edge of the view are the earthworks and lakes that survive from the historic city defences … it would be difficult to find a more prominent or more sensitive site for a new development in Copenhagen
Designed by the Copenhagen architects KHR - this building, on Oslo Plads in Copenhagen, is not finished but has, already, attracted a huge amount of criticism.
It has been described as looking like a collapsed cake; one national newspaper critic has suggested that it should be nominated for an award as the grimmest building in the city; someone on the board of a conservation society has demanded that work should stop immediately and members of the planning committee are already stepping back from their decision to give consent by saying that it looks nothing like the drawings.
It is not actually a new building but a dramatic remodelling of a single-storey and very brutal concrete block that was a supermarket and sports shop with an extension to the railway station - Østerport Station - immediately to the left in this view.
The building was L-shaped, facing onto both roads with a courtyard at a lower level to the back, in the angle of the L, where a new office building has been constructed.
The design was bound to be contentious because this is an incredibly sensitive site … the ornate station building dates from just after 1900; opposite the building - behind the camera in this view - is a very quirky wooden building that was used by a famous group of landscape painters and is now an art gallery - Den Frie - Gustafskyrkan - the Swedish Church on the other side of the road, to the right in this view, was completed in 1911 and is a very fine building and, more important, immediately behind the church is the Kastellet - the citadel - with ramparts dating from the late 17th century and one of the most important green spaces in the city.
An extra floor has been added above the supermarket but it is the odd, raspberry-sorbet colour of the glass cladding and the unrelenting horizontal line of the front that seems to be the problem.
A wider issue is actually one about road planning: this is an incredibly wide junction with traffic heading out of the city along the coast to Hellerup and Klampenborg to the north that crosses in front of the station and traffic for the Oslo Ferry terminal, traffic for the new district of Nordhavn - North Harbour - and tourists buses for the cruise ship terminals all head along the road past the church.
The solution, over the years, has been to make the roads wider and wider - to create separate filter lanes for dealing with the traffic lights - and this has taken away much of the pavement but it is hardly a ringing endorsement for a new building to say that it might look better set back beyond a deep pavement heavily planted with trees.
Someone told me that in the late 19th century, as more and more buildings in Copenhagen were built in brick, with brickwork with ornate patterns or fine moulded or shaped details in brick, bricklayers were sent off to Germany to learn to do it properly.
I’m not sure if that is true or not but certainly by the 1890s and into the early 20th century, better buildings in Copenhagen had very good high-quality brickwork with a lot of ornament.
By the 1920s, with the arrival of first classical and then functional styles for the best architecture, brickwork, generally, became less ornate but still of a high quality and not just for public buildings but also for the better apartment buildings.
Patterns of coursing and the use of different colours of brick together enliven what would otherwise be stark or severe exteriors. This apartment block was built in 1930 and is in Skoleholdervej - the road that runs across the south boundary of the north-west cemetery.
Similar brickwork, with alternate courses set forward and back to create the effect of horizontal ribbing, has been used at Amaryllis Hus - the new apartment building in Valby but in sunk panels beside windows within a regular square grid.
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.
Irreplaceable Landscapes continues at Danish Architecture Centre until 26 May 2019
This new apartment building on Dorotheavej - affordable housing designed by Bjarke Ingels Group - has just been nominated for the Bygningspræmiering - the annual city architectural award.
Out to the north-west of the city centre, just over 4 kilometres from city hall, this is an interesting area just below Bispebjerg and Nordvest cemetery, with a mixture of older apartment buildings and new apartment developments but also older industrial buildings on either side of a main road and, to the west, just beyond this site, low suburban housing.
The main road, Frederiksborgvej runs north - climbing up the long slope up to Bispebjerg - and Dorotheavej is on the west side, itself rising up a slope across the hill, with the new apartment building just in from the main road and on a very wide site with a long frontage to the street that faces south.
The form of the block is a long, gentle and sinuous curve back away from the street towards the centre but hard against the pavement at each end with the area in front planted with grass and trees. There is a high and wide archway through to the back of the building at the point where that curve is furthest back from the street.
The apartments have the typical through form - typical for Copenhagen - so here with a series of seven separate entrances along the façade and each giving access to a staircase with an apartment on each side at each level those apartments are relatively narrow but deep and run through from front to back of the block.
By coincidence - in the middle of a series of posts about housing schemes that are classified as vulnerable with what are now defined by the Danish government as parallel communities - the most recent newsletter from Realdania to arrive in my inbox is about a new research project funded by them and to be undertaken by the Aarhus School of Architecture to map out and assess buildings in these vulnerable neighbourhoods.
The report will include a valuation of the heritage and cultural value of these buildings and will be completed in May and then submitted to housing organisations and municipalities.
For readers who are not Danish and might not have heard of the them, Realdania is a major philanthropic association that was established in 2000 and is now involved at all levels with the built environment by undertaking research, providing subsidies and grants for restoration or improvement of historic buildings of all types or by supporting major new building projects. They have also acquired important historic buildings of all periods which Realdania have restored and given to public bodies or restored and then let to appropriate tenants but usually with some access for the public.
They now have a strong catalogue of publications and they send out the regular newsletter with information about their projects or about exhibitions where they are involved or with information about their new publications. Many of their assessments, and their technical reports and guides to historic buildings and monuments can be read on line.
Since 1902 the city of Copenhagen has made an annual award for the best architecture of the year.
Finalists for 2019 have been selected and the overall winner will be announced at the city hall on 10 April.
There are now four categories under which designs are considered for the award.
New buildings and extensions of residential, commercial and cultural institutions.
Restoration, reconstruction, renewal and conversion of listed buildings and buildings worthy of preservation, renewal and transformation of cultural or architecturally valuable urban areas and conversion of other urban areas.
Refurbishment of apartments established in buildings that previously served other purposes.
Urban environments, such as squares, parks and facilities and gable decorations, signage and furnishings.
Designmuseum Danmark, Bredgade 68, Copenhagen
A major exhibition has opened at Designmuseum Danmark on the history, the staff and their teaching and the work of the Bauhaus school of architecture and design.
This reassessment was conceived by Vitra Design Museum and Bundeskunsthalle, Bonn to mark 100 years since the opening of the Bauhaus.
review to follow
the exhibition continues until 1 December 2019
Last night was the opening of the redesigned interior of SPACE10 - the Research and Design Lab in the Meat Market district of the city.
They now have a new street-level gallery space and café area - a Test Kitchen that has been developed with Depanneur - and office space on the first floor has been rearranged so the work areas can be reconfigured for an increase from 10 to 30 people now working here.
Spacon & X have designed the area "not to last but to adapt" with a strong steel framework with panels that can be inserted as required, in part to reduce noise, for work pods.
With this project, SPACE10 and Spacon & X have reassessed how people work in flexible common space with the aim to boost "innovation, wellbeing and morale."
The opening was also an opportunity to launch SolarVille
The Danish Navy maintain an important though reduced presence in Copenhagen - with the main naval bases for the country now in Frederikshaven and Korsør - but there are plans for much that is still here to be moved away from the city and recently there have been discussions to decide on the most appropriate use for the historic naval buildings on Nyholm.
This is an important part of the harbour and not simply because Nyholm is prominent on the east side of the entrance to the historic inner harbour but also because the island has an important and symbolic place in the history of the city. On the emplacement at the north end of the islands are guns for official salutes to mark royal and national occasions and the flag flown here has huge significance.
When the royal yacht returns to Copenhagen, it is moored immediately north of Nyholm.
There are important historic buildings here including two of the most extraordinary buildings in the city … the Mast Crane that is an amazing example of maritime engineering and the Hovedvagt or Main Guard House with a feature on the roof that looks like a giant chess piece. Both date from the middle of the 18th century and both are by the important architect Philip de Lange.
photograph taken from the harbour ferry as it pulled in at the landing stage just below Skuespilhuset - the National Theatre.
Nyholm is the island between the Opera House and Refshaleøen and at the centre of this view is the distinct silhouette of the 17th-century Mast Crane
the cormorants are on an artificial reef that was created in 2017 to encourage biodiversity in the harbour. The University of Aarhus has produced a report …
looking across to Nyholm from the south - from the canal to the east of the opera house
Spanteloftsbygningen looking across the canal from the south east
The Mast Crane from the south with the low but wide Drawing Building to its east
Søminegraven - the canal along the east side of Nyholm from the south
Hovedvagt - Main Guard House or ‘Under the Crown’ from the east designed by Philip de Lange
Workshops at the south-east corner of Nyholm built in the late 19th-century
It has just been announced that the building of the National Bank of Denmark in the centre of Copenhagen - designed by Arne Jacobsen and completed in 1978 - has to undergo an extensive programme of repairs. As this will take several years, the bank and it's staff are to move out of the building until the works are completed.
This plot on Nansensgade - a street a few blocks out from Nørreport - has been empty since the late 1980s … simply a gap in the street frontage with a garden behind a fence.
The new building here was designed by Christensen & Co and completed last summer.
Built by the city social services, the apartments are for vulnerable young people and are used as a staging post to give them help and support before they move on to more independent lives.
It is a narrow plot, so the entrance door is set off to one side - leaving space for one shop on the ground floor and the staircase is at the back, turned to run up across the garden side. On the floors above, the apartments are arranged to follow the well-established Copenhagen form with two apartments at each level, one to the right and one to the left, with the pattern broken at the top floor where there is a ninth apartments on one side and a roof terrace to the other.
To the street the façade has a checkerboard pattern of plain copper panels that step forward boldly to give privacy to the balconies of each apartment and narrow windows in the sides give views up and down this lively street.
My career has been spent working on historic architecture and conservation but that does mean that I can't appreciate good modern architecture even if, as here in a good street of good buildings with a distinct character, it seems to break many of the conventions.
Breaking rules or breaking conventions or, as here, breaking forward of the regular line of the facades along the street, is fine if it's done knowingly. Rules and conventions should not be broken just for the sake of it but here it clearly adds a dynamic to the street frontage and the choice of material and the colour is spot on.
Back at the end of November, there was a short post about extensive work across Slotsplads - the public square in front of Christiansborg - the parliament building in the centre of Copenhagen.
The main reason for remodelling this large and important public space was to bring some order to the area where, as a temporary security measure to thwart attacks with vehicles, a line of rough boulders had been set out in an arc on the outer edge of the square. The boulders have been replaced with large granite spheres and new setts were laid across the whole area. Security barriers were in place that drop down into the ground for access to the front of the building but work was ongoing - particularly along the canal in front of the square where new paving has been laid and a line of new trees have been planted.
Plans for this work showed the old lights but in a new arrangement in a straight line across the facade. There were electric cables in place with a rough gap in the cobbles where each light was to go but, given the time of year, there was a line of large Christmas trees here across the front of the building and all strung with fairy lights.
Now, with the new year, the Christmas trees have gone and the new lights have been installed in a straight line across the front, regularly-spaced and just out from a line of shallow steps. Ornate historic iron lamps are set on simple grey, marble bases and the effect is good … ordered and appropriate in a down-played but monumental sort of way.
The view from my desk ….
it’s Christmas Eve and it’s snowing so I guess this is now a proper White Christmas
select any image to open in slide show
approaching the pavilion on the path along the edge of the defences of Kastellet
Langeliniepavillonen from the south east
drawing for the pavilion designed by Jørn Utzon and a digital simulation of the pavilion for the exhibition Jørn Utzon - Horisont now at the Danish Architecture Center
If you did a headcount - even if it would be for a rather odd census - then it's possible that the Pavilion on the Langelinie Promenade is seen but ignored by more tourists than any other prominent building in Copenhagen and simply because they are intent in their route march there and their route march back to see Den Lille Havfrue - the Little Mermaid - on the foreshore just beyond the pavilion.
However, the pavilion has an odd and complicated and fascinating history that should be better known … particularly as, but not just because, this year is the 60th anniversary year of the present building.
Langeliniepavillonen is on the site of a water gate on the outer defences of Kastellet … the 17th-century fortress that guarded the approach to the harbour from the sound from the north.
By the late 19th century, although there was still a garrison in Kastellet, the main defences had been established further out at Charlottenlund, some 6 kilometres to the north beyond Hellerup, and this thin strip of land between the sound and the outer water-filled defence of the fortress was used by the worthy citizens of Copenhagen as a promenade. The first pavilion here, built in 1885, was designed by Vilhelm Dahlerup for Dansk Forening for Lystsejlads (the Danish organisation for boating) but that was replaced in 1902 by a pavilion designed by Fritz Koch that included facilities for Kongelig Dansk Yachtklub (the royal Danish yacht club).
This was a popular destination for citizens just beyond gardens with sculptures and a walk could continue on to the long wide promenade along the sea side of the Langlelinie Kaj that had been built at the beginning of the 20th century as the outer quay of the new Free Port.
The pavilion was shelled and destroyed by the Germans in 1944 and it was not until 1954 that a competition was held to design a new pavilion. The chosen design was by Eva and Nils Koppel and the new pavilion was completed by 1958.
It is a slightly strange building … or at least it is strange for the location … starkly modern and of its period, so much closer in style and details of glazing and fittings to the contemporary design of the SAS Hotel by Arne Jacobsen than it was to the ornate pavilion it replaced that had polygonal end towers and ornate domes.
There were large dining rooms in a huge low square box raised up and cantilevered out on all four sides over a lower floor containing the entrance and service rooms. A service road cuts under the sea side but with the room above connecting across to a terrace and the promenade walk. These public rooms had huge windows that look out over the sea or look across the outer water and banks of the defences of Kastellet.
A photograph of the dining room taken in 1959 shows the large lamps - the Koglen or Artichoke lamp designed for this building by Poul Henningsen.
The current exhibition at the Danish Architecture Centre on the work of Jørn Utzon has a model and a reconstruction of the design that Utzon submitted for the competition for a new pavilion. He proposed an amazing pagoda with outer walls of glass and the floors springing out from a central stem with staircases and lifts.
Surely his design has to be one of the most intriguing and spectacular buildings of unbuilt Copenhagen … those buildings for the city that did not get beyond the architects drawings.
Major work on the entrance courtyard of the deign museum in Copenhagen has just been completed.
The gate piers and ironwork across the street frontage of the 18th-century courtyard have been rebuilt; cobbles across the area relaid; the entrance and ticket area for the museum has been moved out to a pavilion on one side of the courtyard along with a small coffee shop.
Five free-standing display cabinets have been constructed so that objects from the collection can be brought out from the museum to the forecourt and the first exhibition in this revitalised space has opened.
For the first exhibition here on the entrance courtyard, new design is now being shown under the title SHARING. An information panel explains the ideas behind this major project and is quoted here in full …….
The works in these five new display cases on the entrance courtyard are ….
Ceramics by Karen Kjældgård-Larsen and Tine Broksø
Dele al familien / Parts of the family 2018
Blå red violet / Blue Red Violet textile by Kvadrat
KIBISI / BIOMEGA Bjarke Ingels, Jens Martin Skibsted, Lars Holme Larsen
Elcykel / E-bike OKO Night Glow 2017
En firkant af universet / A Square of the Universe 2018 LED
A dramatic exhibition and one of a series at Louisiana under an overall title Arkitekturens Værksteder / Architecture Workshops - ELEMENTAL profiles the work and the approach to architecture of the office in Santiago of Alejandro Aravena.
The process of design is here a main focus of the exhibition that begins with a display of sketch books - a primary stage in their design process. With excellent visuals, on small screens around the edge of the display, you can select a sketch book and explore the contents by swiping through the pages that include both notes and detailed drawings.
In conjunction with this are films running across three large images on a nearby wall that turn through sketchbooks page by page.
The design process for this exhibition space - from initial ideas through to the construction of the final display - was treated like a specific design project by ELEMENTAL to explain their work process and philosophy. A series of large panels on a lower level of the galleries trace through the whole development of the exhibition from the first letter from Louisiana proposing the exhibition through to the construction in the space. It is rare, as a visitor to an exhibition, to be able to track in such detail the work involved in producing an exhibition on this scale and of this complexity.
There are separate areas with photographs forming a time line for projects and models showing the primary volumes and forms of major buildings. There is a sequence of photographs and drawings of the now famous social housing - half fitted out in the initial construction and half to be completed by the families at a later stage and a sequence of prototypes showing the development of the design of Silla Chair - an open source design. Under a huge suspended box, there is a film of the projects from a drone.
Arkitektens fotokonkurrence 2018 / The Architect's Photo Contest 2018
Following a competition by the association of architects, this exhibition shows the five winning portfolios, each with five photographs of a building or a single architectural project.
In a World that seems to be dominated by superficial Instagram images this is an important exhibition because instead of a quick glance and a swipe right the photographs are presented for careful consideration.
It is difficult to capture, for the record, the qualities and the character of a building in a few images and one function of these photographs is to slow down the process of looking. These photographs are about trying to record what is essential about the style and the form and the materials and the setting of a building.
the exhibition was open as part of the Day of Architecture on 1 October but continues through to the 26 October
1124 Copenhagen K
Immediately after the War there was clearly a shortage of housing but also cities realised that poorly-built housing - particularly the dark and tightly-packed housing that had been built in courtyards - had to be demolished and replaced with appropriate homes of a much higher standard
The exhibitions at Arkitektforeningen for the Day of Architecture is an opportunity to see here again the exhibition Boliger til Folket / Housing for the people about social housing in Denmark after the Second World War, so through the1940s and 1950s.
This was shown first in Copenhagen in the central library in March 2017 and was reviewed here.
This is a second chance if you missed the exhibition the first time round but it is well worth a second look with profiles of several major housing schemes and includes comments by residents from interviews some remembering what the apartments were like when they were new.
One aim of the exhibition was to re-establish the merits of these apartment blocks by focusing on the quality of the design and the high quality of the initial building work but it also emphasises the reasons for good and sympathetic restoration work to ensure that these buildings not only survive but that they have an ongoing role as good and desirable housing.