lighting the square at Christiansborg

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.

Out of Office at DAC

Out of Office was established by the landscape architects Adam Roigart and Martin Hedevang Andersen who both trained in Copenhagen.

They work on urban landscapes on public streets and in courtyards in the city and use prototyping to test ideas and to understand and to explore user needs and the users are involved in the construction work to establish a strong sense of ownership.

Materials are recycled and for the urban garden in the staircase gallery at DAC (The Danish Architecture Centre) they are growing zucchini in bricklayers' buckets on recycled pallets. The plants will be cared for by local school children.

The Out of Office on-line site has photographs of their projects including courtyard gardens for apartment building on Jagtvej and Sjælør Boulevard in Copenhagen, a Winter Pavilion, and a street garden in Krusågade in Vesterbro.

The garden at DAC has been set up with the Klima 100 exhibition in the gallery at the next level down.

Out of Office

Dansk Arkitektur Center,
Bryghuspladsen 10,
1473 Copenhagen

Alfred Nobels Bro

 
Alfreds Bro Map.jpg
 

A new harbour bridge, Alfred Nobels Bro, was opened in the middle of December.

In the south harbour, south-west of the centre, the bridge crosses Frederiksholmsløbet - a wide canal off the main harbour - and links Enghave Brygge and the area around the shopping centre of Fisketorvet - to the large area of new apartment buildings of Teglholmen.

The north side of the bridge is close to the power station H C Ørsted Værket and to the site for a new metro station. Until the excavations and work for the metro are completed in 2023, the new bridge can only be used by cyclists and pedestrians but it will then take all vehicles.

This is the final link that completes the 13 kilometre circuit around the inner harbour for bikes and walkers and runners.

The canal here is 90 metres wide and the bridge deck is wide with two lanes for traffic at the centre; wide lanes for bikes and on both sides wide pavements. The pavement on the side looking inwards, down the canal, is bowed outwards and has a broad single bench, with its back hard against the road, 70 metres long and with a bowed shape that follows the plan of the bridge itself.

It's not clear why the bench faces down the canal rather than towards the open harbour unless the idea is that people will sit here to catch the last of the evening sun - an attempt to repeat the way that Dronning Louises Bro over the lakes to the west of the city is used as a popular place for people to sit in the evening before they head home from work.

The deck is supported on pairs of concrete columns that lean outwards but the structure is so large that it can hardly be called elegant and until the new apartment buildings are completed it really would be difficult to describe the views from the bridge as attractive.

The team behind the design of the bridge were COBE Architects, the engineers MOE, Arkil Holding A/S and G9 Landscape who made the mahogany bench.

shopping in Jægersborggade

 

 

In the middle of December The Guardian newspaper published an article that listed ten "cool shopping districts around the world". These were "readers tips" so not exactly a methodical survey but nevertheless interesting. Included in the list was Jægersborggade in Copenhagen.

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select any image to open in slide show

 

it's all in the details

 

When there are surveys where people are asked if they are happy living in the city or town in which they live then Copenhagen comes high in the rankings.

There are obvious reasons why there are high level of approval from so many in Copenhagen for their city … it is relatively compact for a capital city so it has a human scale …  the climate does what it is supposed to do so it's not ridiculously cold in the winter and it's pleasantly warm in the summer … warm enough to swim in the sea from beaches nearby or the water is warm enough and clean enough to swim in the harbour … and swimming in the harbour is possible because there are no major industries that pollute the environment so clean air and clean water are further reasons for people to be happy here.

There is a good railway service to other parts of the country and to get to neighbouring countries and there is a good international airport with high passenger approval ratings and it's a short metro ride from the city centre. To say that people can get out of a city quickly and easily is perhaps not the most obvious reason for people feeling content but it's certainly better than living in a city where you feel trapped or it feels remote, far from anywhere you want to be.

Planners from around the world come to admire the architecture and the planning here and, in particular, come to see how and why the balance of private journeys are made by bike rather than by car … in themselves further reasons for being happy here or at least for being fitter.

There are also clear economic reasons for the success of the city … it has all the financial benefits and all the facilities that come from being a capital city … so the government, international delegations, national organisations and major companies are based here and the national theatre, the national library and so on are all here … but even so it is relatively small and it is a prosperous city but still a city with a strong if understated socialist ethos so extremes of wealth are not as obvious here as in many large cities.

All this is fine and has been assessed and analysed and written about in what seems like an endless number of articles but there is no simple Copenhagen ingredient … you can't take city X and add the Copenhagen factor and there you are … problems sorted.

I've lived in Copenhagen for getting on for five years and I've known the city for much longer and, for me, one important factor that makes the city an amazing place to live is that it is so rich visually … or do I mean simply interesting and attractive?

It's not just about obvious places like, for instance, the royal palace of Amalienborg and the Marble Church- although the square and the buildings are one of the great public spaces in Europe - but it's the quality and the good design of smaller buildings in the city and it's about the courtyards and the corners and the odd spaces where people really do think carefully about what they are doing with their buildings and with the urban landscape of their city.

This photograph was taken a month ago, walking across from Nørrebro to get to Sankt Hans Torv - so outside the centre of the city but not far out.

Along the side of Guldbergsgade - a busy street of apartment buildings and shops - some land has been divided up for community use. There is, of course, play equipment here for children but also a small zoo where, right in the middle of the city, children can see hens grubbing around and rabbits and other small animals. There are also around two dozen garden plots together along the street edge that have been allocated to local residents for growing vegetables or flowers and all have neat fencing, borders and narrow paths and a shed although to call them sheds is hardly an adequate word to describe these small summerhouses that are potting sheds and stores for tools but also a place to brew coffee and sit and watch or sit and talk and clearly reflect the character and interests of each gardener.

I took a slight diversion along the narrow path between the two rows of garden plots, and paused to take the photo because for me this seems to sum up what are crucial aspects of life in Copenhagen that few academic authors seem to consider when they write about planning and the quality of life here.

First this is a city where there is a strong sense of respect … the respect of people with a quiet pride in the city they live in but also a respect for property - their property, other people's property and the general public property of the city streetscape. There is some mindless vandalism but remarkably little when over a million people live together. These gardens are not in a wealthy or distinctly middle-class enclave … in fact the reputation of Nørrebro is anything but that … but people moving out onto and claiming public space is a strong and an important part of life all over the city.

Second, and perhaps more important, is that ordinary people living in Copenhagen seem to have a strong visual sense …. here, ordinary used to mean people not working in design. People are visually aware and visually literate and that is clear here.

In books and magazines and guides Copenhagen is described as a design city but Milan, Paris, London and New York are design cities but could hardly be more different. In part it is because those are cities where style and fashion but also wanting to stand out or make a statement are driving factors.

That's not, of course, to suggest that Copenhagen is unfashionable or unaware of fashion but visual sense here seems to be more firmly grounded: Copenhagen is a still a mercantile city where, for many many centuries, high-quality goods, made by craftsmen or by small independent companies, were and are respected; it is a city where the public face of a building or a business is important and it is a city where a good education in art and craft skills from a young age has been important in schools and through apprenticeships and technical training. So, in Copenhagen, design is not just about architects and designers and the design industries but good design permeates many aspects of daily life.

 

In the New Year a new occasional series of posts will look at some of these less-obvious aspects of architecture and urban planning in Copenhagen that together make it such a pleasant and attractive place to live.

update on the new bridge over the harbour

from the Christianshavn side of the harbour

 

On the Christianshavn side of the harbour, the paving and the cycle route with a bollard to separate out those coming from those going have all been laid out but the base for the new bridge has been covered temporarily with timber.

Round concrete piers for the bridge and the barriers to protect those piers are finished and on the far side - where the bridge lines up with the end of Vester Voldgade - next to BLOX - there are even traffic lights where cyclists will have to cross Christians Brygge - the main road with heavy traffic that runs along the quay. Again the base where the bridge lands on the city side has been covered for now with boarding. All it needs is the bridge … or rather all it needs is the remade bridge after the first version was dropped from a crane as it was being shipped from the manufacturer in the Netherlands.

There was a competition to name the new bridge and the most likely name seems to be Lille Langebro or Little Long Bridge as it crosses the harbour beside the main road bridge that was built in the 1950s.

Historic maps show that the new cycle bridge is on the line of an earlier Langebro so should it be the New Old Long Bridge? When the ditches of the city defences were filled in around 1870, a line of new apartment buildings were constructed along the line of bastions on the outer side of Vester Voldgade and H C Andersens Boulevard was laid out between those buildings and the Tivoli gardens. The map below from the 1860s shows, towards the top left corner, the old west gate to the walled city in the area of the large square in front of the town hall that was built around 1900.

Langeliniepavillonen / The Langelinie Pavilion

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.

LP_SoMe_Historisk_18.jpg

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.

a load of balls

 

There is an ongoing threat of terrorist attacks in cities around the World and in Copenhagen public spaces and pedestrian streets have been protected with different forms of barrier to keep out unauthorised vehicles. Across the entrance front of Christiansborg, the palace and the Danish parliament buildings in the centre of Copenhagen, a barrier of large, roughly-cut blocks of stone was a short-term solution to stop vehicles driving across the large public square.

Now, work on a permanent solution is almost finished.

At Slotsplads or Castle Square the large apron of cobbles in front of the castle with its equestrian statue of Frederik VII has been re-laid with new granite setts. There are now electric security barriers at entry points that drop down into the pavement to give official vehicles access and in a curve around the edge of the public space there is a sweep of very large stone balls - spheres in light grey granite 110 centimetres in diameter that are set close together.

It is not quite finished but recently temporary wire fences around the work site and plastic sheeting, that protected the stone spheres as work on laying the paving was completed, have all been removed.

Walking home the other evening just as it got dark was probably not the right time to take the best photograph but it does show one slightly odd thing: possibly because the fences have only just been removed or possibly because the spheres are actually set so close together but, for whatever reason, pedestrians do not seem to have reclaimed the space. Nobody was taking the short cut across the front of the building. Everybody was keeping to the edge of the square and keeping to the pavement outside the stone balls.

Steps across the front of the building in concrete have been rebuilt in the same pale granite and there are other changes that, although not dramatic, are important. Ornate, historic lamp standards will be moved back to the square but now to form a line straight across the façade and trees on the square that were felled for the work are not to be replanted where they were before but there will now be a line of 12 new trees on the far side of the road that runs across the front of the space between the square and the canal. With trees on the far side of the canal, this will create a new avenue flanking not a road but here a waterway and this will create a formal but natural edge to the public area. Parking bays for buses and coaches have been moved away so they intrude less.

Design work here is by GHB Landskabsarkitekter and there are interesting and important aspects to the new scheme. The work was extensive and features like felling the trees seems right now to be drastic but as soon as work equipment is moved away and people start reusing the space, it's likely that few will actually remember the earlier arrangement. Replacing the cobbles has changed the character of the space particularly as the previous pattern that radiated out from the entrance has been replaced with a regular and consistent arrangement of the granite setts making it perhaps starker but also more discrete and less in competition with the building to make the space grander and the high quality of the materials and the quality of the new work are also important as this respects and reinforces the significance of this major public and national space.

GHB Landskabsarkitekter

update - waste recycling in Christianshavn

the waste recycle bins on Overgaden Neden Vandet from the other side of the canal

 

 

Since a post here back on 6 October on the new trial waste recycle stations in Christianshavn there has been a development …. another station and with another three bins has appeared on the quay of Overgaden Neden Vandet.

It is similar to its companion, three metres or so away, with dark red metal cladding and a beguiling wooden seat, but it is not an exact clone … the slots are different and the labels showing what waste goes where have been shuffled around.

The paranoid think computers will take over the world and dispense with the people who made them but it would be ironic if we are watching and worrying about the wrong thing … now there are two on the canal side will there be shenanigans at night and a gaggle of baby waste bins soon? The one at the far end of the quay, with the books and the propaganda must be the ringleader but it's when the computers put their waste straight into the recycle bins that we have to worry. They must be watched.

Platant
Krilov Architects

the new waste recycle bins (closest to camera) and the notice explaining the scheme on the first

update on Karen Blixens Plads

from the east with the humanities library to the left

 

 

Back in June 2017 there was a post here on a scheme by the architectural studio COBE to re- landscape Karen Blixens Plads – the large public square on the southern campus of the university of Copenhagen.

Recently, walking through the university, there was a chance to take photographs of progress.

Now in place are the large sunken areas for new bikes stores for the thousands of bikes that thousands of students leave here every day and the main structures of artificial hills have risen over the bike stores so now hard landscaping is going in and then, presumably in the Spring, planting.

COBE

from the west entering the square from the metro

new metro hoardings

 

Around the city, the final stages of work on the new metro line means that the high hoardings around the engineering works for new stations have come down and work on new paving and hard landscaping has started but the extension of the metro out to the south harbour is not due to open until 2024. 

New hoardings have gone up around the site of the new station at Enghave Brygge and the paintings, in 12 sections on the theme of Evolution, are pretty amazing extending for nearly 500 metres … said to be the longest continuous graffiti in Europe.

The artists are Ulrik Schiødt, Peter Skensved, Michael Wisniewski og Caligr Oner står bag rekordmaleriet med deltagelse fra graffitikunstnerne Balstrøm, Welin, Sabe, Crema, Tonek, Toms, Name, Debs, Code, More, Then, Dae og Even.

 

the harbour sauna

The year is moving through fast … the winter sauna is now set up and open at the harbour swimming pool at Islands Brygge.

Recycle in Christianshavn

 

Two new recycle stations have been installed in Christianshavn on the quayside of the canal along Overgaden Neden Vandet. They take paper, plastic waste and metal in separate bins with your rubbish going in through clearly-labelled slots on the side away from the canal. These are sited to help people living in smaller and older apartment buildings nearby where there is not the space to have the large plastic recycling bins found in the courtyards of larger buildings.

Both are relatively tall and long but narrow and with rounded ends. One, nearly opposite Sofiegade, has metal cladding in a dull deep red and has an extended bench at one end, with an open circle cut out at the centre for a round table and the other, close to Bådsmandsstræde, is the same shape but is longer, with an additional bin to separate out paper and cardboard, and is covered with vertical strips of dark stained timber. It also has a bench at one end although here there is no table but, across the opposite end to the bench, this waste station has a curved cupboard with shelves inside that hold books for a book loan / book exchange scheme.

After depositing your rubbish, you can sit and watch what is going on along the canal or you can pick out a book to read. The only instruction for the books is a notice that suggests that it is a bit selfish to take away more than two books a day.

The waste stations are designed to take standard bins inside - both 660 litre and 240 litre bins - and the length can be shortened or extended to take fewer or more bins as appropriate for different sites.

These recycle stations along the canal are here for a trial period to assess how much they are used and to get the views of local people. They are certainly a good alternative to the large plastic recycle bins on streets nearby although one local woman, who saw me taking photographs, told me she thought the design was heavy and ugly. This seemed to be mainly because now, when she comes out of her apartment, she no longer has a clear view across the canal and down the street opposite and, I have to admit, it was a very nice view. Her own theory was that people in the planning department hated long open views down streets and wanted to close everything down into smaller spaces. Sort of the opposite to Haussmann?

Two design practices from Copenhagen - Platant and Krilove Architects - cooperated on the project.

Platant
Krilov Architects

 

the rain is coming - Heimdalsgade

In 2015, an exhibition at the Danish Architecture Centre - The Rain is Coming - set out the repercussions for the city from major changes in climate.

One obvious problem, already experienced in the city, is that sudden and heavy rain storms overwhelm the drainage system, so streets are inundated with water, traffic is severely disrupted, property damaged and drains and sewers broken or polluted water surges out into the Sound.

Since that exhibition, several extensive drainage and landscape schemes have been completed to cope with these sudden rain storms and the most recent is in Heimdalsgade in the city district of Nørrebro where innovative climate tiles for paving have been installed.

Design work was by Tredje Natur … an architectural and design studio founded in 2012 by Flemming Rafn Thomsen and Ole Schrøder with offices nearby. They undertook extensive research and development for the project over three years that was supported by funds from Realdania and Markedsmodningsfondenover.

Their new system manages both surface water and rain water from the roofs of the buildings along the street by taking it down through holes in the paving slabs and into a series of vertical and horizontal pipes, below the pavement, that control and direct rain water either to temporary storage before it is released in a controlled way into the drains or it is diverted into areas of planting.

Plugs within the pipes can change the configuration but can also transmit data for water management … controlling flow or in winter detecting that pavements have been salted so water cannot be directed to irrigation. These schemes have to protect sewers and stop contaminated surface water polluting water in streams, lakes or the Sound.

These plugs can also be adapted as sockets that take street furniture such as signs, lights and plant boxes.

Work was undertaken to coincided with work to replace pipework for the area heating system so it minimised extra road works and disruption.

The new climate paving can be seen along Heimdalsgade for 50 metres from the end furthest from Tagensvej … so at the corner with Overskæringen, outside the café at Heimdalsgade 22. With a new area of planting taken out into the road, this has meant a new if narrow but shielded public space that has already been colonised with tables and chairs from the cafe.

Tredje Natur

 
 

BIG Art at Kunsthal Charlottenborg

 

An impressive and entertaining exhibition at Kunsthal Charlottenborg with large-scale works created by artists working with the architectural studio of BIG and primarily for major new buildings or for public spaces.

Each work has a video presentation by Bjarke Ingels and this confirms that he is one of the most articulate proponents of modern architecture and planning.

the exhibition continues until 13 January 2019

Kunsthal Charlottenborg

restoration II - the forecourt of the design museum

 

Work continues at Designmuseum Danmark where the entrance gates, railings and stone piers along the street are being rebuilt and the setts of the forecourt relaid to form a new ramp to replace the steps up to the front entrance door and to install lighting and so on for new outdoor exhibition cases. 

The project - designed by the architectural practice COBE - includes a new ticket area, book shop and new cafe in the lower part of the old pharmacy … that’s the pavilion to the right of the forecourt.

 

As new blocks of stone have been brought to the site and set up, the work is an opportunity to see some of the details of 18th-century stone masons’ techniques that have been replicated … so it is possible to see the way bold mouldings are cut across large blocks to form plinths and caps to the piers.

The large ashlar blocks of the stone piers and the blocks that form the moulded bases and caps are dressed back with strong vertical tooling which contributes a distinct surface texture and gives a darker tone to the architectural details. Note how at each end of the ironwork screen the outer piers are not butted against the brickwork of the pavilions but are set into them which would suggest that the brickwork and stonework were built up at the same time … not one built against the other.

top left - the door into the former pharmacy of the hospital which will be the access to a new arrival space with ticket desk, book shop and new cafe. Note the silhouette in the brickwork of the ball finial and moulded cap of the stone pier that has been dismantled.

top centre - an iron pintel, set into the stonework of the pier, that will hold the strap of the lower hinge of the gate

 

Heavy spiked or barbed railings and the ornate iron gates are held in sockets cut into the blocks.

At this stage the gates are back on site but are on pallets so it is possible to see the robust quality of the iron work and to see how the straps of the gate hinges form a loop that will be dropped over hefty iron ‘pintels’ set into the stonework. 

This major project has also been an opportunity to repair some of the stonework on the entrance front of the main building and it is interesting to see around the doorway that although the stone frame or architrave of the door looks hefty or robust, it is, in fact, made up with relatively thin slips of stone with pieces forming the moulded front and separate pieces forming the reveal or jamb running back to the door frame and the brickwork behind is surprisingly crude.

 
 

a travesty

 

 

The Stelling Building on Gammeltorv in Copenhagen has new tenants with a new 7ELEVEN store on the ground floor. 

On a prominent site on a major historic square and on the route up to the cathedral, this building was commissioned by the Stelling Paint Company and was designed by Arne Jacobsen and completed in 1937. It was one of the first truly modern buildings in the centre of the city.

Obviously, for its present use, there are new fittings inside for food, take-away coffee and snacks but the most recent additions have been corporate shop signs on the outside.

There is a hefty new banner or long horizontal sign in the company branding that wraps around the corner above the shop windows and it projects forward of the facade because it is back lit. There are also two large, double-sided, illuminated square signs that project out from the frontage - one to Gammeltorv and one to the cross street Skindergade.

Look at historic photographs and you can see that the building and its tile cladding was designed with considerable care and with precise proportions and with high-quality and elegantly thin fittings. All in all, a very sophisticated building and yet this company sees it necessary, for commercial reasons, to desecrate the design. 

For a start, just what damage has been done to the historic fabric and the original facing materials when the signs were fixed? In any work, on any major historic building, the rule should be that alterations and additions are not intrusive and should be reversible so could be removed without leaving evidence or causing damage.

The tenants will argue that this work was necessary to ‘attract’ customers but the argument should have been that if the building could not be occupied successfully without doing this then it was not an appropriate building for their use.

The design of the Stelling Building was innovative and even controversial at the time. The severe style might not make it immediately obvious that this is a major historic building and, even now, it might not appeal to all tastes but those are not good reasons for allowing this to happen. 

It is a significant failure of the planning process in the city when this happens to such an important building by such an iconic Danish architect.

 

an earlier post about the Stelling Building

 

Frederiksberg Allé

 
Freds Alley.jpg

Recently, it was announced that Frederiksberg Allé is to be given special protection with a policy to retain its present character with controls on hard landscaping and planting but also to allow appropriate interventions to enhance the urban landscape.

The Allé is a fascinating street with a clear history and a wider importance - an international significance - as it represents a distinct and important phase of planning in the city.

It was laid out in 1704 and runs west from Vesterbro to the main entrance to the park and gardens of the royal palace of Frederiksberg. Maps from the 18th century show the road as a broad tree-lined avenue with open fields on either side but, even then, the circle or circus of Sankt Thomas Plads is obvious and there was a large open space at the west end, at the gates to the gardens of the palace.

The avenue is now famous for the double lines of lime trees that are pruned to a candelabra shape.

There is a wide central road with the double avenue of trees on each side, each with a broad pavement down the centre between the trees, and then secondary or service roads, outside the lines of trees, with wide pavements immediately in front of the buildings. From Sankt Thomas Plads to the gates into the palace gardens is just over a kilometre and the avenue from building front to building front is around 40 metres wide.

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the Copenhagen bench

 

Does anyone know just how many park benches there are in Copenhagen? When was the first bench made with cast iron legs and wooden planks? Was there a Copenhagen iron bench foundry?

They get repainted at regular intervals so my guess is that someone in city hall knows how much green paint the city gets through every year.

My favourite benches are the circular benches that usually go around a tree and there is no pretence … these are there and these are designed for sitting a while to people watch.