There I Belong at Statens Museum for Kunst

 

There I Belong is the first in a new series of exhibitions under the title SMK Plus where contemporary artists will explore the collections of the National Gallery.

For this exhibiion - Inspired by the works of the Danish painter Vilhelm Hammershøi who lived and worked in Copenhagen around 1900 - the artists Michael Elmgreen and Ingar Dragset have collaborated with Marianne Torp and Tone Bonnén, the museum's curators of contemporary art.

Spartan interiors by Hammershøi are restrained and calm but they are enigmatic - paintings that tread a fine line between being self contained or depictions of a life of painful isolation. The paintings resonate with a contemporary audience, reflecting aspects of modern taste and restrained Scandinavian interiors.

There may be windows in these rooms but the view out to a world beyond is usually obscured by thin, translucent curtains … the natural light entering the room is crucial but a sense of place not so because these are studies in light but never put people, objects or place under a harsh spot light. Figures in the paintings are detached, generally absorbed in what they are doing, inward looking, often with their back to the viewer and in many of the paintings we do not even know if they are reading or writing or simply sitting with head bowed in quiet contemplation. Open doors indicate that there are rooms beyond but barely hint at a lived life.

Interior with the Artist's Easel, takes this to an extreme because, when painting the picture, the artist himself should be at the easel. The only conclusion has to be that there is a second easel at the point where the viewer is standing so are we the artist? Perhaps we have been co-opted into this quiet and private world but this is the ultimate antidote to that modern scourge - the selfie - where the photographer shows themselves at the centre of the scene, always the subject of the view, inevitably relegating an event or scene beyond to a secondary role.

The second gallery - a large space - shows the work Powerless Structures (8 doors) by Elmgreen & Dragset from 2000-2002. These are the most simple, basic, standard white doors imaginable, with plain white door frames but each is a variation in a theme of a detachment from the real or the functional … one door has handles and hinges on both the left and the right side so it would be impossible to open - another has a handle that is not on the door but on the wall alongside so it might or might not open - one door is slightly open to reveal a locked door immediately behind - one door is folded and wrapped around the corner of the gallery - a pair of doors on adjoining walls at another corner are separate but linked by a security chain as if someone might be able to squeeze through from a room on one side to another room without being able to get into the gallery.

This work, or a version of this work, was shown at Statens Museum for Kunst in 2015 in Biography - an ambitious set of major installations by Elmgreen & Dragset. Then, the doors were part of a corridor and a series of rooms that were in what appeared to be a government or public office building. If not obviously dystopian then the corridor was completely anonymous and designed to smother any sense of self. On entering you had a choice to go one way or the other but with no signs or notices to say where you were or why you were there although you could get a ticket from a machine to wait for your number to be called but it never would be, of course, and if you proceeded past these doors you could only return to where you started.

By now placing these doors on the four walls of a large gallery, the work takes yet another step back and pays homage to Hammershøi but expands his space until it is monumental in scale.

The exhibition includes photographs, paintings, sculptures and video by other artists - all taking the theme of doorways and spartan anonymity - with works by Njideka Akunyili Crosby, Lilianna Maresca, Francesca Woodman, Robert Gober, Annika von Hausswolff, Ugo Rondinone and Thomas Ruff. Only the work by von Hausswolff is from the museum collection with the other works either courtesy of the artist or on loan from galleries and private owners.

 

the exhibition at Statens Museum for Kunst / The National Gallery in Copenhagen
continues until 1 September 2019

Interior with a young woman sweeping, 1899

Interior, No 30 Strandgade, 1906-1908

Interior with the Artist’s Easel, 1910

KADK graduates and UN Sustainable Development Goals

 

Shown in this outdoor exhibition are seventeen innovative study programmes or research projects by graduate students from the Royal Academy Schools of Architecture, Design and Conservation and each represent one of the 17 UN Sustainable Development Goals.

Rigsdagsgården - the courtyard immediately in front of the parliament building in Copenhagen - is an amazing public space that is easily accessible for everyone and has a regular series of open-air exhibitions but, more important, given the subject of this exhibition, it brings these problems - and the urgent need to find potential solutions - right to the doorstep of national politicians.

These are innovative and imaginative projects that show architectural, design-led or conservation solutions to major global problems but all are based on established design principles and the use of existing technology or of technology being developed now.

This is the best of Danish architecture and design that can and should be harnessed to tackle serious problems that have to be resolved now.

Solutions shown here are a response to huge range of serious questions including questions about:

  • how we can reclaim methane gas from melting permafrost as a source of green energy

  • how to use sustainable materials to design textiles and make them a preferred choice

  • how we create healthcare solutions for elderly citizens that involve people and maintain their dignity

  • that developing traditional handicrafts can be a starting point for women to start a local business

  • how novel solutions can ensure that people everywhere have access to clean water

  • design solutions can tackle the problem of over production of food or food waste and encourage people to share food resources to combat hunger

  • the design of lighting in the class room can be used to reduce noise levels and encourage calm and concentration in schools

  • research can find a way to use the waste from fish farms to fuel biogas energy

  • major architectural projects - changing the use of large but now redundant buildings - can reduce inequalities by enabling everyone in a community to participate

  • hemp can be an alternative to cotton because cultivation requires less water and less fertilisers

Each project is shown across two large panels for maximum impact but are repeated - two or more projects to a panel - on the side of the exhibition towards the pavement - where the text is in English.

There are important statements here from Jakob Brandtberg Knudsen, Director of the School of Architecture; Mathilde Aggebo, Director of the Design School; Rikke Bjarnhof, Director of the School of Conservation and Lene Dammand Lund, Rector of KADK. 

 

Det Kongelige Danske Kunstakademis Skoler for Arkitektur, Design og Konservering
The Royal Danish Academy Schools of Architecture, Design and Conservation

the exhibition of graduate projects from KADK in Rigsdagsgården
the courtyard in front of the parliament building in Copenhagen
continues until 30 June 2019

 

select any image to open in a slide show

 

Sustainable Chairs at Designmuseum Danmark

At the end of last year, the Nordic Council of Ministers held an open competition for the design of sustainable chairs with one winner chosen from each of the Nordic countries.

Judges considered the sourcing of materials; the energy required in production and distribution; consideration of disposal at the end of the life of the chair and general compliance with the United Nations 17 goals for sustainability.

At the beginning of December, winning designs were shown in the Nordic Pavilion at COP 24 - the United Nations Climate Change Conference in Katowice in Poland.

The overall winner was the Danish entry - The Coastal Chair by Nikolaj Thrane Carlsen.

This competition was organised in partnership with the Nordic national design associations - Danish Design Center, Svensk Form, DOGA in Norway, Ornamo in Finland and The Icelandic Design Centre.

the chairs will be shown in the entrance area of
the design museum in Copenhagen
until 26 May 2019

Designmuseum Danmark


 

Petite
David Ericsson
Sweden

beech
components reduced to use less materials and light - just 2.5 kilo

 

 

Tangform
Nikolaj Thrane Carlsen
Denmark

shell eelgrass and carrageenan extracted from red algae
frame recycled from bamboo floorboards

 

 
 

Håg Capisco
Peter Opsvik
Norway

recycled plastic from household waste
no glue or harmful chemicals
durable, easy to disassemble and repairable
manufactured by HÅG/Flokk


 

Kollhrif
Sölvi Kristjánsson
Iceland

cork and aluminium recycled from 14,400 tea lights
manufactured by Málmsteypan Hella and Portland

 

 
 

Clash 331
Samuli Naamanka
Finland

aspen and birch
thicker at the part of the seat where the legs are glued so subframe not necessary
durable
manufactured by naamanka

The Danish Design Center has posted photographs and information about the ten designs in the finals in each country:
Denmark, Finland, Iceland, Norway, Sweden

DESIGN X CHANGE at Designmuseum Danmark

Over the two days of the weekend for Design X Change 2019 at Designmuseum Danmark, there were lectures and demonstrations and a number of companies exhibited their products including the bicycle design company BIOMEGA with a display in the entrance court and, in Grønnegården - the great central courtyard of the museum - were, among many others, the new furniture company TAKT showing the first three chairs they have produced that were launched just a month ago; MATER; THE ORGANIC COMPANY; Signe Wenneberg with BIOTANISK KIOSK; sustainable bins from DROPBUCKET; planters from SQUARELY; jewellers from KEA - the Copenhagen Business Academy and COPENHAGEN SEEDS

 

 

DESIGN X CHANGE at Designmuseum Danmark
Saturday and Sunday 4 and 5 May 2019

DESIGN X CHANGE at Designmuseum Danmark

DESIGN X CHANGE, at Designmuseum Danmark today, is a major and popular annual event that is part of the Danish Design Festival.

There were demonstrations and displays in Grønnegården - the great courtyard at the centre of the museum - and lectures in the upper hall and all around the theme of sustainability in design.

DESIGN X CHANGE continue at Designmuseum Danmark tomorrow - Sunday 5 May 10.00-17.00

for information about companies and organisations taking part and for details about lectures see DESIGN X CHANGE

 

BLOX celebrates

 

There was open house and events through this afternoon - in the square at the front of the building and inside - to mark the year since BLOX opened last May.

BLOX

 

the Biennale - no straw shortener

uden stråforkter / no straw shortener - are two works by the designer and visual artist Christina Christensen. One work is with rye from fields near Odder, and the other with reeds from Kysing Beach, and both with cotton, linen and brass.

 
 

connections:

Through their work, many of the artists who exhibited at the biennale communicate complex ideas or raise important issues about our lives … both in our immediate communities but also, more generally, about how we respond to and how we do or how we should appreciate and respect our broader natural environment.

These woven panels raise interesting issues about both how we see and use natural materials and about the impact on nature of human intervention.

Over recent decades research by plant breeders has lead to the development short-stemmed grain crops - to reduce damage from wind or rain, and to increases yields - but, as a consequence, secondary uses for the product from taller varieties are lost.

Until the second half of the 20th century, corn was not simply harvested for the nutritional value of the seed but the long stalks were a sustainable raw material.

Straw (and in many areas reed) was used for thatch where stone slates or fired clay tiles were not available locally or were too expensive for ordinary buildings.

Now, we worry about air miles or about the cost and effect of shipping food, fashion clothing and goods round the globe but I'm curious to know how many people think about where the materials for the construction of their home come from and the environmental impact of those materials at the source, at the factory, and from the transport of the materials.

Generally, in the past - so before the twentieth century - transport of building materials was difficult and expensive. If you were wealthy then you could buy a fashionable fireplace or elaborate panelling from the nearest city or import an exotic wood like mahogany for a staircase to be made by a local craftsman, but for ordinary people, building an ordinary house, materials, generally, came from the local area - often from no more than five miles away - unless you were by the coast or on a river, or, from the 19th century, by a canal or then a railway, when transport costs were less prohibitive.

So, it is fantastic to see the architect Dorte Mandrup using thatch for not only the roof but also for the external cladding of the walls for the new Wadden Sea interpretation centre at Ribe on the west coast of Jutland.

But straw and reed were not just used for building but were also used to make mats or to make furniture - in areas, where good timber was not available - and for making household goods and toys - but how many people now have things in their homes made from straw or reed?

I had a set of table mats that lasted for nearly 20 years before they finally disintegrated and I have a few traditional Dutch Christmas decorations - small birds and stars - that are woven in straw, and every year, for more than 30 years, they come out of the cupboard to be hung on the tree … good and sustainable examples of rural crafts that have much more meaning than tinsel and baubles.

For more than 20 years I measured and recorded and assessed historic buildings of all periods and a good number were thatched. My job was to measure, record and date the timber-work of the roof structure but I have to admit that I rarely thought about the thatch … more than just to note the material and any pattern on the ridge or eaves that reflected the traditions of that area.

Looking at the work by Christina Christensen, reminded me when I first thought about long straw. I had been asked by BBC radio to collaborate on a programme about a thatched building in Oxfordshire and was there to talk about the date of the roof timbers - the form and techniques of construction suggested it dated from the 14th century and that had been confirmed by dendrochronology - but the main contribution to the programme was from a plant archaeologist.

What was so important about that particular roof was that it had never been stripped back for the thatch to be replaced completely. For over 600 years it had simply been patched and repaired with new layers over the old core of straw thatch. Not just exposed roof timbers but also the underside of the thatch itself were blackened with soot from the original open hearth that had been at the centre of the house until the 16th century when a new fireplace with a closed-in chimney was built.

From within the roof space, huddled in cramped space above modern ceilings, with me and the radio interviewer, the archaeologist drew out straws that were not far off 2 metres long and some still had their seed heads. From these he was able to identify the specific types of corn grown in the area in the middle ages - types of corn that were often specific to a relatively small area and certainly no longer grown - and identifying them was important for understanding medieval farming but also important for studies on bio diversity.

the Biennale - to play and learn together

 

This work by Kristine Mandsberg has prominent labels that read "please touch".

Play and, through play, early learning is one of the first stages where a child not only begins to explore and understand the physical world but also begins to build bonds with parents, siblings and a growing circle of friends.

Copenhagen has remarkable playgrounds with a huge range of equipment to test agility, to stimulate the imagination of children and to encourage play and the production of toys and furniture for children has been important in the works of many designers.

Kristine Mandsberg trained as a textile designer in Kolding and once you know that then the structural form of Three of a Kind, with warp and weft, becomes intriguing.

She also describes herself as an illustrator and the bold simple shapes here and her use of strong, bold colours has to come from a graphic sensibility.

But it was not just children who spent time twisting and turning and resetting these pieces. It was interesting to watch adults set and re set the pieces … perhaps not to find the inner child but seemed to reflect, at least, the way humans are curious about complex and adaptable structures.

These works have an element of mechanics about them … reminiscent of old wood football rattles that are never seen at matches now.

Biennalen for Kunsthåndværk & Design

kristinemandsberg.com

 

Biennalen for Kunsthåndværk & Design / The Biennale for Craft & Design 2019

 

This evening, the prestigious Biennaleprisen from Danske Kunsthåndværkere & Designere - the Biennale Prize from the Danish Association of Craft and Design - was awarded to Katrine Borup, Pernille Mouritzen and Bess Kristoffersen for their work Revl og Krat / Wheat and Chaff … an installation that is a curated collection of natural objects - including soil, branches, bark moss and grass - with crafted objects, photographs and notes.

It is a collaborative project by artists who work in the woodland around Dyrehavehuset / Deer Park House - a historic timber-framed lodge that is close to Tystrup Lake - 70 kilometers south west of Copenhagen - and was part of the extensive estates of the historic house at Gunderslevholm.

In the catalogue, the artists acknowledge the influence on their work of the American academic, author and teacher Donna Haraway and cite her recent book Staying with the Trouble.

This is about connections and stories; about art, science and political activism and about trying to understand our environment and about showing respect for nature.

Dyrehavehuset, Rejnstrupvej 5, Fuglebjerg - has been restored and is now the studio of Bess Kristoffersen.

The web site for Deer Park House has a specific page to illustrate some of the workshop sessions and the works produced at the studio for Revl og Krat.  

bessktistoffersen.dk
pernillemouritzen.dk
katrineborup.dk
dyrehavehuset.dk

 
 

  

Naturen Vinder Biennaleprisen 2019

Prize Committee

Pernille Stockmarr, curator, Designmuseum Danmark
Peder Rasmussen, ceramicist
Christina Zetterlund, lecturer and curator Linnéuniversitet 

the exhibition with all eighteen works selected continues until 5 May 2019 at
Nordatlantens Brygge, Strandgade 91, København K

note:

I am curious about the translation of the title of the work.
In dictionaries revl is generally translated into English as batten or possibly lath (plausible as this is a woodland lodge) and krat as a thicket so presumably the saying implies something useful coming from something that might be dismissed or might be seen to be useless … in terms of potential materials, the tangled branches of a thicket are less useful than a carefully nurtured tree from managed woodland.  

This has been translated in the catalogue as Wheat and Chaff … where wheat is the grain or seed that you keep and use for food or for planting for the next crop while the chaff is the husks that are discarded after the crop is winnowed.

Is the implication therefore that if you appreciate the chaff then you can use teverything?

Fællesskab anno 2019 / Community anno 2019

Catalogue for Biennalen for Kunsthåndværk & Design / The Biennale for Craft & Design 2019

The forward for the catalogue has been written by  Hans Christian Asmussen - designer and lecturer in design and on the board of Danske Kunsthåndværkere & Designere / the Danish Association of Craft and Design.

He discusses the growing importance of our sense of community and the eighteen projects chosen for the Biennale consider, in one way or another, our "notion of community - some with a critical voice, some in a playful tone, some tenderly, but all striving to explore the value that community offers."

This is about how artists, through their work, explore complex ideas, express what they feel and give the viewer reasons to think and reconsider by emphasising or challenging a view point or simply by shining a light on aspects of our lives that possibly we need to reconsider.

There is a longer essay on Community by the design historian and design theorist Pernille Stockmarr. She makes the crucial observation that with the frequent use of terms such as 'sharing economy', 'co-creation', ‘co-design', 'crowdsourcing', and 'crowdfunding', the concepts of community and cooperation have a strong and important relevance.

Historically, the concept of community is strong in Denmark with a well-established welfare state; a strong sense of family and friendship; a strong and ongoing role for the co-operative movement in retailing for food and household design and a strong volunteer movement through various sports and hobby associations.

In part, political change outside Denmark and the growing pressure to resolve threats to our environment has lead many to question what motivates us and those uncertainties make us reconsider our priorities and help us decide how we can move forward as local or wider communities.

read more

 

Oslo Plads

Osterport Air.jpeg

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.

 

the DJ on the bridge

 

This was taken as I crossed over the lakes on Dronningen Louises Bro - the Queen Louise Bridge - heading back into the city early one evening just before the Easter weekend.

It was seriously loud and seriously good electronic music and he was completely in his own world …oblivious of the people standing around and oblivious of the traffic heading out of the city.

For a blog about design and architecture this might seem a bit irrelevant but it makes an important point about planning and about how people use and take over public space.

The bridge is wide but not that wide but this parapet faces south-west so this pavement catches the best of the evening sun. It's on the way home for people heading back from the city to Nørrebro and as the parapet and pavement is over 130 metres long this is a good place to see and be seen and drink a beer … if you have remembered to buy some on the way.

update - udlejningsløbehjul

With the recent fine weather these things are everywhere around the city and not just ridden everywhere but abandoned everywhere.

They appeared first in the late Autumn but there are now three companies renting out these scooters.

Initially there was some debate about scooters being legal on the public road - they appeared in October - were banned three days later and then given permission. Then there were questions about the possible dangers of relatively fast scooters mixing with bikes on the cycle lanes and pedestrians on footpaths and, more recently, complaints about scooters blocking footpaths when they are left at the end of the hire.

Now, in one national paper, comes a more interesting controversy. The scooters are promoted as not just enabling people to get around easily and quickly and independently but that, powered by batteries, they are ecological - good for the environment - if you assume that someone abandons a car journey and goes by scooter ….… before abandoning the scooter.

The problem seems to be that the scooters, or at least the first ones, were designed for use indoors and were for personal use so presumably that means not built for continuous or frequent use and not designed for, shall we say, robust use, rented out.

The average life for one of these scooters is said to be between 60 and 90 days so, when taking into account manufacturing costs, materials and energy and so on, then that is hardly a sustainable 'wheel' print.

But, to be fair, much of the problem is with the user rather than the scooter.

Properly regulated and used sensibly these could provide one solution for getting from metro and suburban train hubs into or around the city and they do actually take up less space than a bike when parked properly. It will be interesting to see how this works out but at the moment it is looking more and more likely that the politicians will act first and bring in a ban.

earlier post nice parking

Udlejningsløbehjul? That's the Danish word for rental scooters

 

Biennalen for Kunsthåndværk & Design 2019

 

The exhibition for the prestigious Danish award for the crafts - the Biennalen for Kunsthåndværk & Design - opened today at Nordatlantens Brygge / North Atlantic House in Copenhagen and continues until 5 May 2019.

Artists and designers selected to exhibit this year are:

Anett Biliczki
Helle Vibeke Jensen og Mette Saabye
Mariko Wada
Mia Lagerman
Signe Fensholt
Margrethe Odgaard
Ole Jensen
Kristine Mandsberg
Christina Christensen
Katrine Bidstrup
Kunstnergruppen RØRT: Ædelmetalformgiver og sygeplejerske Kristina Villadsen, Ædelmetalformgiver og arkitekt Maja Røhl, Ædelmetalformgiver og cand.comm. Maria Tsoskunoglu, Ædelmetalformgiver og grafiker Nanna Obel
Katrine Borup, Pernille Mouritzen og Bess Kristoffersen
Sarah Winther
Sarah Oakman og Maj-Britt Zelmer Olsen
Bitten Hegelund og Uffe Black
Bodil Manz og Jacob Manz
Charlotte Østergaard
Sisse Lee

Nordatlantens Brygge

Danske Kunsthåndværkere & Designere

Axel Salto Stentøjsmesteren / Axel Salto stoneware master

 

A major exhibition of work by the artist, designer and ceramicist Axel Salto (1889 - 1961) opened in February at Øregaard Museum in Hellerup - just along the coast to the north of the city.

Salto studied painting at the Royal Academy and graduated in 1914.

By 1916 he was living in Paris where he met Picasso and Henri Matisse and on returning to Denmark he produced, edited and wrote for a short-lived but influential journal Klingen / The Blade that was published between 1917 and 1919.

He was a member of the Grønningen group of artists and one of The Four with Svend Johansen, Vilhelm Lundstrom and Karl Larsen who exhibited together between 1920 and 1929.

In the 1920s he began to design ceramics and his stoneware pieces were produced in the workshops of Carl Haller at Saxbo keramik in Frederiksberg and he also produced designs for porcelain by Bing & Grondahl with his work shown at the Paris exhibition in 1925.

This exhibition shows a full range of his ceramic works from small stoneware bowls with incised decoration or bold moulding with Japanese-style glazes to large-scale works with scenes from Classical mythology or stylised nature.

Paintings and strong and very confident ink and line-work drawings, including designs for the ceramics, show clearly the style Salto developed from his training as a painter.

He also worked with the book binder August Sandgren and a selection of designs for end papers are shown in an upper gallery which have a distinct feel of the 1930s with deep colours and stylised and small repeat patterns.

 

the exhibition continues at Øregaard Museum until 23 June 2019

update - Sankt Kjelds Plads - climate change landscape

Sankt Kjelds Plads in July 2018 - looking towards Hahnemanns Køkken - the cafe on the north side of the square

 

the same view in April 2019

Sankt Kjelds Plads is in a densely-built area of older apartment buildings about 4 kilometres directly north from the city hall.

Many of the buildings here date from the 1930s but there are large modern office buildings and large and relatively recent industrial buildings and a large supermarket to the west.

The area has a distinct urban character with relatively wide streets but little planting and not just on street parking but also fairly heavy through traffic. From the air you can see that most of the large apartment blocks have extremely pleasant courtyards with planting but the real problem for this area is that climate change has meant occasional but very destructive flooding from sudden rain storms with traditional street drainage unable to deal with surface water on the streets and with rain running off the roofs of the large buildings.

The solution has been to put in fast-flowing storm drains, surface channels to take water away to tanks or sumps where it can be controlled, and, where necessary, filtered and then released into the drainage system but at an appropriate rate. These sudden storms may last for only an hour but in that time there can be a depth of 30 centimetres of water across the road that stops traffic, floods basements and ground-floor apartments and businesses and takes road-level pollution through the drains and to the harbour and the sound.

Along with this hard landscaping of drains and surface gullies, the other solution is extensive planting that absorbs rainfall - apart from the most severe storms - and adds considerably to the amenity value of the street scape.

Here at Sankt Kjelds Plads, seven roads converge at what was a very large traffic round-a-bout. That was planted with shrubs and trees but it certainly was not a place to sit. In fact, with the heavy traffic, it was not a place where many people even cut across.

With the current scheme, small areas of pavement in front of the buildings have been pulled forward and the traffic discouraged and the round-a-bout reduced significantly in size. The new areas are densely planted and have pathways curving through them with seats . Sunken areas will flood when there are storms, to act as holding tanks, but have planting that will cope with short periods of partial submersion.

This will be the first full growing season for the trees and shrubs and ground cover so it is not fair to judge the scheme until everything becomes more established but already the transformation is obvious.

This large open space links through with the climate-change landscaping of Tåsinge Plads, about 85 metres away to the east, and the main north south road through Sankt Kjelds Plads - Bryggervangen - is also being planted to form a green corridor from the large park - Fælledparken - to the south and continuing through to an open area and pond to the north beyond Kildevældskirke.

more images and map

post on Sankt Kjelds Plads July 2018
post on Tåsinge Plads July 2018

looking across Sankt Kjelds Plads from the south side - although it is hard to see through the new planting, the traffic island is still at the centre but has been reduced significantly in size

 

aerial view of Sankt Kjelds Plads after the main landscape work on Tåsinge Plads had been completed - the thin triangular street space on the right towards the bottom - and just before construction work on Sankt Kjelds Plads began so this shows the original traffic island and areas for people to walk kept to the edge immediately in front of the buildings

Amaryllis Hus

The annual Building Awards in Copenhagen were established in 1902 but it was only last year that citizens were asked to vote for a public award for one of the buildings on the list of finalists.

Last year the building selected for that first public award was Axeltorv / Axel Towers by Lundgaard & Tranberg Arkitekter.

The winner this year is interesting. From a diverse list of unusual and quite adventurous building projects around the city, the public selected an apartment with a high-rise tower out of the city, just under 5 kilometres from city hall, out to the south west beyond Vestre Kirkegård … the western cemetery.

This is Amaryllis Hus on Paradisæblevej - designed by Mangor & Nagel and part of a major redevelopment of Grønttorvet - the old wholesale vegetable market - a short walk from Ny Ellebjerg station.

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