Sunday, October 26, 2008

10.26.2008 - Copenhagen

Today’s travels consisted of walking around a rainy Copenhagen, witnessing many multi-unit dwellings as well as many of Copenhagen’s fine cultural facilities. The first visit was to the new Copenhagen Library, locally referred to as the “Black Diamond,” designed by schmidt hammer lassen, which straddles a street and links the city with the waterfront. Next, a visit to the Danish Architectural Center was in order, where we browsed their fabulous bookstore and viewed two exhibitions. The first exhibition was “Building Sustainable Communities,” which showed work by Danish architectural firms that contribute in a positive way to the United Nations Global Compact for improving the lives of people around the world. The second exhibition highlighted the Bryghusprojektet, the first project by OMA / Rem Koolhaas in Denmark, which will become the new home to the Danish Architectural Center as well as house commercial and residential space.

Afterwards, we continued through the Christianshavn district, where we found the Torpedohallen, designed by Tegnestuen Vandkunsten and occupied in 2003. The concrete hall was constructed in 1952 to build motor torpedo boats, but has now been converted into 67 condos. While mostly new, the building retains the original concrete frame and boat slip. The material palette emphasizes the maritime heritage of the site.

Next was a visit to The Opera by Henning Larsen Architects, which opened in 2005. It is sited on a direct axis with the Royal Danish residences, directly across the harbor. The large cantilevered roof allows for a protected public space.

Within view of the Opera across the harbor is the new Playhouse by Lundgaard & Tranberg Architects, which opened just this year. The rich material palette consists of deep red-brown klinker bricks, dark wood decking, colored glazing storefront system, and deep red interior accents.

After that, we schlepped up to the Østerbro district, which has seen a recent surge of high density residential development. The first stop was Fyrtanet, a residential complex by Lundgaard & Tranberg Architects, which contains 89 condos. The structure consists of precast concrete panels, the predominant building system in Denmark, and clad in dark gray slate. The architecture takes advantage of the trapezoidal site formed by the street grid and the adjacent train corridor.

Nearby was the Nordlyset by C.F. Möller, also constructed from precast concrete panels and skinned in an EIFS system. The multi-color lighting and fritted glass inserts provide interest to the otherwise stark design. The apartments flank a courtyard.

Lastly, we stumbled upon a still under construction housing project, also constructed of precast concrete and making a direct connection to the courtyard by elevating one end of the housing block.

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