Pyramids in the Port of Copenhagen

Waterfront Cultural Center
Kengo Kuma & Associates mit Cornelius Vöge, Søren Jensen und Niels Sigsgaardn

Situation

Kengo Kuma & Associates, in collaboration with Cornelius Vöge, Søren Jensen engineers and Niels Sigsgaard, won the competition to design a Waterfront Cultural Center for Copenhagen. Their project combines facilities for leisure and sports associations and harbour baths in a new and original way.

The new Waterfront Cultural Center with harbor baths at Paper Island is to highlight the significance of water in the history, culture and vibrant urban life in Copenhagen. The harbor is the gate contributing greatly to the city’s development. The waterfront has become the foreground and the background for major cultural facilities and the quality open public area that defines the urban life in the city.

The design focus is to create an experience, and not just a standalone object, in the form of the landscape, art and architecture that are unified and defined by the water. The design proposal strives to offer the diverse experiences of water in various states and conditions such as reflection of light and shadow, steam and flow that appeal to human senses.

Urban approach

The project takes place in the larger development plan of the island. Its architectural form in a series of pyramid shape is in response to the masterplan guideline to work with roof profile of Christiansholm but at the same time it expresses its unique identity. What is distinctive from the rest of the masterplan building is that the architecture does not have a single front, but it is multi directional to be easily recognized and accessible from various directions.

Waterfront Cultural Center is to offer spontaneous, open and tangible place that carries the memory of vibrant and dynamic nature of the present Paper Island. Taking advantage of the prominent corner site of the project defined in the masterplan, the ground floor plane of the indoor to outdoor and to the sea is designed in a single gesture. Landscaping the ground plane in terracing and cascading manner creates expansive, continuous perception of water surface from indoor all the way to the harbor. The design attempts to soften and dissolve the edge and blur the sense of boundary of the land.

Architectural form

The strategy of generating the architectural space structure and the form is to manipulate the composition of positive and negative volumes. A series of cone shape volumes in various proportion is generated by being pushed and pulled vertically and horizontally to create particular experiences for each program. The cone shape roofs extruded above correspond to the division of pools at the ground floor. Each pool has distinctive space in the almost exaggerated scale with concentrated light and shadow through large skylights above.

The level above the ground floor is defined as the “negatives” of these extruded roof volumes. It is an open air pool and hot bath that one would experience swimming and dipped in the “valley” among the architectural hills. The inverted cone in the central position works as structural core. It is the deepest void, “valley” among these roofs where outdoor stairwell is placed.

Brick Façade

Brick is chosen to relate to the context of the area and to highlight the quality and aesthetic of the traditional Danish craft. Its haptic texture and warm natural earthy color tones of masonry would achieve the tangible skin defining interior and exterior. The architetcs want to ecplore the potential of brick in its small scale texture being expressed in the large scale of the architecture. Its small units allows us to play with various openings and tectonics, screening natural lights and shadow that reflects on the water surface.

Waterfront Cultural Center‘s brick façade in various level opacity and transparency is to glow with warm light at night and in cold season when dark hours last long. The perforated and screened brick skin would let soft light out in distinct manner. The dust of lights and their reflection on the water would glow at night and signals the presence of the new masterplan development and expresses itself as new unique icon.

PROJECT DATA

Architect

Kengo Kuma & Associates
Yuki Ikeguchi, Marc Moukarzel, Aigerim Syzdykova, Hannah Appelgren

Project team

Associate Architect:
Cornelius Vöge
Engineering Design:
Søren Jensen engineers
Consulting architect::
Niels Sigsgaard

Illustrations

Luxigon
Kengo Kuma & Associates

Physical address

Trangravsvej 14
1436 København
Denmark

Author

Kengo Kuma & Associates

Aerial view

Thank you, Google!

ILLUSTRATIONS

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