About three months ago, I wrote a post about the new development on Krøyers Plads - A building site, which has remained empty for many years, due to a lack of a suiting project. Having mentioned this, there is yet another site in Copenhagen which has so far face a similiar destiny - Axeltorv. Situated on Axeltorv, is Scala, a building once built as an entertainment center in the very heart of Copenhagen, filled with bars, restaurants, an arcade and even a cinema. Unfortunately, this building never recieved much attention despite its spectacular location (it lies between the main entrance of Tivoli, and the circus building in Copenhagen). The lack of visitors resulted in practically the entire building closing down. The building's unfortunate faith continued over the years, as each new owner entered bankruptcy, one after the other, due to the financial crisis. As the building kept changing owners at the rate of the change of seasons, eventually it would find an owner that was serious about tearing the building down, and projecting a skyscraper on the site, to revitalize the urban image of the site. The competition was won by the now infamous BIG architects with the following proposal:
As it has become a bit of a tradition in Copenhagen, this high-rise project provoked great debate amongst Copenhageners - some argued for the need to develope more high-rise projects in the capital, while others argued that this would ruin the charming historical feel of the inner-city area. Little did they know, that the owners of the site would follow the faith of their preceders, and yet again fall into the hands of bankruptcy and once again fail to make a change on the troublesome site.
About a year ago, a Copenhagen-based lawyer firm finally proved to be the stable owner of the site, and today, the building is in the process of being torn down, to make way for the new creation on the site. This new creation has been designed by Danish Lundgaard & Tranberg architects - a rather succesful architectural studio, which have designed buildings such as the SEB headquarters building by the waterfront, the Tietgien Dorm, Skuespilshuset (The Actors' House by the waterfront) and other works of a mostly noticeable scale. The first concept model of the project is seen above.
The project is still in a concept stage, and the models and illustrations provided by the architects aren't sure to show the final result. The shape of the project relates to its surroundings - The circular shape mimics the circus building behind it and a little water pool on its western side. The heights are carefully chosen in order to integrate the building with its surroundings, despite its somewhat dominant scale. As illustrated above, the highest of the five towers relates to the Golden Tower in Tivoli, while maintaining a height that respects Arne Jacobsen's SAS Hotel building. Each of the five towers relates to it's surroundings in height, i.e. the one facing the circus building being lower to reach down to it. The idea of having five towers, is to easen the dominance of the skyscraper scale, and create spaces for shops and cafés in between the gaps, thus minding the human scale, and creating a skyscraper that actually contributes to the city life in the area.
Above is a very early and mostly conceptual rendering of what the towers might look like, as seen from the City Hall Square (notice that the view to the SAS hotel is respected). In my opinion, I was at first a bit afraid that the five towers are perhaps a bit too much for the site, since they might steal too much of the attention from the neighbouring Tivoli entrance and the circus building, which I believe to be two very fine buildings. Building on such a central site is always tricky, due to the great impact on the surroundings, but with the architects having minded the human scale of the site, I believe this project will work out. It is of course hard to tell for now, due to the conceptual level at which the project is, at the time being, but I'm following on the development with great interest, and I trust that Lundgaard & Tranberg will bring us a promising project at the end of the day.
Further reading:- Lundgaard & Tranberg Architects
- Andy Minchev