Frederiksberg: Take 1

07.15.2011 § Leave a comment

Frederiksbergs Nye Pladser

The masterplan for the the former railroad yard was designed by the firm SLA with the vision to promote urban life and ensure that residents would have access to recreational and outdoor activities. The design emphasized the “preserving the quarter’s open, green character” and “having the new buildings harmonize with existing listed buildings.” Four new plazas were laid out to link the area between Frederiksberg and Solbjerg Metro Stations.

The four plazas have their own distinctive character, but there are linking elements that tie them to one another and to the history of Frederiksberg. Trees, bushes and pavers work to move users from one area into another and create near seamless transitions. The elements within the plazas themselves are fairly simple, water, trees, benches and sound, but the arrangement and choreography of the spaces and how they blend together creates an active connection. Similar to Bananna Park, there are intimate, sheltered spaces that contrast and compliment the open exposed areas along the paths.

The most unique space, Solbjerg Plads, is composed of a hundred little pools of rainwater collected in the paving that also creates clouds of mist for children to play in. Also in the plaza are thirty-two “loudspeaker wells” that broadcast musical sounds and potentially even concerts. There were also a number of brightly painted metal follies and another heavy duty ping pong table. Wooden benches and stairs on different levels at Falkoner Plads are occupied as people pass throughout the day. Fyrretræslunden has a network of grassy berms and trees that offer informal enclosures. The pedestrian path, Solbjergvej, offers benches under the trees in front of the historic railway station. Lighting is also a key element in each of the areas, with color becoming a prominent theme.

The Wedge (CBS Kilen)

Copenhagen Business School’s new building was designed by Lundgaard & Tranberg Arkitektfirma A/S and completed in 2005. The name, “The Wedge,” refers to the angled geometry that was in response to the shape of the site. It lies along a green path over a previously abandoned railway, which links the campus and connects to Frederiksberg metro stop.

The design is interesting in how it is integrated into the landscape. The building rests on two grassy mounds with ground level glazing bridging the gap to create a smooth transition between the open air, the landscape, and the building’s interior (note the tapered retaining walls for a slim profile!). Resting on the transparent plinth are four levels screened by a system of shades that vary between wood louvers, colored glass and metal. The shutters are controlled by the buildings users (interior switches), which gives the building a variable, dynamic façade.

In contrast to the hard lines of the exterior, the interior is more organically formed. The program is based around an open interior atrium with the rooms and offices pushed to the exterior. The dramatic space is complemented by a series of large circular skylights that fill the space with a diffused light. The upper floors house admin and research facilities, while the lower levels cater to more social activities, such as a café, conference rooms and classrooms. Within the space, the attention to detail is overwhelming. From the amazingly thin profile of the spiral staircase to the leather-wrapped handrails with steel cabling (if Brooks made a handrail, this would be it).

The day that I visited was fairly empty, and the system of louvers has the interesting effect of indicating who is working at a particular moment (evidenced by the closed shutters in this case). Most of the people using the building and surrounding areas were just passing through, which I suppose would reinforce the concept of a transparent/public ground floor. I was really hoping to see someone use the elevator, which had a strong resemblance to the pneumatic tube system at some banks. I could not stop wondering what sound the elevator would make.


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