08.13.2011 § Leave a comment

I am compiling a few things together for this posting. They are related primarily by vicinity, and so they were lumped into one rainy visit on a Sunday a couple of weeks ago. The primary purpose of the visit was to see the hackerspace/collective Illutron, which is housed on a barge in the southern harbor of Copenhagen. The visit was a type of programmatic research for my thesis, and it was a unique enough space that it was inviting despite the torrential rains.



Illutron is a collective of artists and hackers whose focus is on the process of making work as well as the act of sharing with the public. The works they produce are primarily interactive, so festivals are a great venue, although they produce works for galleries as well as more random interactions. The day that I visited, they were finishing a weekend long workshop on interactive noise machines, which is as open-ended as it sounds.

The boat is docked in a remote area of the harbor between the more traditional areas of industry and the newly developed areas of residence. There is a houseboat next to them, but the next closest neighbor is a Hugo Boss store. The worn industry and polished new residences did not seem at odds, and the two seemed to have enough space to remain separated or tentatively intermingle. The contrast is evidenced in the image of the Illutron boat with the “Metropolis” in the background (the building is only two thirds of the proposed height to avoid the uppermost floors being enveloped in smoke from the nearby power plant).

The barge was really interesting. Due to the variety of interests and projects, it was crammed full of various equipment and components. The boat included a small metal shop, main work area, small kitchen, large kitchen, lounge, lookout, covered barbecue, cranes, sleeping quarters and storage. And robots. Three of them, one was named Sylvia. They also had a scraper bike a more mobile headquarters. A Mercedes.



While in Sydhavn, it would have been a loss not to visit the new development of Sluseholmen, which is a new canal district that was built on eight artificial islands with a pattern of continuous blocks with sheltered courtyards. The masterplan was a collaborative effort between Sjoerd Soeters, a Dutch architecte, and Arkitema. The result is a set of design “dogmas” that define the constraints of the area as a whole and the characteristics of individual plots. In order to create the desired diversity, 25 different firms were involved in the designs. Some examples of  the constraints are:

_At least five firms had to be involved in each block.

_Residential buildings have between five and seven stories.

_The shape and size depends on whether they face the harbor, canals, or promenades.

_Buildings on the small canals are only four stories high.




Another quick highlight was the new bridge, Teglværksbroen, which connects Sluseholmen to the neighboring district and offers a more direct connection to the city itself. It is a combined ped, bicycle and car bridge, but what caught my attention was the lift mechanism similar to automotive lift supports. They allow sailboats or larger vessels to pass through the new canals.


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