Det Maritime Ungdomshus
08.22.2011 § 1 Comment
The Maritime Youth Center is another project by PLOT (the BIG and JDS dreamteam) completed in 2004 and located at the northern end of the Amager Beach Park on the Øresund Sound. The design, which was originally envisioned as a 375 sq m facility, was located on land contaminated with heavy metals. The designers proposed that there was another solution than spending a quarter of the budget on costly cleanup: float the building. By creating a timber platform that acts as both the building’s structural system as well as a new work area and public amenity, the design expanded the project to a 1600 sq m youth center that houses support and storage for sailing, angling, rowing, kayaking, surfing, water-skiing and diving.
The impetus for the center was the request by locals for new youth facilities that would combine the Sundby Sailing Association’s youth section and expanded options for for younger people in the area. The most distinctive characteristic is the undulating wooden deck, which is impressively utilitarian in its work and storage capabilities as well as offering a place to barbecue, sunbathe and enjoy an incredible view of the marina, sound and beach. The enclosed portion includes club rooms, an office, a kitchen, workshops and multifunctional meeting, amenity and teaching rooms.
The day that I visited was sunny and hot (unusual in my time here so far). The center was not in use, but there were still a number of people strolling on to the roof to enjoy the view as they wandered through the marina. There were areas in disrepair/ renovation, but the primary goal of an expanded landscape seemed successful. It is a seductive form, and the design made good use of what would normally be seen as dead spaces within the complex geometry. The one interesting thing was that I would have thought there would be more use by the owners of the many fishing/summer cottages located behind the center. There were a couple of reasons I would speculate as being problematic to the surrounding users (from an observational standpoint less than a scientific or investigative journalist standpoint). Many of the people, primarily middle aged men or older couples, were sitting under some kind of shade, none of which was readily available on the wooden deck. Another possibility could be resentment. Looking historical imagery of the site, it appears that, for a time at least, there was an empty lot that could have afforded users uninterrupted water views. Since the center was a community initiative, the idea of such a grudge may be a bit far-fetched, but people do love water views… The final option would be the flies. The storage areas were open which is great for the center, but there were also a number of dirty vessels stored there. With the wooden plank construction, the flies from the boats were attracted to anything happening on the upper deck, such as a barbecue (or an innocent architectural observer), making it difficult to stay in one place for too long. Regardless, the fact that there were no local users was an interesting study in how a design can serve one sect of the community without necessarily engaging the entirety.