Prags Blvd (Part 2.1: The Architecture)

09.08.2011 § Leave a comment

The building descriptions start from the west as one heads east on Prags Boulevard toward the Amager Strand Beach (left to right).



The Neighborhood Center was the first of two buildings by Dorte Mandrup Arkitekter, which was completed in 2001. The design is an adaptive reuse of an 1880 former factory building, which was part of the facelift for the Holmbladsgade neighborhood. The community and future users acted as consultants for the needs of the center. The program includes a library, a youth club, an athletics association, an assembly hall, and meeting places for the local clubs, associations and voluntary networks.

The interior of the factory building was stripped to open up new spaces and create better connections between the various elements. The core of the center is the entry atrium, which is three-story white atrium that preserves the existing columns and beams to minimize retrofitting and conserve costs. The space is light and inviting with a ground floor café, a spiral staircase and a second story lounge. Surrounding offices and meeting rooms open into the atrium via wooden shutters and sliding doors that bring a dynamic component to the hall.

The most eye-catching part of the building is the addition of a new lecture hall. Described as a “grotto among the trees,” it is an elevated glass box supported by a network of leaning concrete columns. The wooden structure is pulled in a few feet to create seamless glass walls and enhance the appearance of a floating structure. Unfortunately, the doors were locked when I visited and I do not have my previous images with me, but I will include a nice interior shot from here. It show the LVL structural system that resembles over-sized shelves (similar to these, which were in almost every apartment I looked at in CPH). Although I remember the space being as hot as you would expect a glass box on a sunny day, the visual effect is stunning (it should be noted that, similar to Seattle, sunny days in Copenhagen are not the norm). From the slanting columns to the reflections on the glazed façade, the addition is an iconic landmark along Prags Boulevard.


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