Aalborg

02.27.2012 § Leave a comment

Another trip to Jutland! Two domestic flights in one week. The security line was the most mellow experience I have ever had at an airport. Show up 20 mins before departure, no ID check, no full body scan, everyone is even in a good mood, obvious by the signage at the airport in Aalborg.

As the newest intern (of over 20!), I was chosen to go to help take down an exhibition that the office has had up since December in Aalborg at the Utzon Center, which showcased a wide range of work. The exhibit was also about process and making architecture more accessible to the public, so part of the gallery was biven over to studio space. One of the design studio actually met in the gallery for class and critiques, and their desks were on exhibit through the design of the project. It seemed like it would be hard to work through the creative process while on display, but everyone for the most part had positive responses about the project and process.

The center was designed by the son, Kim Utzon, with input from the father, I was told. The curved glulam beams and peaks on the building house Utzon’s sailboat, which faces the fjord. Yep, the largest fjord in Denmark cuts through Aalborg, or borders it at least. Not quite the image I had of a fjord after seeing photos from Norway’s vast network, but the water bordering the industrial areas was quite picturesque and fitting with the weather. The center definitely showcases the view with the colonnades and large windows framing the water and power plants. Not a bad place to study architecture.

*An interesting aside: I have been working quite a few weekends lately, so I have met the people who come in to clean the office several times. One day I was talking with the one man, and he got very excited after hearing of my trip to Aalborg and the Utzon Center. He got on my computer and typed in the URL for Utzonphotos, and told me how it was his site. It is impressive! He has beautifully documented almost all of Utzon’s projects in great photographic detail.

Another highlight was the converted power station, Nordkraft, which was right down the street. I only was able to visit in the evening, so the images are not the best. However, for a converted industrial space, it is one of the better adaptations I have seen. A lot of raw materials and existing equipment were left in place, and the program was possibly the most interesting combination of public/private uses ever: part university building, part theater, part music venue, part gymnastics center, part art gallery, part tourist office, part bar (x3), part restaurant (x4), part shop (x2), plus offices upstairs. There is a lot of talk about hybridizing program and bringing different user groups together, but I had never really seen a great example of it as I did in this building. Apparently the whole complex grew from a community theater/music group that put on shows and had accumulated enough money to convince the government that the building should be a piece of the community rather than developed for commercial purposes (which had fallen through anyway with the whole economy). Of course, this was what I gathered following a tour in progress (in Danish) translated from the other intern that was there, so some of the facts may be incorrect. Hopefully it is accurate (if not precise).

Also, Aalborg is apparently undergoing an expansion, with Coop Himmelblau designing a new House of Music, see the cranes below, and HLA working on new student housing right next door. Apologies if the images are out of order, my organizational skills within the galleries are somewhat lacking in the name of time…

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