A non-place, an urban intersection transformed in inhabited architecture. BLOX / DAC by OMA

BLOX / DAC by OMA. Photograph by © Clement Guillaume. Image courtesy of OMA
07/05/2018
A non-place, an urban intersection transformed in inhabited architecture. BLOX / DAC by OMA
[Copenhagen] Denmark
metalocus, JOSÉ JUAN BARBA
BLOX / DAC by OMA. Photograph by © Clement Guillaume. Image courtesy of OMA

OMA has completed BLOX, the new home for the Danish Architecture Center (DAC) in Copenhagen’s harbour: a new design and architecture hub in capital’s oldest neighbourhood. The building designed by OMA / Ellen van Loon with Adrianne Fisher, in the Bryghusgrunden district was opened in an official ceremony by Queen Margrethe II of Denmark on Friday, May 4.

The Old Brewery site is split by one of Copenhagen’s main ring roads. OMA’s partner in charge of the project, Ellen Van Loon, describes it as an ‘inhabited highway intersection’. A space for cars becomes a space for people; a space to pass through becomes a space to reside. Contrary to most city blocks in Copenhagen – often introverted and inaccessible – the building absorbs the city’s life.

Ellen van Loon: “BLOX is a building that embraces the infrastructural challenges of its context. By radically intermingling urban functions, we blur the boundaries between the different programs. The DAC is at the heart of the building, surrounded by its objects of study: housing, offices and parking – permanently in flux, connecting various uses and users together, almost by chance.”

The mixed-use BLOX project contains exhibition spaces, offices and co-working spaces, a café, a bookstore, a fitness center, a restaurant, twenty-two apartments and an underground automated public carpark, but it is not only the acrobatic mixing of uses that defines this project; its ultimate achievement is in ‘discovering’ its own site.
 
BLOX is a continuation of OMA’s long term interest in complex cultural buildings that actively engage with the city, and is the first completed OMA project in Scandinavia. It marks the opening of the third public building led by Ellen van Loon in two years’ time, following Rijnstraat 8 (2017) and Lab City (2017).

BLOX / DAC

Description of project by OMA

The BLOX project, home of the Danish Architecture Center (DAC), contains exhibition spaces, offices and co-working spaces, a café, a bookstore, a fitness centre, a restaurant, twenty-two apartments and an underground automated public carpark, but it is not the acrobatic mixing of uses that defines this project; its ultimate achievement is in ‘discovering’ its own site.

The Old Brewery site, split into two by one of Copenhagen’s main ring roads, didn’t really register as a building site until the design of the new DAC identified it as such. Straddling the road, making public connections both above and below, BLOX connects the parliament district with the harbour front and brings culture to the water’s edge. A space for cars becomes a space for people; a space to pass through becomes a space to reside.

The Copenhagen inner harbour has a long industrial and military history. On reclaimed land, the building site initially housed a cluster of brewery buildings which burnt to the ground in the 1960s. Since then the harbour has become the home of some of Denmark's most notable architectural icons; a linear display of the tenets of Danish Modernism: monumentality, simplicity and politeness.

BLOX adds a new impulse: creating an encounter between the water frontages, Kierkegaard's Square and the city. Its square volume, positioned directly along the harbourside, creates a sheltered public city square against the traditional yellow buildings and a much needed built front for the existing library square.

Contrary to most city blocks in Copenhagen – often introverted and inaccessible – the building absorbs the city’s life. The urban routes through the building lead to unexpected and unpredictable interactions between the building and the city, linking the different museums, libraries and historical sites around the culturally rich Slotsholmen area. A linear park along the harbour flows down below water level along the quay wall and through the building. The former playground is incorporated into the new building, as a partially covered and terraced public space, which can be transformed in the evening into an open-air cinema acting as a public foyer.

The building’s exterior is marked by a stacking of the same geometric forms in different arrangements. The offices are contained in a rectangular ring of glass facades shaded in a white frit. The ground floor functions are located in separate volumes generating openings which form the public entrances and bring the city in to the center of the building. The apartment volumes are fragmented and recessed for privacy, the landscaped terraces encircle the DAC’s central rooflight. The building’s coloured textures subtly echo the sea tones of the harbour, ever-present in the reflected light of the water.

The DAC itself forms the core of the BLOX Project, positioned in the centre, surrounded by and embedded within its objects of study: housing, offices and parking. It is organized as a vertical sequence of spaces running through the building, starting below ground and moving upwards to the cafe with its view over all of Copenhagen.

Sustainability

A broad sustainability vision has been developed for the project, not just in terms of the usual energy, carbon and resource issues, but addressing the wider social and economic impacts. The Arup SPeAR® assessment served as a tool to analyse the project and record progress against a comprehensive, holistic set of criteria spanning environmental, social and economic aspects within the wider cultural and geographical context.

Denmark’s advanced low energy requirements for buildings, arising from the 2009 Copenhagen Accord, demand an operational energy usage much lower than other countries. Bringing the building’s design in line with these criteria involved rethinking its mass and façade concepts, involving ways to reduce CO2 emissions and embodied carbon during construction and operations, as well as researching new solutions to offset and neutralise the carbon usage. The building makes use of on-site renewable energy and achieves the Low Energy Class with a primary energy usage of under 40 kWh/m²/yr.User comfort and lifetime flexibility are important elements for the durability of BLOX.

The building is acoustically isolated from road noise and vibrations with a highway bridge construction and high insulation facades. The office facades are fully glazed to provide a generous outlook and to reduce lighting energy usage. Minimal low-energy lighting fixtures combined with user task lights are used, and both lighting and facade sun shading are automated through centralised daylight control, with user controls. The building is served by a high specification heat recovery plant which uses Copenhagen’s district heating and cooling system based on seawater cooling and the use of residual heat from electricity generation.

Architects
OMA. Partner.- Ellen van Loon
Director
Adrianne Fisher
Team
CONCEPT / project architects.- Chris van
Duijn, Adrianne Fisher, Mette Lyng Hansen / Team.- Sebastian Arenram, Marc Balzar, Andrea Bertassi, Sandra Bsat, Shengze Chen, Karolina Czeczek, Marc Dahmen, Katharina Ehrenklau, Mariano Sagasta Garcia, Andrea Giannotti, Ludwig Godefroy, Maaike Hawinkels, Carmen Jimenez, Hyoeun Kim, Joana Da Rocha Sá Lima, Cristian Mare, Ana Martins, Konrad Milton, Gianna Ong-Alok, Dirk Peters, Gabriele Pitacco, Daniel Rabin, Alessandro De Santis, Yanfei Shui, Koen Stockbroekx, Ola Strandell, Nurdan Yakup. DESIGN DEVELOPMENT / project architect.- Adrianne Fisher / Team.- Paul Allen. Sebastian Arenram. Fai Au, Federico D'Angelo, Katrien van Dijk, Daniel Dobson, Katharina Ehrenklau, Clarisa Garcia-Fresco, Waqas Jawaid, Gustavo Paternina, Parizad Pezeshkpour, Alessandro De Santis, Jad Semaan, Koen Stockbroekx, Soren Thiesen, Bas van der Togt, Pero Vukovic, Joe Wu, Jung Won Yoon, Haohao Zhu. CONSTRUCTION / project architects.- Adrianne Fisher, Morten Busk Petersen, Ariel Wallner. / Team.- Fred Awty, Federico D'Angelo, Anna Grajper, Nina Grex, Gilles Guyot, Will Hartzog, Piotr Janus, Brigitta Lenz, Berenice Moran, Lea Olsson, Chong Ying Pai, Dennis Rasmussen, Ansis Šinke, Koen Stockbroekx, Soren Thiesen AMO STUDY / Ali Arvanaghi, Talia Dorsey, Chris van Duijn, Jonah Gamblin, Alasdair Graham, David Moon, Dirk Peters, Daniel Rabin, Todd Reisz, Ian Robertson, Christian Staynor, Koen Stockbroekx
Collaborators
Engineering.- ARUP, Cowi.
Local architect.- C. F. Møller, PLH Architekter. Façade Engineering.- ARUP, VS - A. Car-park consultant.- Alectia. Landscape.- Inside Outside, Kragh & Berglund. Lighting design, scenography.- Scenography.- Ducks Scéno. Acoustics.- Royal Haskoning DHV. Sustainability.- LANDSCAPE.- 1:1 Landskab. Cost and Risk Management.- Aecom
Client
Realdania Byg
Dates
2006-2018.
Commission 2006; Breaking ground 2013; Completed 2017; Opening 4 May, 2018
Program
Museum, Gallery, Mixed Use.
Office.- 8,260m². Parking.- 5,000m². Museum / gallery.- 4,730m². Residential.- 4,370m². Services.- 2.200m². Public space.- 1,635m². Restaurant / bar.- 1.000m². Total.- 27 195m²
Address
BLOX, Bryghuspladsen, 1473 Copenhagen
K, Denmark
View from the sea. BLOX / DAC by OMA. Photograph by © Rasmus Hjortshøj / Coast studi. Image courtesy of OMABLOX / DAC by OMA. Photograph by © Richard John Seymour. Image courtesy of OMABLOX / DAC by OMA. Photograph by © Richard John Seymour. Image courtesy of OMABLOX / DAC by OMA. Image courtesy of OMABLOX / DAC by OMA. Photograph by © Delfino Sisto Legnani and Marco Cappelletti. Image courtesy of OMABLOX / DAC by OMA. Photograph by © Rasmus Hjortshøj / Coast studi. Image courtesy of OMABLOX / DAC by OMA. Photograph by © Delfino Sisto Legnani and Marco Cappelletti. Image courtesy of OMABLOX / DAC by OMA. Photograph by © Hans Werlemann. Image courtesy of OMABLOX / DAC by OMA. Photograph by © Hans Werlemann. Image courtesy of OMABLOX / DAC by OMA. Photograph by © Delfino Sisto Legnani and Marco Cappelletti. Image courtesy of OMABLOX / DAC by OMA. Photograph by © Rasmus Hjortshøj / Coast studi. Image courtesy of OMABLOX / DAC by OMA. Photograph by © Richard John Seymour. Image courtesy of OMABLOX / DAC by OMA. Photograph by © Richard John Seymour. Image courtesy of OMABLOX / DAC by OMA. Photograph by © Clement Guillaume. Image courtesy of OMABLOX / DAC by OMA. Photograph by © Delfino Sisto Legnani and Marco Cappelletti. Image courtesy of OMABLOX / DAC by OMA. Photograph by © Richard John Seymour. Image courtesy of OMABLOX / DAC by OMA. Photograph by © Richard John Seymour. Image courtesy of OMABLOX / DAC by OMA. Photograph by © Richard John Seymour. Image courtesy of OMABLOX / DAC by OMA. Photograph by © Hans Werlemann. Image courtesy of OMABLOX / DAC by OMA. Photograph by © Richard John Seymour. Image courtesy of OMABLOX / DAC by OMA. Photograph by © Rasmus Hjortshoj. Image courtesy of OMABLOX / DAC by OMA. Photograph by © Rasmus Hjortshoj. Image courtesy of OMABLOX / DAC by OMA. Photograph by © Delfino Sisto Legnani and Marco Cappelletti. Image courtesy of OMABLOX / DAC by OMA. Photograph by © Rasmus Hjortshoj. Image courtesy of OMABLOX / DAC by OMA. Photograph by © Richard John Seymour. Image courtesy of OMABLOX / DAC by OMA. Photograph by © Delfino Sisto Legnani and Marco Cappelletti. Image courtesy of OMABLOX / DAC by OMA. Photograph by © Delfino Sisto Legnani and Marco Cappelletti. Image courtesy of OMABLOX / DAC by OMA. Photograph by © Delfino Sisto Legnani and Marco Cappelletti. Image courtesy of OMABLOX / DAC by OMA. Photograph by © Delfino Sisto Legnani and Marco Cappelletti. Image courtesy of OMABLOX / DAC by OMA. Photograph by © Hans Werlemann. Image courtesy of OMABLOX / DAC by OMA. Photograph by © Hans Werlemann. Image courtesy of OMABLOX / DAC by OMA. Photograph by © Hans Werlemann. Image courtesy of OMABLOX / DAC by OMA. Photograph by © Hans Werlemann. Image courtesy of OMABLOX / DAC by OMA. Photograph by © Hans Werlemann. Image courtesy of OMABLOX / DAC by OMA. Photograph by © Rasmus Hjortshoj. Image courtesy of OMABLOX / DAC by OMA. Photograph by © Rasmus Hjortshoj. Image courtesy of OMABLOX / DAC by OMA. Photograph by © Hans Werlemann. Image courtesy of OMABLOX / DAC by OMA. Photograph by © Delfino Sisto Legnani and Marco Cappelletti. Image courtesy of OMABLOX / DAC by OMA. Photograph by © Rasmus Hjortshoj. Image courtesy of OMABLOX / DAC by OMA. Photograph by © Hans Werlemann. Image courtesy of OMABLOX / DAC by OMA. Photograph by © Rasmus Hjortshoj. Image courtesy of OMABLOX / DAC by OMA. Photograph by © Richard John Seymour. Image courtesy of OMABLOX / DAC by OMA. Photograph by © Delfino Sisto Legnani and Marco Cappelletti. Image courtesy of OMABLOX / DAC by OMA. Photograph by © Adrianne Fisher-OMA. Image courtesy of OMABLOX / DAC by OMA. Photograph by © Adrianne Fisher-OMA. Image courtesy of OMABLOX / DAC by OMA. Photograph by © Hans Werlemann. Image courtesy of OMABLOX / DAC by OMA. Photograph by © Hans Werlemann. Image courtesy of OMABLOX / DAC by OMA. Photograph by © Hans Werlemann. Image courtesy of OMABLOX / DAC by OMA. Photograph by © Adrianne Fisher-OMA. Image courtesy of OMABLOX / DAC by OMA. Photograph by © Delfino Sisto Legnani and Marco Cappelletti. Image courtesy of OMABLOX / DAC by OMA. Photograph by © Delfino Sisto Legnani and Marco Cappelletti. Image courtesy of OMABLOX / DAC by OMA. Photograph by © Delfino Sisto Legnani and Marco Cappelletti. Image courtesy of OMADiagram. BLOX / DAC by OMA. Image courtesy of OMADiagram. BLOX / DAC by OMA. Image courtesy of OMADiagram. BLOX / DAC by OMA. Image courtesy of OMAUrban context. BLOX / DAC by OMA. Image courtesy of OMALocation. BLOX / DAC by OMA. Image courtesy of OMASite plan. BLOX / DAC by OMA. Image courtesy of OMAGround floor plan. BLOX / DAC by OMA. Image courtesy of OMAFirst floor plan. BLOX / DAC by OMA. Image courtesy of OMAMezzanine floor plan. BLOX / DAC by OMA. Image courtesy of OMASecond floor plan. BLOX / DAC by OMA. Image courtesy of OMAThird floor plan. BLOX / DAC by OMA. Image courtesy of OMAFourth floor plan. BLOX / DAC by OMA. 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Office for Metropolitan Architecture (OMA) is a leading international partnership practicing architecture, urbanism, and cultural analysis. OMA's buildings and masterplans around the world insist on intelligent forms while inventing new possibilities for content and everyday use. OMA is led by ten partners – Rem Koolhaas, Ellen van Loon, Reinier de Graaf, Shohei Shigematsu, Iyad Alsaka, D...read more

van Loon

Ellen van Loon joined OMA in 1998 and has led several award-winning building projects that combine sophisticated design with precise execution. Some of her most significant contributions include the new G-Star Headquarters in Amsterdam (2014); De Rotterdam, the largest building in the Netherlands (2013); New Court, the Rothschild Bank headquarters in London (2011); exterior and interior d...read more