architect: Vilhelm Lauritzen Architects e COBE

location: Danimarca

year: 2017

Krøyers Plads is a significant location in the centre of the Copenhagen harbour area. The site
constituted a gap in the continuous rows of old warehouses that sit perpendicular to the harbour
and was an architectural and political battlefield in Copenhagen for more than a decade. When
the final building design for this beautiful historical site was developed by Vilhelm Lauritzen Architects and COBE, many architectural proposals had already been rejected by local organizations
and politicians for various reasons.

photo by Rasmus Hjortshøj
photo by Rasmus Hjortshøj

With a prime location in the Copenhagen harbour, opposite the Royal Playhouse, the historical Nyhavn, and next to the world’s best restaurant, Noma, the project consists of 3 five-story housing units with 105 apartments ranging from 79 to 250 m2 in size. The ground floor of the three buildings houses restaurants, shops and a supermarket. Krøyers Plads is surrounded by a wooden waterfront promenade, which has become a favorit spot to catch the sun in the Danish summers.

photo by Rasmus Hjortshøj
photo by Rasmus Hjortshøj

A hyper-democratic approach
Set between 300-year-old industrial warehouses the new development is based on the constraints and demands from the public voices of Copenhageners and is a modern interpretation of the old buildings that are so characteristic for the harbour front in Copenhagen.
”The neighbours were for instance invited to help define the height of the buildings and to help select the materials – both crucial for the way the new Krøyers Plads relates to its surroundings. Instead of inventing a new building typology, Krøyers Plads became a reinvention of the one already found adjacent to the site – the industrial warehouse,” says Dan Stubbergaard, Founder and Creative Director at COBE.

photo by Rasmus Hjortshøj
photo by Rasmus Hjortshøj

The design is based on a hyper-democratic approach. An architectural storytelling that through a dialogue with the local community strives to create a meaningful and comprehensive infill. The approach was to translate all significant characteristics of the old warehouses, such as the harbour facing gables, the heavy expression, building height and materiality, into modern design parameters that meet both functional and climatic demands. The design by Vilhelm Lauritzen Architects and COBE was begun in 2011. In 2013, construction started and now the modern housing project is finished and the new owners have moved in.

photo by Rasmus Hjortshøj
photo by Rasmus Hjortshøj

First Eco-labelled apartment buildings

Besides the emphasis on site context and public involvement, focus has also been on developing the modern warehouses after a series of sustainability principles, which means that the buildings meet the need for environmental, social, economic and resource-focused aspects of construction. ”From the start we were determined to create the first Nordic Eco-labelled apartment buildings in the world. The Nordic Ecolabel is a label that requires very high standards for sustainability - both in terms of environmental and constructional quality,” says Thomas Scheel, partner at Vilhelm Lauritzen Architects.

photo by Rasmus Hjortshøj
photo by Rasmus Hjortshøj

In addition to high demands with regard to the building materials, there are demands for low energy consumption. To be awarded the Nordic Ecolabel the buildings must be at least 25 percent more energy efficient than applicable legal requirements – Krøyers Plads is nearly 40 percent more energy efficient than the legal requirements. All apartments in Krøyers Plads were sold before construction started, and the entire development was finished in 2016. The development won the prestigious MIPIM Award for Best Residential Development in 2015, and has just been announched the winner of the Green Good Design Award in January 2017.

About the project:
name: Krøyers Plads (English: Krøyer Square)
place: Copenhagen, Denmark
client: NCC Property Development
architects: Vilhelm Lauritzen Architects and COBE
landscape: GHB Landscape Architects
engineer: COWI
contractor: NCC Construction
program: Private housing and retail
size: 20.000 m2
status: Commission 2011, construction start 2013, completion end of 2016
photographer: Rasmus Hjortshøj - COAST

About Vilhelm Lauritzen Architects: Vilhelm Lauritzen Architects is a full-service firm of architects that works with development and planning, architecture and design. A committed staff of more than 100 employees transform knowledge, empathy and stance into good solutions. Vilhelm Lauritzen Architects’ long-standing consultancy work with Danish and foreign property developers means that with our extensive experience, we can live up to the professional demands and expectations that are required for all phases of a project process in order to create value for the customer – and to achieve architecture that creates identity and meaning.

About COBE: COBE is an architectural company founded in 2006 by architect Dan Stubbergaard. In only ten years, COBE has established itself as a leading practice with great understanding of architecture as a social engine. The practice’s projects take its starting point in each location’s particular potential and insists on creating increased value for the users and the surrounding environment. Among the most significant projects are Nørreport Station - Copenhagen’s busiest train station, the development of Nordhavn, the North Harbour in Copenhagen - the biggest city development project in Scandinavia, a new iconic conference building for Adidas in the sport brand’s head-quarter in Germany, Denmark’s new rock music museum in Roskilde and the transformation of Paper Island in Copenhagen.