WERK architects and Sangberg Architects, formerly Polyform Arkitekter, have, together with the Dutch Karres en Brands Landschapsarchitecten, renovated Hauser Plads. They have created an attractive working environment for the employees at Center for Renhold, whose offices are a secret oasis underneath the futuristic play landscape at street level.
“The concept behind this project is to build downwards instead of upwards. This allows building new space-consuming offices and staff facilities, and by integrating the construction with a coming playground on Hauser Plads, we have created a brand new type of construction. A scenic office development free from the turbulent winds, shadows or outside views”, Nikolaj Frølund Thomsen, WERK 2011
Urban Densification & Urban Life
Hauser Plads is a strong example of how you by building downwards can create space underneath the surface. The urban densification is particularly ingenious since it neither disturbs the original qualities of the urban space nor shades the existing buildings. The establishment of the offices has increased the density of the area and added scenic qualities to the previously grey square. In this way, the project convincingly shows how, through an understanding of the function, history and character of an area, you can create an underground oasis in the highly dense city and offer recreational areas for the city’s citizens at the centre of an old medieval city like Copenhagen.
“We succeeded in creating a new area in central Copenhagen where you can take a break or play. We can also see than more cafes have opened and that people have started using the square more actively.” Thomas Kock, Sangberg Architects, Wonderful Copenhagen 2013
Center for Renhold used to be housed in some containers by Nørreport. This was where the idea for a different office environment that merges with the existing urban space was formed. The curved glass facades that surround the office’s underground space ensures maximum influx of light. This means that more light reaches the offices than prescribed by the Danish Building Regulations – despite their underground location.
“KBP.EU – a collaboration between Dutch Karres en Brands and Polyform – has been nominated for the architectural award, Årets Arne, for having created a well-conceived and beautiful project with an excellently laid out exterior and interior for Center for Renhold, but also for saving the light between the buildings and Copenhagen’s squares to the Copenhageners.” Danish Association of Architects 2013
About the case
The renovation of Hauser Plads is part of the City of Copenhagen’s urban development of the street of Købmagergade which started in 2008. By exploiting part of the former parking area, we have created an attractive underground working environment for the around 100 employees at Center for Renhold. The residents of Copenhagen can enjoy the open urban space with a playground, which has been created at street level. Here, an old, worn down playground has been replaced by an almost futuristic play landscape with organic shapes and surrounded by pine trees and a white fence. From the play landscape, which constitutes the roof of the facilities of Center for Renhold, you can look down to the offices and green outdoor spaces under the ground. A link has been created between the square and Kultorvet and Købmagergade, which feature the same granite paving and lighting design.
Under the ground, Center for Renhold’s office functions are placed around the open outdoor spaces to get the most out of the daylight. The soft shapes maximise the influx of light, while uniting the outdoor spaces visually with the play landscape at street level. The centre has offices, bathrooms, changing rooms and a canteen, and underneath the building, the remaining old 1,900 m2 parking facility has been renovated and restored.