Site: Copenhagen, Denmark
Area: 19.500 m2
Status: Competition, shared 1st prize awarded
As other ancient cities, Copenhagen is the result of meetings between planned and random processes as well as between the city as heritage and as a living changeable organism. Købmagergade lies in the center of Copenhagen and as it is today it is an appendix to Strøget, the main shopping street of the city.
Through our proposal it is our goal to create a balance between history and modernity, the local and the international, the inspired and the inspiring as well as between movement and pause.
A graphical pattern, existing of white and black paving stones, is laid out to create a visual an aesthetic connection in the area. Each part of the area is gets its own identity within this connection and hereby accentuates different atmospheres in the city spaces. Three very different plazas lies within the area. Each of these are given different identities and functions. Kultorvet, the black square, is laid out with all black paving and light is integrated in the ground. The light adapts to the changing scenarios of the plaza. A simple stroke on a plaza that serves as a flow space for thousands of commuters every day. Hauser Square is the green plaza. It is a quiet oasis in the middle of the throbbing life of the city. Today it serves as playground and this identity is kept and improved by creating an artificial scenic playscape for children of all ages. Here light and water becomes and integrated part of the playground. Trinitatis Church Square, the white square, is a key historic plaza in Copenhagen. Here the existing paving is integrated in the new paving pattern. It is kept simple, all white, and uplights are put all along the facades, at each column of the historic building.
Like other old cities Copenhagen is the result of encounters between planning and coincidences, the architectural traces of changing times and their social processes and also between the city as a heritage and as a living, changeable reality. It is organised between major junctions and various transitions between the centre and periphery. In the middle of this complexity are the pedestrian precinct Købmagergade and its three rest spots at Kultorvet, Hauser Plads and Trinitatispladsen respectively. As an unbroken whole these places help define one of Copenhagen’s most central axes. Based on a considerably varying area, the intention is to continue the existing, informal identity of a place that already defines itself as a judicious mixture of many different stimuli, incentives and rhythms. During the day the area is one of the most intense streets in Copenhagen but it is today far more defined by the people of the area than by architectural and design elements.
With the revitalisation of Købmagergade, Kultorvet, Hauser Plads and Trinitatispladsen a clearly defined course of movement can be created in Copenhagen that combines time and space, history and the present in an even balance whilst at the same time links itself to the surrounding sights in a natural way. The squares are social junctions created for leisure and they are particularly valuable as sensory breaks of space: open pockets in the city’s routes and an extension of daylight that together form a proper contrast to the linear and future-driven progress represented in the pedestrian precinct which has contrarily been designed for movement.
Three types of urban space
Three distinctive squares – Kultorvet, Hauser Plads and Trinitatispladsen – together with Frederiksborggade/Købmagergade form the physical framework of the project.
As mentioned, the idea is that these squares be designed for leisure and activities for citizens and visitors who are not in transit or movement. The squares’ present qualities, characteristics, degree of closeness and intended functions are emphasized through the design of surfaces and lighting. Kultorvet is a classic urban space characterised by movement, well defined by its construction elements and horizontal in its appearance. In our proposal the experience of the square is emphasised as a flat two-dimensional blanket that may function as and appear to be a multi-use and active urban space. Kultorvet is the proposal’s black square.
Hauser Plads lives a quiet and secluded life characterised by children and trees. In our proposal this is highlighted in an urban landscape development with green hilly landscapes and trees that support the encounter between play and rest. Hauser Plads is the proposal’s green square. Trinitatispladsen is the task’s sacral and astronomical square. It is a unique encounter between natural science and religion and in fact consists of two spaces: an outer urban space and an inner church space. Both are vertical in their appearance. In our proposal the towering effect is highlighted – the encounter between astronomy and religion and an almost astral peace. Trinitatispladsen is the proposal’s white square.
– variations on paving: Conceptually we have divided the competition area into four parts; the black square (Kultorvet), the green square (Hauser Plads), the white square (Trinitatispladsen) and the patterned street (Frederiksborggade/Købmagergade). The streets for movement fluctuate between intensity and relaxation with the Kultorvet designed in black paving, the Hauser Plads in green paving and the Trinitatispladsen in white paving.
– variations on water effects: Water forms part of an active design element in the concept which helps emphasise the local character and identity of the individual urban spaces.
– variations on lighting: The use of lighting in the proposal not only takes the functional element into consideration but helps, like the water, to emphasise and define the identities of the individual urban spaces and the overall progression. In general, the lighting of the squares is designed as a combination of fixtures placed in the pavement (however not in Frederiksborggade and Købmagergade) and changing streetlights above (not Kultorvet).