Scan Magazine, Issue 93, October 2016

Page 66

Scan Magazine  |  Special Theme  |  Nordic Architecture Special – Denmark

Left: Årstiderne Arkitekter is working to transform Copenhagen’s old post office into a new, vibrant office and shopping environment in Copenhagen’s historic city centre. Right: When building in new residential areas, Årstiderne Arkitekter’s main goals are to facilitate a strong, lively and diverse community. The firm does this by providing a broad variety of accommodation categories and utilising the space between private and public.

never an isolated project, but is always regarded as a part of its surroundings.” To meet all these needs, Årstiderne Arkitekter has special teams of landscape and space-planning architects, ensuring that the buildings they are commissioned to create fulfil their purpose in, between and around their urban setting.

Restructuring to revive Among the projects destined to significantly impact on Copenhagen’s urban environment is the restructuring of the historic post office in Købmagergade, one of Copenhagen’s busiest pedestrian shopping streets. In its heyday 50 years ago, the 16,000-square-metre building was the workplace of 750 people. But when the post office finally closed two years ago, only 50 people worked there and the historic building, parts of which date back to 1728, was largely closed off to the public. However, when the building reopens in 2017, it will once again be buzzing with life as Årstiderne Arkitekter is creating workspaces for around 800 people and opening up the historic block to the public. “It changes the city when you bring in more people and knit together separated parts, and that’s what it takes to ensure that the central areas do not lose their vibrancy. The same thing happened when we opened up Irma’s old headquarter, another block that used to house hundreds of employees. Today it 66  |  Issue 93  |  October 2016

is happening again, and it has completely changed the surrounding milieu. Coffee bars are shooting up and the building’s ground floor, which houses a number of cafés and restaurants, opens up onto the pedestrian paths, blurring the borders between the building and the city,” explains Westfall. The restructured Irma block is also the home of Årstiderne Arkitekter’s Copenhagen office and its 70 employees.

Facilitating new ways of living Through its work to restructure existing buildings with respect for both the past and the future, Årstiderne Arkitekter has gathered extensive experience and insight into the importance of adaptability and versatility. Therefore, it is also an inherent part of the firm’s work process to ensure that new buildings do not only accommodate a mixture of uses but are also adaptable to be reshaped in the future. “When you work with the creation of entirely new residential areas, like we do in Nordhavn, Sydhavn and Ørestad, we as architects have to ensure that every individual building fulfils its role in the new community we are facilitating in collaboration with the municipality and investors. It’s about working within the space that exists between the urban and the private and making sure that we create a feeling of closeness and community rather than isolation,” says

Westfall and rounds off. “That’s what characterises urban life – it’s a complex ever-changing mixture of present and future communities and functions.” FACTS ABOUT ÅRSTIDERNE ARKITEKTER: Årstiderne Arkitekter was founded by Per Laustsen in 1985. Årstiderne Arkitekter employs approximately 300 people, 70 of whom work in the Copenhagen office. The company undertakes more than 600 projects every year. Årstiderne Arkitekter works closely with developers and project managers and always has a designated contact person on each project. The company specialises in minimising risks and creating the greatest possible value for clients and users by basing projects on experience and knowledge and including past, present and future considerations and costs in project plans. Thanks to the firm’s scale and expertise, Årstiderne Arkitekter can move very quickly when it comes to, for instance, technical due diligence reports, idea presentation and investor potentials.

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