sunday podwalk (or “den sorte havn”)

November 12, 2007

today i tried out the harbour front podwalk on the cphx website. i think this is a great idea…i don’t know if cities in the u.s. other than nyc (seattle? chicago? minneapolis?) do this, but it’s a great way to do a “self-guided” tour of the city at your own pace, on your own ipod. i modified it into more of a pod-bike-ride, and it was pretty cool. there are two podwalks available from cphx, and this one focuses on five new projects on copenhagen’s inner harbor. (cphx also put together a series of do-it-yourself bike tours, which are awesome!) the reason i alternatively titled this post “den sorte havn” (or “the black harbor”) is because three of the projects very dark in color. in close combination, they strike me as a little bit odd, though i’m not sure why. maybe i’m just used to super-transparent public projects in the states. anyway. i’ve included links to the podwalk audio with each project, so you can do a virtual tour (a pod-chair-surf?) through my blog! here we go…

introduction to the harbour front pod audio



harbour bath pod audio

the harbour bath was designed by the danish (former) firm plot. part of the havneparken (harbour park) on islands brygge, this project was opened in 2002 as part of the deindustrialization of the inner harbour. as shipping technology changed, the older warehouse buildings on the harbour were converted into housing and office buildings. the municipality also cleaned up the water in the harbor, and now what was once an industrial shipping lane is a body of water that is clean enough to swim in. very nice!


so, it’s a bit cold in november for anyone to be swimming, and the pool is closed for the winter…but here’s a photo from another site of the habour bath in use. in truth, it looks pretty fun. hopefully i’ll get a chance to try it out before i leave in june…i’m actually moving to the neighborhood of the harbour bath in january, so it will be just a short walk away from my new place. : )



black diamond pod audio

this is a new, rather high-profile project by danish firm schmidt hammer lassen. it’s actually an extension of the old library, which is located directly behind it and not really visible in the photo. the building is clad in black granite with transparent materials at street level so that is seems to “float” above the ground (still not totally sold on this). it does make it look a little less bulky, i guess. the slice of glass in the center is the main atrium. i’m a little embarrassed to admit this, but i haven’t been inside yet. i think it’s because i’m still waiting to get my danish social security card in the mail, after which i can get myself a library card and actually use the library.


a view of the black diamond from the southwest. there’s a really nice plaza (foreground) that steps down to the harbor, providing lots of places to sit and relax. also, the building allows the street christians brygge to pass through it under a series of overhead bridges. you can just see a tiny piece of the old library to the left of this photo (the brick building).


detail of the bridges over christians brygge.



nordea pod audio

this is the danish headquarters of nordea bank (the only non-public project on the podwalk). henning larsen designed this campus of buildings, which was completed in 1995. the firm tried to make the buildings both modern and contextual, and paid particular attention to the massing and spacing of other structures on the harbor. i think they did a pretty good job; materially, it relates to the black diamond rather well (this was built first, though, so maybe it’s the other way around), and the forms complement the existing harbourfront structures.


more views of the nordea hq: two of the office buildings with vor frelser kirke (our saviour’s church) in the background/view northeast up the harbour


playhouse pod audio

this is the new playhouse for the danish royal theatre, which is currently under construction (though almost finished!), and was designed by lundgaard and tranberg, yet another danish firm. actually, i learned from the podwalk that until very recently, copenhagen was closed to international designers (for 250 years!)…i don’t have the exact dates on this, but i’ll be sure to ask around about it.


another view of the playhouse from across the harbour



opera pod audio

it was tough to escape my shadow today. (sigh…that harsh winter light in northern europe.) the last building on the tour was the new opera, which i’ve mentioned in my blog before as being somewhat controversial. the opera, like the nordea headquarters, was designed by henning larsen. it was offered to the city as a gift by the shipping magnate mærsk mckinney møller on the condition that he could have complete control over the building’s siting and design. the city agreed. møller proceeded to locate the new opera on the harbour, directly along copenhagen’s royal axis, so now it sits in line with the frederikskirke and amalienborg palace. (i was also told the the city did an eis for the site and determined that the construction of the new building would have NO negative effect on the harbour whatsoever, and that the site was perfectly fine to build on as it was…a bit sketchy, if you ask me.)


there’s that shadow again…these are two views (from the side/from the front) of the main atrium space of the opera house. rhiannon and i actually got rush standing-room tickets and saw la bohème here in october. it was really fun, and definitely worth it. though i’m not a huge fan of the building’s exterior, the inside is actually quite nice. here are links to some of rhiannon’s excellent interior photos: (operainterior1.jpg, operainterior2.jpg).


the opera from the rear


harbour front conclusion pod audio

my personal conclusion is this: the podwalk gets two thumbs up. more places should have podwalks and bike tours, and i hope cphx makes some more (in english, too, please!) for copenhagen, because there is so much great architecture to see. i really liked the theme that this one had of the changing harbour, and being able to see a number of projects that tell the story of its transition from an industrial area to a public amenity.

and for those of you who are getting bored by all of this architecture, relief is on the way! it’s off to norway on friday, so there are travel photos in the blog’s future. : )

One Response to “sunday podwalk (or “den sorte havn”)”

  1. Rhiannon Says:

    I want to go in the pool!! Maybe I should come back in the summer 😉

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