Dorte Mandrup Architects 17.12.09

28-main-54 010 Herstedlund  1

The building is topped by a fenced-in basketball court (image: Adam Mørk)

Squat yet striking, Dorte Mandrup Architects' new community centre sits obliquely as the focal point of Herstedlund, a new neighbourhood in the Copenhagen suburb of Albertslund. "The building is a 'gift' from the client," says architect Kasper Pilemand, although the centre will be run by the residents.

The design stacks a series of community spaces onto three floors and exterior spaces, including a climbing wall, basketball court and built-in skateboarding ramp. With programmed activities ranging from coffee mornings to bridge tournaments to "hip-hop dance teams", the building attempts to accommodate activities for all generations of the local community, allowing for different simultaneous uses that can either connect with each other or remain separate.

Formally the building is rugged, even industrial. Aluminium mesh and panels weave across each other in jagged disarray, and the detailing is rudimentary. This disorder is not unappealing, however. Conceived by the architect as a "stylised tree", each floor cantilevers further out, creating a "canopy" effect that is heightened by the irregular windows. The architects chose aluminium "to underline the abstraction of the design", says Pilemand, as well as for its "ability to reflect the changing colours and light-intensities of the sky – since you will often see the building with only the sky as background". Thus the building achieves a pleasing complexity from very simple means.

28-main-54 010 Herstedlund

The building is topped by a fenced-in basketball court (image: Adam Mørk)

 

 Words

Douglas Murphy

quotes story

The design stacks a series of community spaces onto three floors and exterior spaces, including a climbing wall, basketball court and built-in skateboarding ramp

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