Steven Holl Architects’ design for the dramatic new harbor entrance to the great
city of Copenhagen is based on a concept of two towers carrying two bridges at
two orientations all connecting back to the unique aspects of the site’s history.
The Langenlinie site, a berth for ocean ships for decades, is expressed in the
Langenlinie tower with geometry taken from the site’s shape. A prow-like public
deck thrusts out to the sea horizon. This deck is the level of public entry to the
bridge elevators and has public amenities such as cafes and galleries. It can be
reached by a wide public stair as well as escalators. The Marmormolen tower
connects back to the City with a main terrace that thrusts out towards the city
horizon shaped by a public auditorium below. It can also be reached by
escalators and is adjacent to the public bridge elevator lobby.
Each tower carries its own cable-stay bridge that is a public passageway
between the two piers. Due to the site geometry, these bridges meet at an angle,
joining like a handshake over the harbor. The soffits below the bridges and under
the cantilevers pick up the bright colors of the harbor; container orange on the
undersides of the Langenlinie, bright yellow on the undersides of the
Marmormolen. At night the uplights washing the colored aluminum reflect like
paintings in the water.
Regarding the winning design proposal, the competition Jury cited the following:
‘The jury has unanimously decided to nominate Steven Holl Architects entry as
the winner of the competition. The reason being the special importance placed
on creating two buildings each adapted to the site, and the overall idea of how to
connect these buildings and ensure that they form a whole across the harbor
basin. The project involves a sense of place which is essential for a project on
this prominent site.”
The project utilizes a variety of progressive sustainable solutions to ensure this
important international landmark is rooted in Denmark’s identity as one of the world leaders in alternative energy. Both towers have high performance glass curtainwalls with a veil of solar screen made of photovoltaics; collecting the sun’s energy while shading. They are connected to a seawater heating/cooling system with radiant heating in the floor slabs and radiant cooling in the ceiling. Natural ventilation is provided on every floor with windows opening at the floor level and ceiling level for maximum air circulation. Optimum natural light is provided to all offices due to the reflective light performance of the screens. Wind turbines line the top of the pedestrian bridge roof; providing all electricity for lighting the public spaces. Due to wind power, this inviting harbor front gateway is always glowing.