Tuesday, October 9, 2012

Spotlight: SLA - "The City Dune"

Copenhagen, Denmark
The harbor front of Copenhagen has through the years been widely criticized for being the site of low quality office buildings, introvert shopping malls, bad infrastructure, and few, if any, public spaces worth using.

Here, above an underground car park on the corner of two traffic-heavy streets, the Swedish SEB Bank chose to erect its Scandinavian headquarters. SLA got the assignment to create an urban space that could tie the new headquarter together with the surrounding area, the harbor, and the rest of Copenhagen. An open space in front of a bank does not necessarily need to be anonymous, grey, and void of people. On the contrary, SLA designed the area as a green and welcoming ‘open foyer’ for the public and employees of the bank alike.
The result is a sustainable and fully accessible urban space covering an area of 7.300 m2. Like a giant dune of sand or snow it slips in between the buildings, thereby creating a spatial coherence in the design. Simultaneously, the urban space, elevated 7 meters above the surroundings, ensures the mobility of pedestrians and cyclists, leading from SEB and the harbor past The Danish National Archives and on to the Tivoli Congress Center.

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