Love Architecture? Visit Copenhagen
With overseas travel being off limits for much of 2020, the beginning of the year is always a time to get back to planning a break. As we are becoming increasingly conscious of our carbon footprint, consumer demand for European city breaks has been steadily rising over the past decade. So, with this in mind, where’s my architectural city short haul pick? Clue: it’s stylish, sustainable, uncluttered and it’s quick to get to from London. When it comes to architecture, Copenhagen should not be missed- get ready to be inspired.
The city features all the perks of a cool European capital, thanks to its culture and nightlife, with a hygge feel (cosy) due to its small size and laid back nature.
Everything in Copenhagen is within cycling distance, from museums, castles to design shops, hip cafes, but also beaches and green spaces. The city is one which feels airy with spacious streets that glaringly favour pedestrians. It offers some of the most interesting examples of modern architecture in Europe.
Copenhagen Architecture at a Glance
Copenhagen is world famous for its real-life interiors and contemporary architectural inspiration. It has an enviable reputation that first and foremost has its history in the modern era between 1930 and 1970. Not least 1950s Danish furniture design is still today celebrated world wide for its aesthetics and craftsmanship. It’s interesting to see how Copenhagen has changed over the last 40nyears. Everywhere you look there is amazing architecture combining the old and the new and a die hard sense of design.
These are some of Copenhagen’s architectural must-sees that are part of Copenhagen’s cityscape alongside historic buildings.
Modern Harbour Front
The harbour front area and BLOX with its public squares, art exhibition spaces and bike bridge is a fantastic example of Copenhagen’s development and sustainable urban planning.
It reflects the Danish strive for equality and democratisation of public spaces. What sets it apart is that it offers a meeting place for everyone where architecture fans, cyclists, families and outdoor lovers can enjoy the views of the harbour.
The Black Diamond
On the harbour front sits the Black Diamond and is one of the city’s key modern architecture attractions. Designed by architects Schmidt Hammer Lassen, a visit to this amazing library is a must. It’s where the old meets the new and where suspended balconies float over the sea, creating a sense of continuity between land sea. The space is awash with light and outside the black facets channels flashes of the sun on the sea-hence its nickname “The Black Diamond”.
The Danish Architecture Centre
Mærsk Tower is the new 15 storey building in the heart of what is known as Copenhagen Science City and houses the Faculty of Health and Medical Sciences of the University of Copenhagen. The architecture of the tower reflects the strong sense of community and social responsibility in Denmark. Furthermore, it offers inclusive access to the public, whether it is to use the sports hall and playground after hours to be able to view the spectacular vista for free.
The School by the Sound
A visit to Copenhagen would not do it justice without a trip to marvel at the architecture that is Copenhagen’s School by the Sound, designed by the Danish architect Kaj Gottlob.
What makes the structure unique architecturally is its celebration of communal space, light, and air, as well as its continuous and smooth mastery of form and function.
Don’t miss the tour here and like any good tour, it ends with a big reveal-the ceiling of the main auditorium is inscribed with a large compass that hovers over an inlaid map in the floor detailing the building’s context of land and sea. Public architecture at its best.
The Royal Danish Playhouse
The Royal Playhouse is designed by the Danish architectural practice Lundgaard & Tranberg and received a RIBA European Award in 2008 for its architecture and won the prize “Sustainable Concrete 2009”.
The glazed foyer facing the water runs along the entire length of the building. It affords one of the most spectacular positions in Copenhagen- right above the water.
The theatre is designed by the Danish architectural practice Lundgaard & Tranberg. It is built in glass, copper and a custom designed deep-brown brick. The oak floor establishes a connection with the outdoor deck of the promenade. And with the subtle lighting, single LED lights hanging from the ceiling, there is a minimal reflection in the glass wall.
The playhouse also shows how user involvement of the public space is possible, as it opens up on three sides for public access and invites by-passers to step inside and experience the interior.
Copenhagen Must See
Additionally, a trip will not be complete without a few hours spent at Glyptoteket right in the centre of Copenhagen, this beautiful museum is famous for its sculpture collection, which is built around the personal collection of Carl Jacobsen.
Surrounded by a stunning park with copies of famous sculptures, the Glyptotek’s building is a real beauty. Be sure to see the winter garden with tall palm trees and a small fountain under the huge glass dome.
The sculptures themselves are displayed in light-flooded halls, whose walls are painted in different colours to highlight the white marble sculptures. This creates the perfect atmosphere and does not distract from the pieces of art.
Copenhagen Must Stay
And finally, the Hotel Alexandra is the only place to stay if you are a Danish design connoisseur.
The hotel has sourced a large collection of world-famous Danish mid-century vintage furniture, and decorated its 61 rooms with them. Combined with textiles, wallpapers and other gems, they will “take you back in time to experience living like the design-loving Danes did in the 50s and 60s”.
The hotel is located right on H.C. Andersens Boulevard, a stone’s throw from City Hall Square and Tivoli Gardens.
Hotel Alexandra, H.C. Andersens Blvd 8, 1553 Copenhagen – rooms from DKK 600 – hotelalexandra.dk
Wan to get to know the city further? Check out www.visitcopenhagen.com
Have you been to Copenhagen where are your favourite places to visit?