Krøyers Plads: Hot Spot with a History
Protesters and failure are part of the story of Krøyers Plads, a project that had to endure many hardships before becoming a Copenhagen favorite with a design that unites the historical surroundings with the buzz of city life on the waterfront.
When you bike from Nyhavn across the Inner Harbor Bridge on a hot summer day, you can’t miss Krøyers Plads. Locals and tourists alike flock to its delightful sidewalk cafés or just to hang out in the sun on the quay. In the heart of Copenhagen’s historical Christianshavn district, surrounded by beautiful old warehouses, Krøyers Plads has become a hot spot with respect for its surroundings.
High-rises? No thanks!
The fact that Krøyers Plads has become one of Copenhagen’s most popular urban spaces is the happy result of many years of political wrangling. Plans for Krøyers Plads started in 2003 with a high-profile architectural competition. But the winning design, a 55-meter high-rise, triggered massive protests from local residents. In 2005, the City of Copenhagen chose to abandon the plans and host a new competition – with the same outcome. Local residents demanded a project comprising low buildings that preserved the area’s heritage and atmosphere.
A Democratic Solution
In 2008, success was finally achieved. With Vilhelm Lauritzen Arkitekter at the helm, a participant process was launched with local residents to ensure that every voice was heard regarding uniting the new building with its historical surroundings.
The result was three apartment buildings that form a loose and staggered whole towards the waterfront. Each six-story building contains apartments atop street-level shops. The buildings and roofs are angled and shortened, punctuated by roof windows and balconies that provide views as well as letting daylight into the dwellings.
View of the Spiral Spire
The height of the buildings is equal to the surrounding structures, while retaining the view of Copenhagen’s many spires. Especially the view of the nearby Church of our Saviour’s spiral spire is a treasured landmark in the neighborhood.
The materials used in the buildings are also in line with the surrounding architecture. With the exception of one facade, the exterior surfaces of the buildings – including two of the roofs – are clad with various types of fired red bricks.