Red Cross Volunteer building: Take the Stairs Over the Roof


Rasmus Hjortshøj COAST

An outdoor gathering place for Danish Red Cross volunteers offers optical illusions – and a great place to sit down and socialize.

Just a few seconds’ walk from the Metro station at Trianglen (a triangular intersection in Østerbro), you’ll find a giant yellow brick staircase. You have to a be a little careful when navigating it – we recommend that you slow down and note how lines and shadows impact your orientation skills. Depending on the direction of the lighting, it almost looks like the steps of this asymmetrical staircase are disappearing right before your eyes. There’s plenty of room here to sit down and have a look around. Everyone is welcome.

The staircase comprises one wall and the roof of a new building for Red Cross volunteers. And a surprise awaits on the other side of the stairs: Here you can look through the enormous glass facade into an inviting and spacious open room. Curious passersby are welcome to come inside for a chat, and depending on the day, they may also discover a virtual reality installation, an exhibition or some other activity or event. 

For Copenhagen tourists, Blegdamsvej – a street that extends from Trianglen – may not be at the top of list when it comes to beautiful and lively streets. This broad, high-traffic road is lined with tall, silent facades and cars parked several layers deep as far as the eye can see. But if you’re interested in new architecture, there’s good reason to continue. Walking towards the vibrant cafes of Nørrebro, other new, trendsetting works of architecture come into view. Examples include Rigshospitalet’s (University Hospital of Copenhagen) North Wing and Maersk Tower, which is part of the University of Copenhagen.



  • The atmosphere of Blegdamsvej does a 180 when the nearby Fælledparken, located behind the Volunteer Building, hosts major events. In connection with the big May Day demonstrations and popular 5 and 10K runs, the street overflows with people.


  • The Volunteer Building is a gathering place for the 33,000 volunteers in the Danish Red Cross, and was developed in cooperation with COBE Architects and others.


  • COBE Architects has made a notable impact on today’s Copenhagen with projects such as Nørreport Station, Israels Plads, Krøyers Plads and Tingbjerg Cultural Center and Library