Torpedo Hall Apartments



Located in the old Torpedo (boat) Hall on Holmen, the 67 apartments by Tegnestuen Vandkunsten are the first loft-style residences built in Copenhagen.

Af Kirsten Kiser

With its canals and maritime atmosphere, Holmen — the former Royal Naval Dockyards — is an area of great natural beauty and significant architectural value.  The abandoned 17th-century red-brick warehouses, barracks, and foundries now house the Royal Academy schools specializing in drama, film, design, architecture, and music as well as theaters, galleries, restaurants, offices, and shops.

The steel-and-concrete Torpedo Hall, constructed in 1954, served as a maintenance hall for torpedo boats. In the conversion, the architects left the structural elements intact to emphasize the unique architecture of the 155-meter-long building. Trusses and columns stand untouched by the new building.

The new independent concrete structure has the same five-meter grid as the columns in the old hall but, to emphasize the two independent structures, the architects shifted the grid by 40 centimeters and pulled back the new facades from the existing columns. Parking is located behind sloping steel panels.

The old roof was removed, exposing the original trusses to allow daylight into the interior street on the second floor above the garage. Footbridges running across and along the street contribute to a dynamic sequence of movement.

All apartments can be accessed from the interior street, from which a large wooden staircase leads to the lower floors along the canal — the former boat basin that was kept as an extension to the street. Owners of small boats can dock on the canal. A freestanding elevator is located at the intersection of the upper and lower streets; additional elevators are located inside the new building.

The impressive building volume is carried into the light and flexible one- and two-story loft apartments that, varying in both size and layout, all have either a roof terrace or a balcony.  The slender trusses are left exposed in the penthouse apartments, where they support the new roof.