Copenhagen Gallery

Axeltorv Square 2

Scala is the past and a completely new Axeltorv Square is the future. There will be five new towers, an urban garden and a multitude of trees, all improving the urban environment

Since the late 1800s the address "Axeltorv Square 2" has been associated with leisure pursuits and amusements.

First there was the concert hall and entertainment venue National Scala, which kept the citizens of Copenhagen entertained right up until the 1950s. In 1957 National Scala was demolished to make way for the Anva department store. The store closed in 1987 and the building underwent a radical renovation over the next two years, and in 1989 Scala opened its doors with restaurants, shops, fitness centre, cinema and basement discotheque. But, despite its central location and wide range of entertainment offerings, Scala died a death. Several subsequent attempts to breathe life back into Scala failed, and now the building has been demolished.

The property company Norden bought the site and commissioned the architects Lundgaard & Tranberg to design a building, which will achieve what Scala did not: the generation of life and activity, both outside and in.

Five round towers

The new building will consist of five tower-like constructions, placed asymmetrically and independent of each other. The towers will all be of different sizes, adapted to the surrounding architecture. So the lowest tower (28 metres) will face Axeltorv Square, while the highest (61 metres) will overlook the blocks to the west. The five towers will be joined at the top by footbridges, so that at street level there will be free access between the buildings.

City life at the bottom - lawyers at the top

The building will provide premises for the law firm Gorissen Federspiel, but the ground floor and first floor will be open to the public. There will be shops and restaurants on the ground floor, and big staircases will lead up to the first floor, where a public urban garden will be created.

City life on Axeltorv Square will be nourished

One of the challenges Axeltorv Square poses is that there is a ton of traffic, but not much city life. People rush through, seldom stopping to pass time on the square. The new building will create a context for teeming, vibrant city life on and around Axeltorv Square.

The architects will achieve this by opening up the building, so it acts more like a thoroughfare than a barrier. At street level it will be possible to enter the building from all sides, to take a short cut through or to spend time in the small spaces, which the buildings create.

Meanwhile, Axeltorv Square will receive a loving makeover with trees and a scenic environment with circular mounds and hollows.

A green touch to remind you of the Copenhagen of olden days

The green areas of Tivoli's old gardens, the Botanical Gardens and H.C. Ørsted's Park are leftovers from the ancient ramparts, which surrounded and protected Copenhagen, from the Middle Ages right up until the 1850s. The ancient banks also ran through the area, where Axeltorv Square is located today. This historic reference will be outlined by a green line of trees, which will lead from Jernbanegade, across Axeltorv Square and Vesterbrogade and end at Tivoli.

The new building on the site of Scala, the green touch and the new Axeltorv Square together will create a new, recreational area in the very centre of Copenhagen. The city will be opened up and city life will have a new setting to enjoy. 

Tuesday, November 27, 2012 / By Ida Oline Frandsen

Last updated Wednesday, February 04, 2015