Copenhagen Gallery

Maritime Youth Centre

Sailing, angling, rowing, kayaking, surfing, water-skiing and diving: the Maritime Youth Centre in Amager has opened up a host of opportunities for the water-loving youths of the neighbourhood.

The centre, with its distinctive wavy deck, is located on the edge of the Øresund Sound in Sundby Sailing Association's harbour, with the new Amager Strand beach complex as its next-door neighbour. Both above and below deck there is ample opportunity for teaching, games, and leisure activities at the water's edge.

A dream centre

The youth centre came about at the request of local residents and is part and parcel of the neighbourhood face-lift around Holmbladsgade. The residents wished for a centre that could house both facilities for Sundby Sailing Association's youth section and leisure activities for youngsters in the area.

The PLOT drawing office combined those two wishes into one structure with two buildings covered by a 1,600 sq.m wavy wooden decking, poised at the water's edge like a piece of man-made scenery. On the deck, you can hang out, play, barbecue and sunbathe, and in 'bubbles' below deck there is room to store boats and other equipment. In the buildings below deck, there are club rooms, an office, a kitchen, workshops and multifunctional meeting, amenity and teaching rooms.

"We have yet to come up with something that isn't feasible in this highly multifunctional place. So, for instance, we can pull boats indoors for repair and give talks or hold workshops with no problem," says Frank Lambert, a member of staff at the Maritime Youth Centre.

Practical yet elegant solution

The wavy deck is not just fun to play on, it is also a practical and elegant solution to an environmental problem. You see, the ground beneath the Maritime Youth Centre is so badly contaminated that an ordinary building constructed straight onto the site would have required costly decontamination of the soil. "Instead of spending a quarter of the budget on cleaning up, we chose to cover the heavy metals with timber. That way, we created 1,600 square metres of outdoor space instead of the projected 375," says Julian De Smidt, an architect from PLOT. His drawing office has won several prizes for the Maritime Youth Centre's distinctive architecture and hands-on functionality.

Last updated Tuesday, January 21, 2014