Copenhagen Gallery

The Hørgården Centre

Hørgården, in north-western Amager, has a new, sustainable landmark

The urban district of Hørgården is located in north-western Amager. It is part of the Urbanplanen housing development - an area that held a modest place in the minds of most Copenhageners for many years, suffering a bad reputation due to its uniform concrete buildings and various social problems.

At the beginning of the new millennium Ørestad slowly began to take shape along Amager Fælled, heralding the coming of new times for the worn-out area. Suddenly Hørgården found itself the neighbour of DR Byen, the new multimedia centre of the national Danish broadcasting corporation, and a whole new urban quarter in the form of Ørestad Nord.

Activity centre as a meeting point

Hørgården Activity Centre is part of the process intended to transform the area from a worn-out and forgotten quarter into a modern and attractive residential neighbourhood.

The design for the new building and the adjacent outdoor spaces was conceived by Ai-gruppen and Reform Arkitekter, taking as its starting point the idea of a vital connection: a footpath that ties together Urbanplanen around a range of different activities and provides a link to Ørestad and the metro.

Standing at the most northern edge of the site, the new activity centre will benefit the residents and become a landmark for the entire district.

Practical triangle

The new building owes its distinctive triangular form to a number of practical considerations, such as the fire access route to Hørgården and a district heating pipe that runs through the site. On the western side of the building a small park has been laid out, acting as a shield against the traffic on Amager Fælledvej, and to the east there is a small square.

Extended dwelling

The activity centre is laid out around two double-height halls, a large and a small meeting place. At the "point" of the building is a covered terrace, whereas functions such as lavatories, cloakrooms and meeting rooms are placed as a row of niches between the large halls. The activity centre was conceived as a supplement to the dwellings in the sense that the physical framework provides residents with the opportunity to participate in other activities here than the ones they do at home. The high-ceilinged rooms and large windows let in light and air, and the building may house a variety of activities like concerts, communal eating and a café area. On the first floor above the terrace is a secluded balcony where residents can read the paper in peace and quiet.

The entrance is on the south side of the building, thus allowing residents in Hørgården to drop by on their way to or from work and keep up of what is going on.

Sustainable initiatives

Right from the beginning residents expressed the wish that the design of the new activity centre should integrate environmental considerations. So the roof surfaces slant inwards to permit rainwater harvesting and to make it possible to install solar heating systems. Due to the financial circumstances of the project these installations have not been set up yet, but the possibility remains open. Apart from that, the large halls are naturally ventilated to save energy. Air is drawn in at the bottom of the facade, past a source of heat and out through a skylight that opens automatically by means of a special spring when temperatures rise.

Moreover, the eco-friendly approach is reflected in the choice of recyclable or environmentally neutral materials such as aluminium, wood and linoleum, and the many windows in the building have energy-efficient glazing.

A play of colours on facades

The facades are made of larch that will acquire a patina with age and turn a dull grey colour. A contrast to the wood is produced by a number of cement chipboards painted in bold colours, which give a rhythm to the facade.

In the dialogue process with the residents of Hørgården the architects created a game with pieces that could be moved around on a model of the activity centre. This effort gave future users of the house an opportunity to influence the look of their new commnal building.

Last updated Tuesday, January 21, 2014