Inspired by Danish modernism, Danish firm COBE have reinterpreted the historic architecture of Steen Eiler Rasmussen in its Tingbjerg Library and Culture House. COBE has created a new social and cultural destination that invites community interaction, engagement and signals a new urban transformation. Inaugurated early this month, the Tingbjerg Library and Culture House is a new landmark building that will be a new gathering point for people of all ages and backgrounds in Copenhagen.
The new library and culture house has been designed with input from the residents of the Tingbjerg community to create a new destination at the heart of their neighborhood. COBE’s aim is for the project to serve as an urban catalyst and an architectural framework for social and cultural activities, thereby contributing to a positive development of the local community on the fringe of Copenhagen.
“As an architect, it is an honor to have the opportunity to build in Tingbjerg because of its rich architectural history and because it was created by two prominent figures in Danish architecture, architect Steen Eiler Rasmussen and landscape architect Carl Theodor Sørensen, so you feel obligated to try to match their achievements. Before we even began our work the bar was set high. We wanted to create a new destination in Tingbjerg that respects both its surroundings through choice of materials and shape while at the same time creating a strong identity of its own,” says Dan Stubbergaard, architect MAA and founder of COBE. “The facade looks like a building turned inside out displaying its many activities to the surroundings. The architecture is intended as an open invitation for people to come inside, while at the same time promoting safety in the area and also developing Tingbjerg’s unique character.”
Tingbjerg Library and Culture House has been conceived as a large wedge-shaped shell. It has been built as an extension to the Tingbjerg school, and with an angled roof sloping down to the school’s entrance. In plan and in section the building is shaped like a wedge and at its narrowest the new building is only 1.5 metres wide. Through the transparnt glass facade inlaid into the wide face of the wedge, the activities inside can be “read” much like an old-fashioned typeset case – which has been placed on end. In fact, the very idea of the typeset case inspired the design of the large glass facade, where the building’s occupants can engage in a myriad of activities and events within multifunctional rooms – including classes, workshops, lectures and musical performances.
All activities are visible from within the building inside and animate the glass facade from without. Conceived as an open invitation to the residents of Tingbjerg, COBE has designed a building that embraces social interaction and enhances a strong sense of local community. Furthermore, the building is a contemporary evolution of the identity and history of Tingbjerg, while promoting safety through a high degree of transparency in the building. In addition, its proximity to the school provides the possibility of hosting both play and education for children of all ages – both during and after school hours.
The heart of the building is defined by the wedge form – that becomes an open foyer – extending three-dimensionally into the building as a grand unifying space. Shifting floor plates with niches and balconies on the project’s four levels are reminiscent of a small mountain village clinging to a hillside. The design makes it possible for users to participate in social activities, to simply observe what is happening in the building or to find a quiet spot within a niche to immerse themselves in a good read. The building is characterized by its flexibility and robustness, making it adaptable for a multitude of uses – from local association meetings to lectures and even dance classes.
In keeping with Tingbjerg’s rich modernist architectural language, COBE has chosen materials that have been used in the neighborhood. The project’s cladding in yellow brick baguettes and its sloping roof pay homage to the historic surroundings. The interior is clad in warm wooden plywood lamellas that form a dialogue with the brick baguettes outside. Conceived of a seamless shell, that attempts to blend in, but also challenge Tingbjerg’s materiality and formal expression.
Interior design: Rune Fjord Studio
Landscape architect: Kragh & Berglund
Engineer: Søren Jensen Consulting Engineers
Contractors: C.C. Bruun Enterprise, Kemp & Lauritzen and Juul & Nielsen
Resident involvement: Rambøll Architecture