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OMA, Danish Architecture Centers, Copenhagen

OMA hyperneutral

But’s start at the beginning: after 11 years of planning and building, the glass Blox is now stacked high on Copenhagen’s waterfront between Schmidt Hammer Lassen’s Danish Royal Library and the Langebro Bridge.

The building is 26 metres tall. Six storeys are located above ground; three more have been set into the earth. The three materials used for the façade reflect the building’s use: the green-coloured glass hides all the spaces not used as offices. The offices, on the other hand, are shown with whitish glass. Expanded metal covers the purely functional parts of the structure. The openness and accessibility requested by the client, Realdania, is but partly suggested by the glass façade – who would have thought – for views into and through the building are possible only when the spaces are lit at night. Access to the building is not particularly inviting. Anyone who wants to enter has to first go downstairs. An uncharming stairway with an escalator leads two storeys down to the main entrance of the DAC. All the other areas of the building can be reached from here. Only the playground and restaurant can be directly accessed via the newly created square that extends between Blox and the existing historical structures.

According to client Realdania’s wishes, the building will be an important nucleus for cultural life, architecture and urban development. These wishes are manifested by the current tenants: along with the DAC, most of the office space is occupied by Bloxhub, a co-working space and network whose members and their business models have, in the broadest sense, devoted themselves to urban development. Apart from the exhibition rooms, offices, restaurant and playground, the building also offers space for event rooms, a fitness studio, an automatic parkade and 22 apartments. In other words, Blox is a multifunctional, virtually neutral type of building as once described by Rem Koolhass in his book Delirious New York.

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