Photo © Mads Hilmer

Maritime Youth House (PLOT = BIG + JDS)

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Copenhagen, Denmark

KVARTERLØFT Copenhagen, LOA Fund


JDS , Birch & Krogboe

Bjarke Ingels

Julien De Smedt

Projekt Architect
Henning Stüben & Annette Jensen

Dorte Børresen, Finn Nørkjær, Jørn Jensen

Birch & Krogboe, JDS

2,000 m2

How do you turn the problem of a polluted site into an architectural potential?

A third of our budget was allocated to remove our polluted topsoil. By covering the site with a wooden deck we could leave the soil where it was and invest the money on the building rather than the site’s polluted topsoil. The result is a public landscape of social functions surrounded by water on all sides.

Two very different users had to share the facilities: a sailing club and a youth centre with conflicting requirements: the youth centre wanted outdoor space for the kids to play; the sailing club required most of the site to moor their boats. The building is the result of these two contradictory demands: The deck is elevated high enough to allow for boat storage underneath while providing an undulating landscape for the kids to run and play above.

The interior of the building is very low key: the front room oriented towards the coastline, is used as a common room where most of centre’s daily activities take place. It utilizes a higher level of materials and detailing than the workshop and storage areas. The floor in the workshop is a standard grey concrete whereas the commons area has a polished Aalborg white concrete with white aggregate. The presence of hard surfaces used on the interior is meant to contrast the wooden exterior, an inversion of what is commonly done (wooden interior, concrete and asphalt exterior). This is meant to reflect the dominance of outdoor activities of the youth house. The Maritime Youth House has therefore gained an additional ‘room’ which IS the wooden deck - it supports all the centre’s programs, indoor and outdoor.

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