Holmen in Copenhagen
2001 - 2003
New homes in the old torpedo boat workshop
Urban homes in the giant industrial hall
The MTB hall was built in 1954 as a place for repairing and maintaining boats for the Danish Navy, especially motor torpedo boats. The architecture reflects the prevailing enthusiasm at the time for large structures in reinforced concrete and steel with a main space of 32 x 160 x 15 metres.
When the Danish Navy abandoned Holmen, an islet in Copenhagen Harbour, in the 1990s, the area was selected for urban development. The building tycoon Kurt Thorsen saw the potential for converting the huge empty concrete structure into a residential complex and approached Vandkunsten Architects. We preserved the rough construction elements and designed homes around a large street that is open to the sky, close to the city and directly on the waterfront.
Order and disorder
Several architectural effects serve to underscore the contrasts of the building. Setting the facade of the new building back highlights the crucial meeting between the scarred old concrete columns, the trusses and the roof. The changes impart new meaning to the columns than they had in the old torpedo boat hall with its completely flat exterior, which made a secret of the construction.
Vibrant urban street
Inside the hall, the old concrete and steel construction has been preserved. The homes are placed inside the structure, which is framed by the exposed roof trusses, no longer covered by a roof. In constructive terms, the homes are self-supporting and made of concrete elements.
All the homes are accessed from the central ’street’, which all the residents relate to and share – like a classic city street. Only, in this case, one end of the street is raised up to the second floor – above the car park – and the other end one finds a canal – a gift from the old hall to the new residents. The public path along the Copenhagen Harbour runs through the hall, turning the building and its street space into a part of the city..
Project name: Homes in the old torpedo boat workshop
Client: NCC construction A/S og 2L Development A/S
Location: Holmen in Copenhagen
Gross area: 9.200 m²
Date: 2001 - 2003
Number of units: 67 apartments between 75 and 275 m2
Cost of construction: -
Activity: New built, landscape
Job type: Comission
Construction system: Concrete
Contact: Jan Albrechtsen, firstname.lastname@example.org
Contractor: MT Højgaard