Helsingoer Cultural Building design by aart architects

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Project: 1st prize in open international architecture competition
Programme: 17.000m2 cultural centre in Elsinore in Denmark
Client: Elsinore municipality
Architect: AART architects A/S
Landscape architect: AART architects A/S
Engineer: Søren Jensen Consulting Engineer
Address: Allégade 2, 3000 Elsinore, Denmark
Year: 2006-10
Size: Approx. 17.000m2
Construction costs: 315 million DKR
Photographs: Adam Mørk

In many years the attention has been aimed at the site adjacent, where Kronborg Castle and cultural tour de forces exert their magnetic pull on both tourists and local citizens of Elsinore – but now Elsinore’s old ship yard has been transformed into a 17.000m2 cultural and knowledge centre, including concert halls, showrooms, conference rooms and a public library. The Culture Yard symbolizes Elsinore’s transformation from an industrial town to a cultural centre. In this way the yard is designed as a hinge between the past and present, reinforcing the identity of the local community, but at the same time expressing an international attitude, reinforcing the relation between the local and global community.

The contrast between past and present permeates the Culture Yard. For instance, the original concrete skeleton with armoured steel has been reinforced, but left exposed as a reference to the area’s industrial past. The historic context has thus been the main structural idea in the design process, ensuring the keen observer will discover a chapter of history in every corner of the yard and every peeling of the wall. In other words, if you want to understand what Elsinore really is, what the intangible blur between past and present feels like, this is the place to visit.

Thanks to architectural features such as wrought iron stairs and concrete elements, interacting with modern glass structures and interior designs, the contrast between the days of yore and the present becomes evident. It is the Culture Yard’s way of playing with the field of tension between old and new, making the notion of past versus present, the industrial society versus the information society, constantly present.

Particularly striking, when viewed from the seafront and Kronborg Castle, is the multifaceted façade. Like a fragmented, yet strongly coherent structure, the enormous glass and steel façade challenges the historic site and stares unflinchingly across the Sound – the strait that separates Denmark and Sweden. The transparent façade also reinforces the relation between inside and outside, as you can peak in from street level and enjoy the magnificent sea view and view of Kronborg Castle from every floor of the building – especially from the glass cave which in a dramatic gesture protrudes out of the building above the main entrance.

In this way, the façade envelopes the yard in a distinctive atmosphere, as the dazzling and dramatic play of lines generates a sense of spaciousness. Although the façade is made of hundreds of lines and triangles it appears as one big volume, generating a sense of place and time. The volume also takes the environment into account, since the façade not only functions as an aesthetic and spatial architectural feature, but also as a climate shield, reducing the energy demand for cooling and heating of the building.

Source: AART architects A/S
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