Copenhagen Waterfront Library


The character of the library has changed in recent times, integrating spaces that address the community and the virtual realm. New interior configurations must take into account future transformations and spawn new types of relations with the surroundings. The site is situated in the very center of Copenhagen, with views towards the Opera House and the Amaliehaven Park. The current project aims to maximize possible visual relations not only towards the exterior but also between the interior spaces situated on different levels. The storage space required for books has been integrated into the main interior circulation eliminating the need for high shelves. Any place situated on this central promenade, can become a good spot for contemplation and sightseeing. One detail spotted over the water, between the trees, on the nearby city streets, can trigger the curiosity of the readers. One random page from the chosen book can refer to a location situated on the line of sight.

My design takes into consideration the most important adjacent elements:  The alignment and the height follow the nearby building on the North, thus creating a homogenous continuity for the waterfront. The main structural arches are aligned according to the existing buildings located on the other side of Toldbodgade street, continuing their rhythm. A double height main entrance and the curtain wall facade, on the south side, create a strong visual relation with the Amalie Garden welcoming the visitors. The lobby opens towards the water with a panoramic view.

A double glazed thick skin which encloses the spaces provides good thermal insulation increasing the building performance in terms of energy consumption. It also provides optimal acoustic insulation from the exterior sounds. The natural light levels are adjusted using glass screening.

The structural system composed of 10 wooden arches that sustain the facade and the interior levels; They eliminate the need of any columns or bearing walls on the inside. This structural system can accommodate interior spaces that intercommunicate on both horizontal and vertical directions.The interior levels can be accessed following a major ramp hanged between the arches. It provides a fluid, barrier free circulation that also integrates into its thick railings all the storage required for books.

Interior spaces:

The street level is occupied by the lobby with all its adjacent facilities (bookshop, cafeteria, etc.) It is a transparent space that relates the waterfront, the Toldbodgade street and the Amalie Garden. The predominant element of this space is the wide ramp which seems to float above. The thick portion of the ramp can accommodate various activities facing the main entrance: lectures, small concerts, screenings, etc. 

The next three levels above provide lecture areas, in total 600m². The ceilings have an acoustic treatment and they integrate an artificial light system. The last two levels accommodate the children’s area and the multimedia area. A large elevator provides a fast connection to the lobby.  

The additional space above (between +16.2m and +28m) functions as a gallery for art and large installations that can become visible from the exterior. The street level exterior area adjacent to Toldbodgade street is transformed into a small urban garden that integrates the bike parking.