Copenhagen's Paper Island to get a waterfront cultural centre

Kengo Kuma and Associates has won an international competition to design a waterfront cultural centre with harbour baths for Paper Island in Copenhagen.

Their plans, in collaboration with Cornelius + Voge ApS, Soren Jensen Engineers and Niels Sigsgaard, are for a 5,000m2 complex which acknowledges the significance of water to the history, culture, and urban life of Copenhagen.

The team says the landscape of brick pyramids make the baths accessible from many angles, while providing a warm and earthy atmosphere. The cone roofs correspond to the ground floor division of pools, with each pool offering its own distinctive space, and skylights allowing for differing concentrations of light and shadow.

 The cultural centre in Copenhagen sets out to "define the urban life in the city".

The cultural centre in Copenhagen sets out to "define the urban life in the city".

There will be a level above ground which will house an open-air pool, passing between the brick cones, and a hot bath. An outdoor stairwell will also offer access between levels.

Kengo Kuma and Associates are aware that the waterfront is the background for many major cultural facilities in Copenhagen, making it the “public area that defines the urban life in the city.”

The team set out to create a feeling of connection between land and sea with this project; the outdoor baths terrace down to meet the ocean, providing panoramic views of the harbour and giving the perception that water is continuous from the baths indoors out to the sea. Lead architect Yuki Ikeguchi says that their design “attempts to soften and dissolve the edge and blur the sense of boundary of the land.”

 The baths are designed to be accessible from many angles.

The baths are designed to be accessible from many angles.

Describing Kengo Kuma and Associates’ design, Ikeguchi says their focus was to “create an experience, and not just a standalone object, in the form of the landscape, art and architecture that are unified and defined by the water.” They are striving to “offer the diverse experiences of water in various states and conditions such as reflection of light and shadow, steam and flow that appeal to human senses.”

 The design includes a landscape of brick pyramids.

The design includes a landscape of brick pyramids.