the renovated 'art hub copenhagen' spotlights a new take on recycling in architecture

the renovated 'art hub copenhagen' spotlights a new take on recycling in architecture

 

the renovated ‘art hub copehagen’: a multilayered space 

 

pihlmann architects, in collaboration with archival studies, took on a renovation project in the meatpacking district of kødbyen, transforming the ‘art hub copenhagen’ by repurposing the elements within the space. sitting in one-storey, bright, and functionalist building called ‘the white’, the hub was first a meat store, then a bank branch before finally hosting a modern art institution today. 

 

over time, a series of added elements – a weathered porch, three glass cages, and a massive bank vault – have disrupted the space’s rhythmic quality. the architects, however, saw these components as an opportunity to explore recycling in architecture. instead of introducing new materials, they re-used existing elements and peeled back the added layers to return the building to its original character and highlight kødbyen’s heritage values. 

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all images © hampus berndtson

 

 

peeling back the layers: a sustainable, archeological process

 

beside material repurposing, the project also nods to temporality. the current ‘art hub copenhagen’ will soon move to a new location, prompting the team to turn this temporary perspective into a general dogma rooted in sustainability: ‘every element must be reused. nothing is discarded but rather revitalized through the alteration of function and appearance. the dogma is rooted in the indisputable fact that today’s construction industry emits excessive greenhouse gases. if we achieve the climate targets – which we are fundamentally dependent on – it requires a radical transformation of the way we think and create architecture.’

 

the development and execution phases took place simultaneously, an essential process in any case study, the team argues: ‘it is an archaeological process, which dissects the architecture layer by layer, dynamically creating a catalog of possibilities.’ you can view pihlmann architects’ works here, and archival studies’ here

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the architects first dismantled and redefined the suspended ceiling tiles, leaving the slender aluminum profiles as a coarse-mesh filter. they then reorganized the white tiles into flexible, suspended folding walls that hang as staged elements emphasizing the varying light hues and intensities – drawing references to both kødbyen’s history and the surrounding façades.

 

additionally, the glass cages at the back have been dismantled, exposing the most prominent part of the façade at the entrance to kødbyen. this, in turn, highlights activities taking place at ‘art hub copenhagen’. the team used the dismantled glass panels as newly constructed furniture and a transparent room divider that softly shelters the permanent workplaces from distraction. less prominent materials have also been redeemed; aluminum frames functioning as curtain hangers and windowsills as levelling wedges for the room divider.

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