A new book recently launched on the initiative of the “Danish Concrete” association explores 21 architectural successes made with concrete. The projects of Danish studios Henning Larsen Architects and Friis & Moltke are featured. In Scotland Gehl is part of a masterplan creating 50 houses a year over the next 30 years due to increased population.
For Henning Larsen Architects the use of concrete in Moesgaard Museum discretely references classic concrete buildings such as Le Corbusier’s Unité d’Habitation in Marseilles or Louis Kahn’s Salk Institute in California. The use of concrete in the museum is a reminder that concrete is one of the most artistic of architecture’s materials, pointing towards the basic statics from which all buildings originate.
At the iconic Bellahøj Houses in Copenhagen, Henning Larsen Architects have replaced the old concrete facade tiles with the new Bellahøj-tile. The new hybrid tile, developed with traditional concrete and fibre-reinforced concrete, makes it possible to maintain the high variability in patterns and details that are characteristic of the buildings’ overall expression.
The book also tells of how for Friis & Moltke and others, the excitement for and fascination with concrete culminated in the 1960s. The project build for the school of contractors, which is now a hostel in the small Danish town of Ebeltoft, was created as a brutal mainbuilding with vertical parts in a rough scattering and horizontal parts in a smooth scattering – separated by very significant joints.
The idea was for everything to be made out of concrete – all the way from the fundament to the roof. The intention was that there should be no annoying details such as shielding or covering. Just one material beautifully connected to the nature surrounding the building.
A Living Landscape
From concrete to the highlands of Scotland and within one of Scotland’s great treasures, the Cairngorms National Park, sits Aviemore. Here Danish architectural studio Gehl architects are part of a masterplan having as its starting point since 1989 the establishing of a new community: An Camas Mòr.
Between 2001 to 2011, the population of Aviemore and the vicinity has increased by almost 50% and it is continuing to grow. Faced with a shortage of affordable housing for local people, businesses struggling to recruit and retain staff and a depletion of community and business facilities, it was clear that a solution had to thought out and Gehl was brought in.
Masterplanning through the Gehl Approach
The new sustainable community is planned to include 50 homes a year over 30 years, from small studio flats and cottages, to townhouses and detached houses, combined with the ambition of one workplace per household, as well as community buildings, places for leisure, and recreational activities. The core design principle for An Camas Mòr is to provide a ‘good habitat for people’ by concentrating on the Gehl approach of first Life, then Spaces and finally Buildings, to create a special place that accommodates housing, community and work space for all.
“Although I am an architect, I would say that An Camas Mòr is not only a project about architecture and design. More than anything, it’s a project about people. We have the responsibility to make something exceptional in Scotland, a really great place, a platform for a better quality of everyday life and a place that some dedicated and hard-working people will be proud to call home.”
— David Sim, Architect, Creative Director and Partner at Gehl
You can read more on Aviemore and An Camas Mòr in the first blog of two here.
The book Danish Architecture in Concrete is written by Danish architect Jørgen Hegner Christiansen who is a former editor of the Danish magazine The Architect and has an introduction by Professor Carsten Thau from the Royal Danish Academy of Fine Arts Schools of Architecture, Design and Conservation.