The need for something bigger was inevitable for Danish architecture firm 3XN as it had outgrown its office space in the Christianshavn neighbourhood in Copenhagen. It moved its studio to an old cannon boathouse with plenty of space. The building is located along a canal in the Holmen district of Copenhagen.
Dating back to the 1800s, the boathouse was once used to store and repair warships. The floor slopes slightly towards the canal, allowing the builders to slide the boats directly out into the water. As you enter the studio at the highest level, you are immediately drawn to the huge full-height windows at the lower level, which overlook the canal and give glimpses of colourful houses and caravans in Christiania, the free city in Copenhagen, located on the opposite bank.
The office now has 2,000 square metres at its disposal, which also allowed it to have a room within the office for making models, with everything they need in the same place. The models of all the different projects, new as well as finished, are spread out in the office, so that everyone can appreciate and enjoy them every day.
3XN also has a team called GXN, which was established in 2007 as its own innovation unit. Its mission is to collect the latest knowledge on materials and new technologies and apply it to the studio’s architecture. Its lab is also in the open space, so you can go and browse through all the different textures and materials it is experimenting with. There is even a machine, reminiscent of a greenhouse, that grows mint, mostly just for fun though.
The founder of 3XN, Kim Herforth Nielsen, wanted the space to be open so that everyone could see what each team is working on. In all the teams, everyone sits back to back, which actually allows someone to show the rest of their team what they are working on much more easily, as everyone can simply just turn their chairs around to see their colleague’s computer screen. To create the open office, 3XN removed several walls to open up the space and created glass boxes to fulfil the need for meeting rooms, which are rooms within a room.