Anders Ojgaard & Brian Lottenburger
A plan to integrate an island
UBLA partnered up with Danish architectural practises Polyform and Holscher Nordberg to create a master plan for “Paper Island” in the heart of Copenhagen. Our team was pre-qualified as one of a total of 7 teams.
Despite its supreme location by the water and right in the centre of the city, Paper Island was for centuries used by, first, the Danish navy and later, up intil 2012, by the Danish press association ― using it to store paper needed to print newspapers.
UBLA previously won the competition for a concept for a new public activity on the island.
The masterplan work is directly related to this initial competition but expands on it to include the entire island.
Three agencies working together will result in diverse approaches to whatever task is at hand, but such a collaboration also fosters a dialogue that will truly test all these approaches.
At an early stage, the team decided on a core concept that splits life on Paper Island onto two levels: Public life on the ground level, and residential life higher up.
The existing Paper Island is characterised by several large warehouses that, apart from one, has little architectural value. At the same time, however, these warehouses have defined the island over the past couple of years as they have housed the hands-on science museum and street food hall that has introduced the people of Copenhagen to the island.
So how could we keep the qualities of these warehouses while not actually keeping the structures themselves?
Our proposal maintains traces of the warehouses as a skeleton for the master plan, as the structures’ columns and girders are kept as a frame for the new uses on the island.
During the process UBLA, in particular, worked from a desire to create a dense and highly diverse environment characterised by a variety in the size of spaces and an equally varied vertical space that effectively constructs a second “ground level” as an urban plateau several storeys above the original ground level.
At this stage of the work, UBLA also incorporated “bridges” connecting structures well above ground level and having multiple functions:
- Inside, unusual living spaces with amazing views
- On top, walkways connecting the rooftop gardens that are also part of UBLA’s concept
- Seen from the ground level visually interesting elements that help define the space below and make it feel more intimate.
In the final proposal, the two levels of spaces remain, but a more conservative grid is applied, the raised level is less articulated as a space and structures are not connected by bridges above the raised level.