Kengo Kuma & Associates Reveal Plans for New Aquatics Centre on Copenhagen’s Waterfront


Courtesy of Kengo Kuma & Associates

Courtesy of Kengo Kuma & Associates

Kengo Kuma & Associates have recently won a competition to design a new waterfront cultural centre as part of the masterplan for Copenhagen’s Paper Island. The unique cone shaped form will combine facilities for sports associations, harbour baths and an indoor/outdoor pool along the edge of the main canal. In a press release from Copenhagen City they praised the project on the connection created between land and sea, fulfilling Copenhagen’s vision of a new addition to Paper Island. Kengo Kuma & Associate’s proposal was up against strong competition from BIG, 3XN ArchitectsAART Archtitects + Cubo Arkitekter and ALA Architects + Studio Octopi.


Courtesy of Kengo Kuma & Associates

Courtesy of Kengo Kuma & Associates

Water has been incredibly important in the development of Copenhagen’s history, culture and urban life. Recognised by Kengo Kuma & Associates, the new Water Front Cultural Centre will celebrate water through its different forms: steam, flow and the reflection of light and shadow. Each of the indoor pools will be defined by the exaggerated scale of the space above, corresponding to the separate pyramid shaped roofs. Between the coned forms, a valley will be created in which an open-air pool will pass through.

The pyramid forms were a very deliberate choice by Kengo Kuma & Associates to work with the roof profile of Christianholm without mimicking it. However, unlike the rest of the masterplan, the Water Front Culture House will be multidirectional with no single front, allowing it to be accessible from various directions.


Courtesy of Kengo Kuma & Associates

Courtesy of Kengo Kuma & Associates

Courtesy of Kengo Kuma & Associates

Courtesy of Kengo Kuma & Associates

The design will take full advantage of the prominent corner site in the masterplan; terraced pools will cascade down the waterfront to blur the edge of the land for an expansive and continuous perception of the water. Outside, an urban experience is enabled through the open public areas unified and defined by the water.

Shadow and light will be a key part of the expression of the pools as each of the pyramid forms will have a skylight at the top for a dramatic play of light and shadow reflecting off the water. The haptic texture of the interior and exterior will be further exaggerated by the use of brick and the warm, natural earthy tones that will relate to the traditional Danish crafts.

The Waterfornt Culture House maintains Kengo Kuma’s philosophy for integrating natural elements into the architecture and engaging with the environment. Recently he spoke to PLANE – SITE about feeling the energy of the site to create buildings that are sensitive to materials, time and vernacular techniques which is featured in their latest video here.


Courtesy of Luxigon

Courtesy of Luxigon

Courtesy of Kengo Kuma & Associates

Courtesy of Kengo Kuma & Associates
  • Architects: Kengo Kuma & Associates
  • Location: Trangravsvej 14, 1436 København K, Denmark
  • Partner In Charge: Yuki Ikeguchi
  • Project Architect: Marc Moukarzel
  • Associate Architect: Cornelius Vöge
  • Engineering Design: Søren Jensen Engineers
  • Consulting Architect: Niels Sigsgaard
  • Area: 5000.0 m2
  • Project Year: 2018

BIG, Kuma, 3XN Among 5 Competing for New Aquatics Center in Copenhagen

The city of Copenhagen have announced the shortlist of 5 firms that will compete for the design of a new aquatics center to be located on a prominent site in the Copenhagen Harbor. Planned for completion in 2021, the project will feature a 5,000-square-meter facility offering both indoor and outdoor swimming areas with views across the water to the Henning Larsen-designed Copenhagen Opera House.

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