Graduate 2016: A maritime sports and cultural centre

Education and students

How can you mix past and future when constructing new buildings in Sydhavnen? Meet Aviaja Torbensdatter Hermann and Stefan Jesper Gründl, who just graduated from KADK’s School of Architecture. In their graduation project, ‘Space by the water’ they came up with a proposal for a sports and cultural centre at Enghave Brygge. Their project was honoured with the VOLA Scholarship for an ‘unusually skilfully conceived and executed project.’

Frederiksholmsløbet, Enghave Brygge

What is your graduation project about?     
We designed a maritime sports and cultural centre at Enghave Brygge. The project forms part of the overall master plan for Sydhavnen and incorporates a boat workshop in an existing salt warehouse, 100 homes and a new swimming pool. The project’s ground floor is open and public, allowing the landscape and flow of the city to move through the facility. The functions merge into each other and grab hold of the future infrastructural arteries, such as a new underground station and major recreational connections. 

What would your graduation project mean for the community, if it were realised?
The project offers public functions and recreational areas on the waterfront in Copenhagen Harbour. With the location of the up and coming underground station, the project would not only relate to the immediate area, but also stand as an invitation to the rest of the city. The maritime activities and the large workshops relate to the narrative of Sydhavnen’s past as an industrial harbour and the area’s future as a vibrant district and new central location. Our project is a vision of how new residential areas can be established with Copenhagen’s huge public space, the harbour, in mind.

Saltglaserede klinker

What is your strength as architects?
We both hold Bachelor’s degrees from Section 1 - Architecture, Urbanism and Landscape. This background has provided us with a special perspective in terms of reading and relating to the context we are working in. We are also interested in the tectonic level and material composition of our projects and are always looking for a greater cohesion of entity and detail - the city, the landscape and the building. We find many of our subjects when taking notes on the areas, of which the projects are part. Our studies have convinced us of the necessity of a sustainable approach to architecture, in which the city’s metabolism and materials are allowed to be part of new contexts.

How important was working together on the project?
By working together we were able to design a larger scale, more complex and in-depth project than we could have achieved in 100 days just working alone. We could take advantage of each other’s skills and together developed a working method based on a continuous exchange of ideas in the creative process. When you communicate through drawing or models, you translate your ideas differently from when talking. This allows for interpretation and abstraction that are different from the spoken language. We make use of abstraction as a creative tool, in which we react to one another’s thoughts and actions to further develop the good idea.

How important is it for you that you were awarded the VOLA Scholarship?
We are very happy for the recognition, and the VOLA Scholarship inspires us to continue working with the thoughts we have come up with on the future role of the home in relation to the public space. The Scholarship will enable us to travel and look at various projects we have wanted to see for a long time.

Where do you see yourselves in five years’ time?
That is a good question… hopefully we will have jobs in exciting architecture practices, helping to create positive environments for the lives lived by loads of people.