5.2.2013

Toftegards Square, nueva plaza en Copenhagen

Toftegards Square esta localizada en el barrio de Valby de Copenhagen, Dinamarca. El proyecto urbano transforma el predio de la estación de ómnibus en una plaza central para esta parte de la ciudad.

El proyecto crea un nuevo tipo de espacio urbano. La plaza se plantea como un espacio público excepcional, una especie de castillo abierto para los habitantes de Copenhagen. Alrededor de este gran salón publico al aire libre, la comunidad se reúne y encuentra diversas arquitecturas que a su vez se entretejen con los edificios y el tejido urbano existentes intensificando la experiencia urbana de la vida cotidiana en Valby.

La intervención urbana es simultáneamente monumento y plaza, arquitectura y conjunto urbano. Las escalas metropolitana, urbana y arquitectónica de la plaza se entremezclan proponiendo múltiples narrativas. Sorpresa, descubrimiento y aventura definen el carácter de la Plaza de Valby. El ambiente y la atmósfera de Toftegards Square es único en Copenhagen. En ella lo público se transforma en intimo y personal, el recuerdo y el futuro se confunden ofreciendo nuevas posibilidades para la ciudad del mañana.

 

Original text in english

Toftegards Square invents a new urban space for Copenhagen, a kind of open-air castle for the community that celebrates the city and illuminates the everyday life of Valby.

The urban intervention performs simultaneously as landmark, square and urban ensemble. Each of these aspects of the project corresponds to three distinct scales, the metropolitan scale, the scale of the square and the scale and specific conditions of the surroundings. These three qualities are woven into one another to become the centre or downtown of New Valby. Toftegards Square is the symbol and gathering place of Valby, a beautiful and unique urban square that contributes to the quality of life of the area and a distinctive square among Copenhagen’s Plads.

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The geometry of the plan responds to the position of the site at the intersection of Vigerslev Alle, Gammel Koge Landevej and Toftegards Alle. Hence, the urban plan gravitates towards this street corner, faces Toftegards Plads Nord and develops a rotary effect carefully interweaving the surrounding buildings with the square proper.

Depending on one’s direction, as we approach the site from the distance, the Toftegards Towers come into view as a gateway to Copenhagen or landmark of Valby. The three towers create the appearance of a contemporary skyline while size and materials introduce the towers to come in Central Copenhagen. Their meaning oscillates between skyscrapers and towers, while footprints and height relates to the scale of the surroundings. As in the center of the city the towers also announce the presence of the public square and meeting place of the community.

Toftegards Square, faces Toftegards Plads Nord, and opens itself towards the street corner; additional openings carefully connect the square to the neighboring buildings providing access from all directions and points. The square presents itself as a public hall open to the sky. The rectangular square offers a common height and modulates plan and elevations by means of architectural elements at the scale of the public event. Stairs, terraces and openings further connect bordering buildings and functions to the square and provide alternative points of view to and from the square adding life and experiences to the space. From an environmental point of view, the layout protects the square from the traffic and noise on Gammel Koge Landevej as well as the winter westerly winds. The urban character of the square complements the green quality of the square to the Nord. At night, the square and towers are illuminated as an open-air living room of the community and landmarks of the area; adding a new temporal and atmospheric dimension to the square. Toftegards Plads Syd repeats without reproducing the size and height of other squares in the city, offering an extraordinary event and a singular identity among the squares of Copenhagen.

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The architecture of Toftegards Square offers both, a strong urban identity and maximum functional flexibility in the present and over time. Cafes and shops border the space at ground level, a local library or cultural center may be located above with a terrace and stair facing the square and professional offices or artist studios may occupy other buildings. A variety of popular events can take place in the square, from amusement and skate parks, to Christmas tree sales and art exhibitions, demonstrations, and markets. Toftegards Square doubles as an open theater by introducing an open stage on the south side capable of holding all sorts of performing arts events and cinema functions during the day or night. Thus, the square offers a democratic platform for urban life, with room for everyone to participate. The openness of the square elicits a sense of possibilities, encouraging personal and collective expression; a multicultural public space unique among European cities.

Toftegards Square meets the surrounding buildings introducing a pedestrian street next to the Valby Cultural centre and the Kraftwerket youth centre and maintains the narrow vehicular drop off street towards the ATP Ejendomme building. These buildings create an urban texture typical of Danish towns and cities and further advance the urbanity of the area. Parallel to Valby Kulturhus an intimate square highlights the building and offers an entrance hall of sorts to the main square as well as an outdoor social gathering space next to the cultural center. The entrance of the ATP Ejendomme building, the tower of the Cultural Center, as well as the double arches on this street connecting to the Kraftwerket and the playground are framed by gateways into the square. Additional underground parking is provided below the Trekroner Playground. The variety of building sizes and possible functions around the square provides maximum flexibility for staging the project over time and possible financial arrangements with one or more public or private entities.

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Toftegards Square introduces and element of awe, discovery and adventure to Valby urban landscape and simultaneously performs as a true contemporary gateway to the city, a symbol of Valby’s vibrant culture and a new and unique destination in the City of Copenhagen.

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