Copenhagen garage dressed in cork and recycled aluminium

New garage in Copenhagen’s Nordhavn will be the first larger construction project in Denmark cladded with cork. Behind the proposal are Vilhelm Lauritzen Architects and STED – won in an open project competition by By & Havn.

Copenhagen garage by Vilhelm Lauritzen Architects dressed in cork and recycled aluminium
Copenhagen garage by Vilhelm Lauritzen Architects dressed in cork and recycled aluminium.

More than 2,700 square meters of cork will cover the facade of Copenhagen’s new five-storey car park at Trælastholmen in Nordhavn, just off the new metro station. By & Havn has just published the winning proposal for the new facade found in an open project competition; the winner being Vilhelm Lauritzen Architects and STED.

In addition to providing parking spaces, the garage will include a vibrant, open and green area along the edge of the building with shops and meeting places as well as a Kiss’ n Ride function.

Copenhagen garage by Vilhelm Lauritzen Architects dressed in cork and recycled aluminium
Copenhagen garage by Vilhelm Lauritzen Architects dressed in cork and recycled aluminium.

“The proposal is a gesture to the area’s history as a place where wood is stored and handled and simultaniously add a sustainable and playful element to Nordhavn district,” says Anne Møller Sørensen, partner at Vilhelm Lauritzen Architects.

A pixelated shadow relief in cork and recycled aluminum

The main building is cast in concrete and lined with a facade of cork combined with a skeleton of recycled aluminum hollow slabs. The cork boards are mounted on a hardwood skeleton.

“By displacing the frames with cork and aluminum, respectively, we create a pixelated and detailed relief that provides a vivid light and shadow play to the facade. In the evening and night, artificial lighting will enhance and accentuate the expression of the building and the materials, ”says Anne Møller Sørensen.

When the building is finished it will be Denmark’s first large building, where cork is used as facade material. A material at home most commonly known as floor coverings in the 70’s and 80’s detached houses, but which has been internationally touted for being underestimated for its sustainable, environmentally friendly and reusable properties.

“In both form and function, the facade cork is an obvious choice for this project. It is a compressed material without front and back, 100 per cent natural and hardened to wind and weather. It patins beautifully, is almost maintenance-free and then naturally dampens vibration and noise, which is an obvious advantage in a parking garage, “says Anne Møller Sørensen, partner at Vilhelm Lauritzen Architects.

Copenhagen garage by Vilhelm Lauritzen Architects dressed in cork and recycled aluminium
Copenhagen garage by Vilhelm Lauritzen Architects dressed in cork and recycled aluminium.

The judge’s report says on the proposal that it has a balanced whole, created by consistent and clear choices that give it a particularly strong and compelling character. The proposal must be highlighted in order to create a whole that is credible and long-lasting and that contributes with a unique character that provides co-op and counter-play to both Sundmolen and Trælastholmen.

Facade cork originates from the corks’ bark that is harvested every nine years, after which it regrows. It contains no chemicals or toxins and so it absorbs more CO2 than it emits during its lifetime.

“A greater focus on sustainability and a need to act here-and-now requires us to work in new ways with proven materials and technologies we already know,” she says.

The parking garage will be located next to the new metro station in Nordhavn and will accommodate 350 cars. It is expected to be completed by 2022.