environmental centre
environmental centre
environmental centre
environmental centre
environmental centre
environmental centre
environmental centre
environmental centre
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Soil Centre Copenhagen

A zig-zag silhouette

“The building’s surprising aesthetic concept, combined with the obvious intention being a platform for innovation for new design solutions and circular economies, rises above the traditional architecture ‘de facto’-strategy. The committee of the award hopes that stakeholders within the building industry will be inspired by the Soil Centre Copenhagen. Christensen & Co. has created the most beautiful symbiose between aesthetic and sustainability in this project.“

Motivation for selecting the Soil Centre Copenhagen as winner of Association for the Beautification of the Capital Initiative in 2013.

By the harbour in Northern Copenhagen, the sculptural silhouette of the city’s environmental centre stretches towards the horizon. Here, the landscape is reminiscent of a barren moonscape with large hills of dirt and construction waste from building sites. Towards the north-west is an area with lakes and untamed vegetation, a habitat for the protected European Green Toad. Merging with the surrounding nature, the grass covered roof of the soil centre slopes to the ground from atop the zig-zag shaped building. The environmental centre, with its corteen steel façade, houses offices, laboratories, changing rooms, workshops, garages, and glass stores. The sculptural design mirrors the specific requirements for the building programme so that changes in volume, the angled outline, and the height differences show transitions between the office section and the workshop areas. Skylights provide natural light to the rooms where carefully placed windows frame the surrounding nature. The office section is a peaceful retreat, while the raw workshops resemble the landscape. Here, plywood fittings, concrete walls, and self-levelling overlay floors dominate the interior.

Soil Centre Copenhagen, the first DGNB certified building in Denmark

Passive solutions regarding the placement of the building ensures a sustainable profile with a low energy consumption. The building produces more energy than it consumes and is the first DGNB certified project, after the DGNB scheme was introduced and tested in Denmark. The zero-energy building combines passive and active energy solutions to indulge the idea that both energy, material and social actions matter. The necessary energy is provided by geothermal energy from  kilometres of pipes under the black asphalt in front of the building and by solar panels and solar cells that are integrated in the sloping roof.
With the mentioned solutions, the grass covered roof, the inner trees and wall of plants that clears the air of dust and noxious particles in a dust filled area, the Soil Centre Copenhagen with it’s high architectural quality is the first step towards a new neighborhood in Nordhavn.

How the environmental centre adresses the Sustainable Development Goals

In the project we have worked with issues related to the Sustainable Development Goals. However, the project was not designed to address the global goals, as it was created before the goals were adopted by the UN. We have worked with issues related to: SDG 3: Good Health and well-being, SDG 4: Quality education, SDG 7: Affordable and clean energy, SDG 8: Decent work and economic growth, SDG 11: Sustainable cities and communities, SDG 12: Responsible consumption and production, SDG 13: Climate action and SDG 17: Partnerships for the goals.

Copenhagen City & Harbour Authorities
1763 m²
Nordhavn, DK
Adam Mørk
Copenhagen Technical & Environmental Administration
  • Soil Center Copenhagen has been rewarded by the Association of the enhancement of Copenhagen’s aesthetic qualities with the Architecture Prize 2013.