A modern landmark by the water
In 2050 approximately two thirds of the world’s population will live in cities. As a consequence of increased urbanization, the world is facing challenges that demand urgent and fundamental changes in the ways cities are conceived, designed and build.
In BLOX, we connect architecture, design, construction and tech with global decision makers, scientists and citizens to explore and develop new sustainable urban solutions. We facilitate the necessary dialogue across sectors through exhibitions, debates and summits, and seek for new answers to the challenges of our future.
Activity around the clock
In the everyday life in and around BLOX, both the Danish Architecture Center (DAC) and the innovation network BLOXHUB contribute to creating a place that lives and works for and with the city. Other elements that help make BLOX a natural part of the city’s life are a fitness centre, a restaurant with both indoor and outdoor seating, a rooftop cafe, underground parking, 22 flats and a playground.
The idea is that bringing several different functions together in the building will help ensure that there is activity around the clock and generate a natural flow of people in and around the building.
An example of sustainable urban development
The BLOX building is itself an architectural landmark and an inspiring example of sustainable urban development. BLOX has been financed by the philanthropic association Realdania, and built and owned by Realdania By & Byg. The building is designed by the internationally acclaimed architectural firm, OMA, as a city within the city, where people of all ages can meet, discuss, eat, play, exercise, work and live. At the same time, BLOX connects historic and contemporary parts of Copenhagen’s harbor front area that were previously divided.
A city in constant development
The Bryghus site
The story of the Bryghus site, on which BLOX is built, is the story of a city in constant development, not least the busy industrial harbour.
The Bryghus site is located on the Frederiksholm islet, a central part of Copenhagen that is separated from the Slotsholmen islet by Frederiksholms Kanal. Frederiksholm did not exist prior to the 1660s and was created gradually through reclamation in the harbour.
The original building on the site from 1772 was the royal brewhouse, Kongens Bryghus, which lends its name to the nearby street Bryghusgade and the Bryghusbroen bridge. By the 1870s, rapid industrial development had turned Bryghuset into an actual industrial facility.
Under King Christian IV, many embankments and fortifications were built around central Copenhagen, including the western embankment Vestvolden, which was levelled in 1873, turning Vester Voldgade into one of Copenhagen’s most important arteries. Some years later, in 1906, the Royal Library was built. By now, the brewhouse was rather run down, and production here was discontinued in 1923.
In 1941 the first architectural competition for the Bryghus site was held. Among the programme requirements, the new structure had to ‘be worthy of the site’ and – as today – should preferably contain functions that were in the city’s general interest and benefited large segments of the population. The competition failed to yield a winning project, however, as none of the proposals were found suitable by the panel of judges.
In October 1960 the remaining buildings on the Bryghus site burned down. For the following 50 years, the site served as a temporary playground and car park.
In 1994 the Ørestad Development Corporation took over the site, and in 2005 Realdania’s subsidiary Realdania By & Byg bought the plot with the intention of creating a new building and a city square of high architectural quality in order to improve the area and help tie the city and the harbour together.
In 2006 the overall vision for the project was articulated. The architect was selected in an international interview competition based on prior invitation. Five offices were invited to an interview, and among them the Dutch firm OMA was selected. The groundbreaking took place in May 2013.
The full story
The Book about BLOX
This is the story of BLOX. Of the history, the vision, the process and about how BLOX rounds off the development of Copenhagen’s Inner Harbour – from former industrial port to a port for people. A story told by stakeholders who, each in their way, have helped make BLOX possible.