Inside Danish Architecture – Kanonhuset
Kanonhuset, an award-winning development by Entasis Architects, is situated in the upcoming Nordhavn harbour area of Copenhagen. In January this year the project was acknowledged by the Danish Architects’ Association in its promotion of architecture in Greater Copenhagen through the receipt of their ‘Store Arne’ prize.
The hybrid program of the building combines offices on the lower two floors—home to Entasis’ studio on the ground floor—and luxury apartments on the upper two floors. The residential floors of the building are stepped back so that they form a terrace above the offices. The terrace also allows more light to enter the neighbouring buildings.
“It was to be a workshop, or an experimental site for us as architects, as we were to have our offices here”
Christian Cold, Founding Partner Entasis
Kanonhuset, or ‘The Canon House’, is positioned in a cluster of workshop buildings formerly used to fabricate weapons for the Danish military. Entasis drew from the area’s history to create a design scheme that celebrates this heritage. The building’s envelope is wrapped in bands of red brick with matching mortar joints to form a facade which draws from its context and uses shadow to create visual drama.
“[We wanted] to grab the identity of these old workshop buildings without making a pastiche”
Inside the building, full height windows flood the office and apartments’ concrete walls with natural light. The markings left from the casting of the in situ concrete combined with the hand-sanded finish offer the interior a rich and varied textural quality. The rustic appearance of the concrete bears a striking contrast to the warm oak floors and soft furnishings, such as the floor to ceiling curtains.
“To me I think the concrete could represent history. That something has always been here and will be there also when you have gone […] to balance something very hard and masculine with something more soft and feminine.”
Christian and his partner Signe Cold were both the architects, clients and developers for the Kanonhuset project. This business model not only offered them greater creative control, but also financial benefit following the completion of the scheme. This unusual approach also enabled Entasis to deliver a high quality build at an affordable price compared to recent Nordhavn developments. They intend to replicate the procurement model as they begin to develop the buildings surrounding Kanonhuset.
“Taking the step into being a developer in a building like this actually sets the role of the architect free.”
Film and interview contributions were made by Benjamin Wells