Kan også læses på: Dansk
Gemini Residence is the repurposing of a twin concrete seed silo. It was part of a big factory that took up the surrounding area.
Many of the industrial facilities and infrastructure at the very harbourfront were demolished. But the city of Copenhagen intended to preserve the industrial character by repurposing as much as reasonably possible.
The obvious would be to fill up the silos with circular apartments. Instead, the Dutch design team hung the apartments on the outside of the silo. That leaves the interior mainly empty with just balconies, hanging stairs and an elevator in a spectacular lobby space, suitable for a James Bond-villain.
This solves the problem of perforating and weakening the structure with windows. This way each apartment needs only one hole for a door.
Quite literally, this trick of turning the inside out shows how clever, unconventional thinking can turn a problem into a strength and a unique quality.
(No) graduation between public and private spaces
This project works beautifully from the distance, as a remarkable landmark and carrier of industrial history and thereby of meaning and identity for the entire area.
But passing by it, you may feel, it doesn’t really sit well on the ground. Although a base of stairs (on top of underground parking) lifts the building up and makes space, it’s not at all inviting. And as if to make a point, signs on the stairs says ‘For residents only’.
A high degree of social equality is deeply ingrained in Danish culture. So the exclusivity, that this poor meeting between public and private space exercises, feels rather inappropriate and even slightly provocative. Of course, there is an architectural point in exposing the original concrete structure. But the architectural design of this base lacks any refinement or quality.
I’m NOT encouraging you to disregard these signs, go up the few steps in the narrow gap between the silos and take a look through the entrance door to the lobby…
Compare with the project across the water, the ‘Havneholmen apartments’ and the courtyard spaces, that are private property but open for public passage.
Dutch MVRDV designed the building that was realized in 2005 in cooperation with local JJW Architects.