The whimsical financial crisis did not prevent cities like Copenhagen from enhancing their strategies for urban development and preserving their ideal for social sustainability. Responsible decisions focused on revitalizing the urban fiber. To tackle the problem of increased demand for housing units, the city stretched its limits towards its wild, green outskirts. Nevertheless, there was a vertical growth, adding more floors on top of existing buildings and filling urban gaps, by reorganizing dead industrial areas. Carlsberg district is one particular case officially awarded for its effervescent, down-to-human scale urban revival strategies.
On 10 November 1847, the first batch of beer was brewed in the Carlsberg district. Located centrally, on the king’s approval, the property covers J.C. Jacobsen‘s house, Carlsberg museum and laboratory, the Light tower light house, the Winding chimney, extensive gardens, and massive entry gates. The industrial heritage is encrypted with various symbols reminiscent of foreign lands and mythology, signed by famous artists and architects like Vilhelm Dahlerup.
By July 2006, the headquarters closed its’ gates, as the brewery moved officially to Fredericia, Denmark. Following the changes, urban design experts and architects were invited to hand-in their proposals in an open, international competition. Entasis Architects won the chance to materialize their envisioned solution: a compact neighborhood with mixed use functions, a medley of inhabitants, and inviting public spaces. The core of their strategy is providing a share of apartments for residents with low-income that will be given local administration tasks, as a chance to upgrade their financial status. This will create diversity; tighten a sense of community, and feed a motor for change. On the other hand, the paved venues and gardens are set to attract participants to vibrant activities and events, as the 800,000m2 will be divided to accommodate various functions: 45% housing, 45% retail and 10% culture and sports. Organic choices will support alternative energy systems and sustainable architecture, yet the micro-climate is the main concern. “Urban scale first, architecture second” underlines the concept of the project.
The architectural value of the district: artistic contours and industrial character.
As unpredictable financial times are still current times, the project has not materialized so far. This spring, on its founder’s 200-year birthday, Carlsberg’s officials organized a competition on creating a world-class, touristic Brand & Experience Center. Except a fairly high number of elite architecture firms, there was great public interest, which brought as many as 2,500 people to see the exhibited solutions. Moreover, current initiatives and events bring visitors daily to the old site. This is an experimental stage that helps read the locals’ behavior, while assisting in the shaping of the site. These measures of transition could be a new strategy towards relating people to a future public space that earns its identity through direct social involvement.
Would there be any better way to support social sustainability?
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