BLOX, the new home for the Danish Architecture Center (DAC) in Copenhagen, designed by OMA / Ellen van Loon with Adrianne Fisher, was opened in an official ceremony by Queen Margrethe II of Denmark on Friday, May 4, and to the public on Sunday, May 6.
The mixed-use BLOX project contains exhibition spaces, offices and co-working spaces, a café, a bookstore, a fitness center, a restaurant, twenty-two apartments and an underground automated public carpark, but it is not only the acrobatic mixing of uses that defines this project; its ultimate achievement is in ‘discovering’ its own site.
The Old Brewery site, split by one of Copenhagen’s main ring roads, did not register as a building site until the design of the new DAC identified it as such. Straddling the road, making public connections both above and below, BLOX connects the parliament district with the harbour front and brings culture to the water’s edge. A space for cars becomes a space for people; a space to pass through becomes a space to reside. Contrary to most city blocks in Copenhagen – often introverted and inaccessible – the building absorbs the city’s life.
Ellen van Loon: “BLOX is a building that embraces the infrastructural challenges of its context. By radically intermingling urban functions, we blur the boundaries between the different programs. The DAC is at the heart of the building, surrounded by its objects of study: housing, offices and parking – permanently in flux, connecting various uses and users together, almost by chance.”
BLOX is a continuation of OMA’s long term interest in complex cultural buildings that actively engage with the city, and is the first completed OMA project in Scandinavia. It marks the opening of the third public building led by Ellen van Loon in two years’ time, following Rijnstraat 8 (2017) and Lab City (2017).