Thomas Nørgaard works for Christensen & co Architects who designed the new K.B. Hallen.
We invited Thomas to present the new arena and talk about the visions behind it, including preserving the iconic dome design.
In 2011 one of Denmark's great cultural institutions, K.B. Hallen, burned to the ground. Since 1938, the arena had functioned as a cultural generator of big events in Copenhagen, such as concerts, sports events, messes, and fairs. The new K.B. Hallen was inaugurated on December 5, 2018, and, at the same time, introduced as an architectonic re-imagining.
In the new design, Christensen & Co. Architects has drawn inspiration from the original building, updating the design but making sure that the new design still rings true among the memories of the local population. At the same time, the iconic arch builds a bridge between present and future, and continues telling the story of K.B. Hallen in a modern version.
In its new form, K.B. Hallen will actively contribute to the cultural life of the local area. Its open façade secures that the pulsating life of the arena can be seen and that they become part of the surroundings. Because of the big glass façades, bypassers are easily attracted to the venue by the light and life, even though the it lies somewhat redrawn from Peter Bangs Vej.
When guests arrive via Peter Bangs Vej, they will enter by the front square towards the bright and open building to easily pass through the glass doors and become part of the arena. Here, great stairs guide guests to the first floor where a series of lounges and bars make for a pleasant introduction to the cultural experiences that takes place under the dome ceiling.
The old arena had a special textural feeling that was intensified by a wealth of the colours of time. Instead of trying to re-create this feeling with modern paint, it has been interpreted using natural material which gives the arena texture – within and without.
K.B. Hallen is recreated using solid material such as bamboo, handpainted brick latches, and concrete molded on location. With its glow and structure these materials gve the arena its special feeling. On the façade custom molded and white-glazed brick latches will give the "floating" first floor a broken, yet alive geometry which reacts with light and interacts with the surroundings.
Another DNA-track that has been elaborated on the is the massive concrete construction of the old arena. As a tribute to the original arena, the almost 20 meter tall concrete wall has been re-established in the entrance hall with wood inserted which gives the concrete a special structure. This wall is the first thing visitors see when they enter the entrance hall.
K.B. Hallen has been rebuilt with a strong focus on the future generations of athletes, concert goers and Copenhageners with modern functionalities of a quality and a sturdiness that stands side by side with the original arena. The raw constructions has been welded in steel and on location molded concrete constructions which secures the big pillarless spread, sturdiness, oustanding noise suppression for both concert goers and neighbours of the arena – all in all a topmodern multifunctioned arena with a possible lifespan of over 100 years.
“We wanted to give Copenhageners a new K.B. Hallen – not a copy of the old one – a new venue which builds upon the architectonic DNA. The dome ceiling is probably the most iconic, and that's why the it will remain K.B. Hallen's signature in the future as well.”
— Michael Christensen, creative director and founder of Christensen & Co. Architects