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Soil Centre Copenhagen

Soil Centre Copenhagen

Between the sky and the ocean

On the edge of Øresund, where the sky meets the ocean behind the Freeport and the Container Terminal lies Copenhagen Municipality’s new soil treatment center, Soil Centre Copenhagen. It is here millions of cubic meters of dug up soil from construction projects and metro building sites around Copenhagen create new ground for Copenhagen´s new urban area Nordhavn.

The landscape at Nordhavn is flat and makes for a fascinating and ever-changing scenery, giant piles of soil and huge excavations. To the Northwest of Soil Centre Copenhagen, the landscape is contrastingly lush with little green hills, shrubbery and little ponds and lakes fringed with rushes. A wild nature site filled with sounds from birds, swans and mewing seagulls. It is also here the protected European Green Toad, has made a new home for itself.

With this unique context Soil Centre Copenhagen grows out of the landscape with its characteristic shape and rusty red facades. The building has a distinctive silhouette against the vast horizon and is an integrated part of the landscape and an obviously man-made object.

The facades are clad in stretch metal made from rusty weathering steel. On the roof tall grass and, in time, even smallish bushes and trees will grow. In this sense the building makes up for the piece of the landscape it has occupied and will help preserve the natural biodiversity of the area. The weathering steel is protected by a red layer of rust, visually connecting it to the area and the ambitious environmental profile of the building.

The building consists of an office section for employees, laboratories, dressing rooms, two large workshops, garages and storage spaces. At the centre of the building the office section makes for a peaceful oasis with a view of the surroundings through the carefully placed windows, each offering beautifully framed views of the landscape or the waters of Øresund. At the same time, placement of the windows in the facade optimises the use of natural light, so the character and quality of that light becomes an integrated part of the architectural narrative.

A green and luxuriant interior

Two large indoor trees, along with the lush plant wall, create a green and delightful internal contrast to the dusty and rough exterior environment. Many roof windows shower the building with a pleasant light from above, and along with the facade windows, allows for some very good natural light conditions in the office section. The floor plan encourages interdisciplinary synergy between the center’s very different departments ranging from engineers to excavator drivers.

The first DGNB certified building in Nordhavn

KMC Nordhavn is the first DGNB certified building in Denmark built after the test phase has ended and the very first certified building in Nordhavn. It is a zero-energy building, which combines passive and active energy efficiency measures based on an overall view, which encompasses energy efficiency, building materials and social aspects. The design of the building results in an extremely low energy consumption and the necessary energy is provided using geothermal energy from the many kilometers of piping underneath the black asphalt in front of the building as well as solar panels and solar cells integrated into the slanting roof surfaces.

The Environmental center is placed by the harbor to the North of Copenhagen, in an upcoming area developed with an innovative sustainable green focus. Around 26 members of staff and administration will have their daily workplace at the new zero energy center. Merging with its surrounding nature, through a grass coved roof sloping to the ground, the zigzag shaped building has solar panels and photovoltaic cells incorporated in its distinct architecture. The building produces energy through the 10 m² solar panels and 140 m² of photovoltaic cells, combined with heat storage and thermo active covering the energy usage will be that of zero.









Soil Centre Copenhagen

  • Copenhagen
  • Denmark
Completion: 2013
Used materials
  • Metal

Type of Building

Architect Office