Take a First Look at OMA’s New Mixed-Use BLOX Project in Copenhagen

Originally published on Metropolismag.com.

The diversely programmed building, which was 12 years in the making, rejects typical Danish urbanism—but is that a good thing?

“I had one conversation with Jan Gehl and I got into a fight with him,” says OMA partner Ellen van Loon, referring to the prominent Danish architect and pioneer of the country’s livable cities movement.

The root of her disagreement with Gehl is an “urban passageway” which connects Copenhagen’s center with its harbor-front via BLOX, OMA’s latest mixed-use project due to open to the public May 7. “He said it should go around the building,” says van Loon. “I have a public building; I want to get them through the building.”

Considering BLOX is the new home of the Danish Architecture Center (DAC), this refusal to be Dane-splained on public space is bold, even by OMA’s standards. Yet van Loon goes even further, arguing BLOX is even a critique of Danish urbanism: “It’s all a bit too nice,” she says. “There’s this strong tendency of having no noise around here. What’s wrong with noise? Noise is life. Noise is energy.”

Originally published on Metropolismag.com.

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