Sunday, August 21, 2011

DR Byen (DR City) -™

Written by Greg Vendena
DR Byen (DR City)Credit: DR Byen / Carsten Machholdt
Danish Broadcasting CorporationÔÇÖs (DR's) new headquarters gathers all of their activities into one very large and diverse facility. Almost 10 years after the first competition, the inauguration of the Concert Hall (Koncerthuset) marks the completion of the new headquarters, aptly named DR Byen (DR City).
DR Byen is a 24-hours-a-day workplace for more than 2,500 people; is comprised of four buildings, called “segments”; and totals approximately 131,000 m2 (1,414,800 sq. ft.). While all four buildings are architecturally notable, the outstanding Copenhagen Concert Hall truly sparks the imagination. This building is a mysterious and evocative blue fabric-clad structure imagined by Pritzker Prize-winning architect Jean Nouvel and his studio.

The City
The main impetus behind the project was one of consolidation and modernization. DRÔÇÖs former facilities for television and radio were separate buildings and in need of upgrades to current technology. For example, both radio and television had separate news departments, leading to much duplication of resources. The new headquarters, DR Byen, combines the two news departments into a more synergistic operation, and all of the new facilities boast state-of-the-art multimedia capabilities, as well as energy efficiency and renewable energy.
The masterplan competition was won by Vilhelm Lauritzen Architects (VLA), which mirrored history in that the firm's namesake architect Vilhelm Lauritzen was commissioned to design the original DR facility back in 1934. VLA also designed the largest of the four segments. Their concept for the masterplan was inspired by the Middle East's casbah, conceived as a city within a city. In a casbah, a rich life is contained with internalized streets, plazas, and buildings. VLA proposed the complex as a city unto itself within the newly developed area of ├śrestad, itself within Copenhagen. The plan calls for a unified variation, where each segment has its own character but with some consistency and tightness with the others. The four principle buildings are especially tied together by the “Inner Street,” a glass bridge that is intended to provide a vibrant in-between space where chance meetings and diverse life can occur.
DR Byen Segments
The Segments are comprised of the four main buildings and the Inner Street that connects them. The contract for each segment was awarded through a competition process, resulting in buildings designed by four different architecture firms.

The Blue Box: Jean Nouvel's Segment 4
A first encounter with the Copenhagen Concert Hall, otherwise known as Segment 4, sparks curiosity. The blue fabric screen facade wraps the entire outside surface of the building like gift wrap, and its diaphanous quality creates an appearance that changes with changing light - alternately hiding and revealing the forms behind it. The areas of the building that face the outside are layered behind this blue screen, which can roll or fold away and which acts as the polite clothing for the building body. Its lack of windows and other details makes it difficult to conceive a sense of scale and gives the building the appearance of a calm, hulking box. At night, usually during performances, the screen acts as a projection surface, creating a luminous blue glow that can be seen for some distance.

The public lobby is a multilayered interior space between the screen and and outside the huge main concert hall, known as Studio 1. This concert hall is expressed as a sculptural mass made up of scale-like panels, and the first experience of it is from underneath, allowing the audience to feel its hanging mass from below. After entering the interior of the auditorium itself, the reward is a lavish, vessel-like, terraced space, not unlike the Berliner Philharmonie. The surrounding color atmosphere, including chairs and materials, is warm orange brown. The wood panels are formed into fluid shapes, like a wind-sculpted cave. The asymmetrical terraced interior itself creates excellent acoustics, and, despite the large number of seats (1,800), it allows for a feeling of intimacy with the musicians.

Studios 2, 3, and 4 are tucked under Studio 1, and each of these smaller studios is sound-insulated. Each studio has a different expression, identity, and approach to acoustics. For example, Studio 4 is completely red with a grid of movable louver elements, while Studio 2 is lined with wood panels printed with murals of famous musicians, all of which slide like barn doors to modify the acoustic effect.DR_Byen_Jean_Nouvel_BBH_09

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