The new Water Culture House, which will be built on the island of Christiansholm (known locally as ‘Paper Island’), a historic island in the Port of Copenhagen, is a gift to the residents of Copenhagen and to the city’s visitors. It is an exceptional building and will be a setting where people will enjoy a unique swimming experience, right in the heart of the Port of Copenhagen.

It is also an idea that was conceived by the people of Copenhagen themselves. In 2015, the City of Copenhagen launched a competition which asked residents to pitch ideas for a new recreational and cultural centre on the Copenhagen island of Christiansholm. It received 160 proposals. The majority of the responses proposed the building of some kind of swimming facility on the island.

The City of Copenhagen issued an international invitation to tender for the contract for the design of the Water Culture House on the Copenhagen island of Christiansholm in February 2017. The City of Copenhagen then selected two finalists, who qualified their tender for the future Water Culture House on the Copenhagen island of Christians­holm. Nordea-fonden supported the architectural competition, providing DKK 2.1 million.

The winner of the architectural competition was officially announced in December 2017 – Kengo Kuma & Associates together with Cornelius Vöge Atelier for Arkitektur and Søren Jensen Råd­givende Ingeniørfirma. The overall develop­ment of the Copenhagen island of Christiansholm started in 2018 and is expected to be completed in 2024, when the building of the new Water Culture House is also expected to be completed.

In May 2018, Nordea-fonden supported the project with DKK 300 million to ensure that the Japanese vision for the municipal Water Culture House will become a reality.

The Water Culture House will be located on the north-western corner of the Copenhagen island of Christiansholm.
The Water Culture House will be located on the north-western corner of the Copenhagen island of Christiansholm.

Japanese architecture on Copenhagen’s waterfront

The Water Culture House will be completed in 2024 and its architecture will be unlike anything seen in Copenhagen before, focussing on indoor and outdoor aquatic activities in the Port of Copenhagen.

The building will be a cluster of cone-shaped volumes made from bricks whose colour will match the grey tones of the surrounding buildings, ‘resting’ on a ribbon of glass. The main attraction will be an outdoor pool in a ‘valley’ created by the roof structure, which will ensure that bathers enjoy a unique experience. There will also be outdoor pools of varying depths close to the quay.

The general redevelopment of the island of Christiansholm started at the beginning of 2018 and the Water Culture House will be completed in 2024.

About the architectural competition

The architectural competition was for a Water Culture House of up to 5,000 m² that included swimming and clubs and associations facilities, a promenade and harbour bathing facilities on the Copenhagen island of Christiansholm. The architectural competition was launched as an international EU invitation to tender.

The panel of judges consisted of the Lord Mayor of Copenhagen Frank Jensen, Carl Christian Ebbesen, who was the then mayor of the Culture and Leisure Committee, Morten Kabell, who was the then mayor of the Technical and Environmental Committee, Mogens Hugo, who was the then Chairman of the Board of Governors of Nordea-fonden and architects Lars Steffensen and Reiulf Ramstad.

The team behind
the Water Culture House

Turn Key Contractor

MT Højgaard AS

Full Service Consultant

Kengo Kuma & Associates

Sub-consultants

Vilhelm Lauritzen Architects : architects from prospects and onwards (from the summer of 2020 and onwards)

Cornelius Vöge Atelier for Arkitektur : architects until and incl. disposition proposal

Buro Happold UK : Facade engineers

Søren Jensen Rådgivende Ingeniørfirma : engineering, construction, technique

Client

Ejendomsfonden Vandkulturhus Papirøen

Client Consultancy Services

COWI A/S