Sumit Singhal loves modern architecture. He comes from a family of builders who have built more than 20 projects in the last ten years near Delhi in India. He has recently started writing about the architectural projects that catch his imagination.
FRIIS Aalborg City Centre in Denmark by C. F. Møller Architects
September 11th, 2011 by Sumit Singhal
Article source: C. F. Møller Architects
The city of Aalborg has received a new focal point with the Friis shopping centre, designed by C. F. Møller Architects. The shopping centre, which combines new property and a renovation of the former Magasin department store, covers a total area of 60,000 sq m. Of this, 21,000 sq m is occupied by the shopping centre itself, 4,000 sq m by the Cabinn hotel, 5,000 sq m by offices and 35,000 sq m by an underground car park with room for 850 cars.
The new building and the former department store are located on opposite sides of Nytorv, the main thoroughfare in central Aalborg, but are linked by two footbridges, one of which is broad enough to provide space for shops, which enjoy a view of the city life and a newly-built square.
The shops are located at street level and on the first floor. A unifying element is the 25 m tall central space in the new part of the Centre. The space extends from the lowest parking deck to the uppermost ceiling, where escalators and elevators mark the Centre’s pulse.
Central Aalborg was previously divided by the traffic along Nytorv, but the Friis shopping centre now binds the city together, providing access from Aalborg’s narrow, medieval streets to the city’s new waterfront, which was also a project designed by C F Møller Architects. Here, the city has acquired a cultural boulevard which includes the Utzon Centre museum of architecture, the new Nordkraft multimedia cultural centre, and the concert hall Musikkens Hus, which is currently under construction.
The shopping centre has four main entrances: two main entrances connect to the city’s main street, Nytorv. One main entrance connects the Centre to the pedestrian shopping street of Nørregade, which forms the northerly part of Aalborg’s shopping street network, and another main entrance links the Centre to Aalborg’s newly-refurbished waterfront.
The building unites its many different functions with a white stucco facade and striking glass panels in structural glazing, but the facade also reflects its diversity, just as it reflects the diverse structure of the surrounding city – from the large-scale open areas towards the harbour to the denser, more intimate shopping streets. This is achieved through alternating motifs, including window bays in various designs, perforated steel plates in front of coloured facade fields in different varieties, variations in window formats and combinations of materials, etc.
The Cabinn hotel enjoys a distinctive location at the north-west corner of the complex, towards the fjord. The hotel, which offers 239 rooms, stands out in the facades with its longitudinal window bays in the ground-floor reception area and the restaurant on the first floor, where guests can enjoy views of the new harbour promenade, medieval Aalborghus Castle and the Limfjord Bridge. The commercial leases are located in the north and east of the Centre, on the second, third and fourth floors, where they are marked with a distinctive facade rhythm, provided by bay windows and window strips that give the building an almost iconic expression to the north. Distinctive vertical glass strips mark the access stairways to the commercial leases.
The upper floor of the former department store houses a fitness centre, which enjoys a magnificent view of the city’s towers and steeples to the south.
The underground car park has a light and open appearance, with a relatively high ceiling (2.4 m free height on the uppermost deck), broad parking spaces and a slightly sloping deck, so that motorists can avoid narrow ramps and corners when manoeuvring around the car park. Access to the underground car park is available outside the Centre’s opening hours from the main entrance to the north, and elsewhere, so that parking needs in connection with exhibitions or concerts in the area can continue to be met.
58,000 people visited the Centre on its opening day, 23 March 2010, and during the first fourteen days, a total of 285,000 visitors dropped by.
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Category: City Center