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Sumit Singhal
Sumit Singhal
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.

ROCKmagneten in Roskilde, Denmark by MVRDV & COBE

October 19th, 2011 by Sumit Singhal

Article source: MVRDV & COBE

The MVRDV and COBE scheme for the transformation of a former concrete factory into a multifunctional creative hub was chosen winner of an international design competition. The masterplan proposes an informal transformation of the 45.000m2 site into a dense neighborhood, incl. 8.000m2 existing factory halls, organized around a plaza for events. Three new volumes will be added on top of the halls: The 11.000m2 ROCKmagneten consists of The Danish Rock Museum, The Roskilde Festival Folkschool incl. student housing, and the headquarters of the famous Roskilde Rock Festival. They share program in a public creative communal house. The museum with a total of 3.000m2 will be completed as the first phase in 2014.

Behind the museum is a courtyard adjacent to the artist's studio

  • Architect: MVRDV & COBE
  • Name of Project: ROCKmagneten
  • Location: Roskilde, Denmark

The site is located between Roskilde city centre and the Festival grounds of the annual rock festival. The brief demanded preservation halls of the former concrete factory Unicon and the informal character of the site which is currently used by artists, skaters and musicians. How to organise liberty, creativity and informality? The main idea is to create contrast by preserving the existing fabric as much as possible and positioning the new volumes above the existing halls. The masterplan defines areas for future buildings and temporary pavilions around a large event plaza connecting the halls and the ROCKmagneten with the main street. As a result Unicon becomes Musicon.

The old industrial halls will be insulated and opened for daylight but keep their rough character. The big open spaces inside the halls will then be interconnected and partly filled with elements of the ROCKmagneten’s public program and partly consist of ‘undefined’ space where temporary activities, events, exhibitions or the unplanned can take place. The halls function as the heart of the creative hub for the Musicon area.

Three new volumes will be added on top of the halls. The Danish Rock Museum (3.000m2) is the main focus of the masterplan with a facade of gold colored spikes. The exhibition concept of the new museum is based on the rock star experience, like ‘the rise and fall of Ziggy Stardust’. Visitors can arrive by limo on a red carpet, stand in line to get a ticket and then enter the main exhibition hall through a stage elevator. The descend down through the bar marks the exit of the museum. The foyer of the museum not only provides access to the whole ROCKmagneten but can also be used as an outdoor concert stage, performing to either the big event plaza or the halls.

Student housing on top of the existing structures

The Roskilde Festival Headquarter is an office block on top of one of the factory halls shaped as a stack of loud speakers with a black rubber facade. Some speakers are real and can be used for concerts on the plaza.
The Roskilde Festival Folkschool will occupy one of the halls with rooms for lectures, study, lounges etc. positioned around an open space containing a fireplace. A 3-level circular volume on top of the halls contains 80 double rooms for students.

The ambition is to create a green machine; based on the smart combination of proven technologies the buildings will act in accordance with the environmental vision of Roskilde Festival. The annual rock festival is the biggest in Northern Europe and organised as a charity which donates its profit. Bands such as U2, R.E.M., Coldplay, Pet Shop Boys, Prince, Rammstein and Robbie Williams perform to an enthusiastic crowd from all over Europe.

MVRDV and COBE conceived the plan with Arup engineering, Wessberg engineers, LIW planning landscape architects and Transsolar for climate and energy.

The interior of the existing halls will be transformed


MVRDV was set up in Rotterdam (the Netherlands) in 1993 by Winy Maas, Jacob van Rijs and Nathalie de Vries. MVRDV engages globally in providing solutions to contemporary architectural and urban issues. A research based and highly collaborative design method engages experts from all fields, clients and stakeholders in the creative process. The results are exemplary and outspoken buildings, urban plans, studies and objects, which enable our cities and landscapes to develop towards a better future.

Early projects such as the headquarters for the Dutch Public Broadcaster VPRO and housing for elderly WoZoCo in Amsterdam lead to international acclaim.

MVRDV develops its work in a conceptual way, the changing condition is visualised and discussed through designs, sometimes literally through the design and construction of a diagram. The office continues to pursue its fascination and methodical research on density using a method of shaping space through complex amounts of data that accompany contemporary building and design processes.

MVRDV first published a cross section of these study results in FARMAX (1998), followed by a.o. MetaCity/Datatown (1999), Costa Iberica (2000), Regionmaker (2002), 5 Minutes City (2003), KM3 (2005), and more recently Spacefighter (2007) and Skycar City (2007). MVRDV deals with global ecological issues in large scale studies such as Pig City as well as in small pragmatic solutions for devastated areas of New Orleans.

Current projects include various housing projects in the Netherlands, Spain, China, France, the United Kingdom, USA, India, Korea and other countries, a bank headquarter in Oslo, Norway, a public library for Spijkenisse , Netherlands, a central market hall for Rotterdam, a culture plaza in Nanjing, China, large scale urban plans include a plan for an eco-city in Logroño, Spain, an urban vision for the doubling in size of Almere, Netherlands and Grand Paris, the vision of a post-Kyoto Greater Paris region.

The work of MVRDV is exhibited and published world wide and receives international awards. The 60 architects, designers and staff members conceive projects in a multi-disciplinary collaborative design process and apply highest technological and sustainable standards.

Together with Delft University of Technology MVRDV runs The Why Factory, an independent think tank and research institute providing argument for architecture and urbanism by envisioning the city of the future.

ROCKmagneten plaza, from left: student housing Rock Museum and Festival HQ


COBE is an internationally operating office based in COpenhagen and BErlin and founded in 2005 by the two principal architects Dan Stubbergaard and Vanessa Miriam Carlow.

COBE seeks to develop specific, innovative solutions for each assignment, with competences that include the physical realization of architecture, strategic urban planning, urban and landscape design, and research. COBE’s designs strive for the best combination of dense urban milieus, high-quality open spaces, and integrated sustainability. In COBE’s work sustainability is a built-in opportunity, and a design tool to develop holistic projects. COBE’s approach to design, architecture and planning is to be visionary in the ambition, and responsible and sympathetic in the result.

Since the beginning COBE has gained a reputation as an innovative company, by winning a number of high profile projects and prizes. Currently COBE is realizing major projects, such as the new Nørreport Station, Israel’s Square, the new Culture house and Library in the North-western part of Copenhagen, the Danish pavilion for EXPO 2012 in South Korea and two of Copenhagen’s most significant urban development projects: Copenhagen’s new science city North Campus and the Northern Harbor project; Scandinavia’s most extensive, most ambitious metropolis development project. Beside the newly opened Culture House and Library you can also visit Taastrup Theater which was completed in 2009, and in 2014 you can experience COBE’s new Nørreport Station.
In 2006 COBE received the Golden Lion of the 10th Architectural Biennale in Venice as part of the Danish Pavilion. Adtionnally COBE received Nykredit’s Motivation Prize in 2007.

Contact MVRDV & COBE

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