The area around Dundrum has seen rapid change over the past two decades. The new buildings have brought a very different expression and scale to what was once a village on the outskirts of Dublin; sometimes bringing with it cautious scrutiny from pre-existing residents. The fact is that new apartment developments should have a solely positive impact on the local areas and provide long term gain to the surrounding residential amenity. The goal for 120 “build-to-rent” apartments at Greenacres is to provide a new residential development that will enhance the changing neighbourhood around Dundrum while also providing a scheme that is innovative, generous and of high quality that reflects the needs of contemporary life for all its prospective residents. Our
During a time with an ever-growing urban population every square metre of vacant space becomes an opportunity for positive development.Critically, in respect with its surroundings, the effort in maximising a “landlocked” site’s potential is challenging with factors such as overlooking, overshadowing, building heights etc to be addressed. Any new housing development should acknowledge and minimise its impact on surrounding existing structures. Our student accommodation project for 203 beds on Prussia Street had to address these factors and to be properly placed in the long-established residential community in the heart of Stoneybatter. With the addition of the new campus at DIT Grangegorman in the near future there is an opportunity to foster dialogue with existing and new residential communities. Key design
CALL OF DUTY
How do you increase the number of workstations while improving on the work space and environment? How do you retro-fit a 10 000 Sqft office without having to temporarily relocate the company or disturbing its day-to-day production? How do you design and deliver the project in three months to meet the annual budget deadline? These were some of the challenges we faced when invited to design the Dublin office for DemonWare, one of the leading tech companies in Ireland. The existing building was a monotonous cellular office typology with poor light quality and excessive noise. We interviewed all of the staff to determine their work habits and what they envisioned for the space and environment. Given the staff were all
LIVING IN-BETWEEN NATURE
Urban Agency, together with TNT Arkitekter, has been invited to design a new housing area in Nærheden located only 30min away from Copenhagen’s city center. With a high-density requirement, the challenge faced in this project was to create a cosy, diverse housing area without the feeling of being overcrowded and packed. The final urban planning of the estate is shaped by natural factors, it reacts to sunlight conditions and opens towards the green surroundings. With parking spots placed on the edge of the site, the central areas are saved for green, public squares dedicated for group activities of the inhabitants. The quality of the public spaces is enriched by an open water management system and lush vegetation matching the indigenous
The neighbourhood surrounding Newmarket in the Liberties holds a distinct heritage within Dublin city. From its origins as a medieval outpost to the flourish of textile production in the 18th and 19th centuries, it is important that the centre preserves its identity as a hub for the community. We propose, at Urban Agency, to do this to the site around Newmarket Square with the creation of a high-quality, versatile square. With the rejuvenation of Newmarket Square, the neighbourhood gains a space for new cultural and commercial developments to establish and thrive. Not only this but similar to other once-dormant sections around the city (Smithfield etc.) the Square has the potential to become a well known and visited area of the
TRANSFORMATION OF EXHIBITION CENTER
Although the MCH Messecenter in Herning is already the biggest exhibition centre in Denmark, that doesn’t hinder the plans for its future development from being very ambitious. URBAN AGENCY was invited to create a strategy that will make the complex a more attractive and coherent structure with a new focal point. The project aims to intersect two loops of circulation at the point of the new entrance to the building. The connecting routes are enriched by the presence of usable art (both permanent and temporal exhibitions) and plants (trees, green walls). The roof spreads over a circular space creating a unique event area, enhanced by versatile sloping ramps that are the perfect scenery for an outdoor concert but equally provide
SHOE SHELF SHOP OPENED!
NEW CONTEMPORARY EXTENSION
We are very proud to announce the completion of our 340m2 shoe shop in Neumünster, Germany! With our new building, this long-established shoe store in the city center of Neumünster gets a contemporary extension. Towards the adjacent square, the building presents its striking profile that is designed as a full-height shelf which both outward and inward functions acts as a large display. The facade combines functionality and design while creating a remarkable completion of the urban fabric visible all the way to the nearby Textile Museum. Towards the street the new building rises up two stories with minimalist design putting the existing building in the foreground. The new building is constructed as an in-site concrete structure with exposed concrete. The
AMAGER COMMONS QUARTER
A blue-green delta landscape, like rivers flowing between characterful housing islands, and a loop for social activity, are the main elements of a proposal for a master plan for Amager Fælled Kvarter (Amager Commons Quarter) putting everyday life, nature and social fellowships at the centre. It sets the stage for the Commons’ unique nature as a shared recreational resource and the social grouting interconnecting the urban quarter’s sustainable city life. Community, activity and urban life in the middle of nature. URBAN AGENCY’s proposal for a new master plan for Amager Fælled Kvarter will preserve the special nature resources and recreational function of the area. The Metro just around the corner will be the basis for a new urban space where
NEW HEADQUARTER FOR VOLKSBANK
URBAN AGENCY, in collaboration with BEM Architects, has been invited to design the 25,000m2 headquarter of Volksbank, one of the biggest banking groups in Germany. Located in the center of Freiburg, opposite to the central station, the project will become a new entrance-gate to the medieval city center of Freiburg. The project comprises of a forty-three-meter high bank tower also featuring a hotel, retail and office functions, as well as a new assembly hall and music classrooms for the adjacent secondary school. With restricted guidelines provided by the city the shape of our proposal, displaying simple breaks in scale, enriches the skyline and relates better to the surroundings. The first two floors, where the client services are located, open themselves
URBAN AGENCY has been commissioned to design public spaces and eighty-four new mixed-use buildings for the city of Midan in South Korea. The new development both accommodates local residents and tourists of Incheon Airport and provides new entertainment facilities for Midan City Yeongiong Island. One of the most challenging aspects of this project was to create a village that encapsulates dynamic design and a unique spatial identity whilst maintaining each building’s distinct individuality, despite the primarily commercial masterplan we were presented with. In pursuance of this, we will disperse a multitude of architectural and urbanistic interventions throughout the site, such as pavement design, an open terrace towards the park, an urban square and an abundance of street art. The building
EDUCATION CENTRE FOR ALL
The project for a 10,000m2 adult education centre, located in the south-west of Morocco in a harsh and isolated area, aspires to create a robust, world-class education facility that will give generously to its community. Site strategy: Less is more Although the given site is quite large, the building occupies half of it in order to create a compact and introverted building, with a humble and simple exterior leading into a rich dynamic internal courtyard – drawing reference to the traditional “Medersa”( first universities) for its social, cultural and climatic ingenuity. Occupying a portion of the site allows for further development, creating the opportunity for expansion in the future. Meanwhile, the freed space will be used as a generous public
NEW HARBOR BRIDGE
Copenhagen's new pedestrian and cycle bridge
URBAN AGENCY, WilkinsonEyre and BuroHappold Engineering have been selected from a shortlist of five competing multidisciplinary teams, to design an opening pedestrian and cycle bridge across Copenhagen’s Inner Harbour. The plan form of the bridge is an elegant sweeping curve that reconnects the two misaligned axes of Vester Voldgade and Langebrogade. Peter Cederfeld, CEO of Realdania Byg said: “The winning proposal combines a clear and compelling concept with a strong design team to provide Copenhagen with a new high-quality bridge that both the city and its residents can be proud of.” The bridge has been designed as a simple response to the site constraints; from the eastern quayside, the deck rises up gently to clear the 5.4m high shipping channel,
Slagelse, a city strategically located at the point between Copenhagen and rest of Denmark, continues to undergo major transformations: Initially residing with the typical medieval city’s urban and street structure, then evolving through increased industrialisation supported by the railway development and further advancing with the establishment of shopping center in the 1970’s – each of these periods left a stamp in the city’s structure. The old town, train station and shopping mall are all located within a one-kilometre radius and can all be interpreted as an anchor in the town, each acting as main focal points of the city. Unfortunately, the area inbetween does not provide them with proper connections so they do not support each other and are forced
CASTLE & DRURY
With all protected buildings careful consideration has to be applied; we wanted to retain the existing beautiful features of the interior whilst creating a smaller, more exclusive and intimate shop area. The new menswear shop, for a young and passionate independent trader, required a much smaller space than the given premises in order to minimize cost. We segmented the space by means similar to a Georgian room-divider, traditionally used to get changed behind, comprised of a two metre, sand and cement rendered partition with custom-made mounted clothes rails that undulate at different levels to facilitate and showcase an array of clothing. As well as this reflective chrome/ mirror aluminum that runs along the bottom allows light to bounce further bounce
SCHOOL IN LURUP
NEW HEART OF THE DISTRICT
TThe aim of the competition for a school for 900 pupils in Lurup, one of Hamburg’s districts, was designing a stimulating and comfortable education venue for students, faculty and the surrounding community alike. Given the vast cultural programme proposed such as a community center, library, small theater, auditorium and sports hall, the project is set to become the focal point of the entire district, despite it’s central but hidden location in the “second row” – striving to create a neighbourhood magnet luring residents all day long. The school will have two entrances; the first in direct contact with the existing building and the second leading to the only road from which the building can be directly visible in the urban
NEW HARBOUR BATH
With the opening of the Harbour Bath, the inner-city waterfront of Faaborg has finally opened for bathing and recreation / public activity. This new public space on the water adds a new dimension of recreational activity to the beautiful South Funen Archipelago. The Harbour Bath is designed to tie a closer link between the city and the sea. Three thematic piers give room for everyone: Toddlers, children and young people can go wild while others enjoy the view of Faaborg Fjord. The “finger plan” with open basins between the three piers, offers multiple ways to approach the water. The wooden piers form ramps, stairs, sitting opportunities and small pools for children. The new development invites to take a bath,
36 METERS TALL SCULPTURE IN FREIBURG
The former post area, located between the city’s main artery on one side and ICE trains on the other, sets a very special context for our new project. The dynamics of the place reflects in its design and turns the office building into a thirty-six metre tall sculpture. Strong gestures in the volume give the building an architecturally and structurally significant appearance; making it the dominant landmark of the new business district. While the slopes on the upper floors optimise the sun in the central square throughout the day, the slanted corners on the lower floors provide better linking of public space. The special building form creates a welcoming condition of the overall urban concept between boulevard and the area
THE VERTICAL VILLAGE
The love for the suburban house in Ireland is well known. However, it is an unsustainable model for the future of a city like Dublin which should encourage a more pedestrian and cycling mobility rather than car commuting culture. The design concept wants to bring into the project the qualities one finds in the typical Irish “terraced houses” such as the two storey spatial qualities, the greenery environment, and the outdoor space, as well as sense of community. We propose a series of vertically stacked terraced houses with generous, lush outdoor spaces, communal facilities, concierge services, café, gym, etc.; a real vertical village. The project, commissioned by the US developer Hines for 165 apartments scheme on Spencer Dock, is an
GET THE HANG OF OUR URBAN MOTION!
Arriving in Copenhagen, you are now able to stretch your body after a long flight at our ‘Urban Motion’. Copenhagen airport invited Urban Agency to repeat the succsess of the Kalvebod Wave in the arrival hall.
HYDE & SEEK
The awkward shape of the site, the adjacent traffic noise and the need for minimising windows at ground-floor level to prevent overlooking result from the site strategy. The building is placed at the centre of the site to create three gardens of various scale at its corners, serving as individualised amenities for the respective age group. The creche is introverted at ground-floor level, opening into private landscaped courtyards; at first-floor level, windows are created to allow for distant views. The building is organised as a series of four small oval volumes that accommodate the various age groups, the administration and ancillaries. A large circular roof caps and unifies the building overall, serving as a vast external playground at first-floor level
152 MICRO APARTMENTS IN SEOUL
URBAN AGENCY has been commissioned to design 152 units of Officetel building with a hybrid programme between an office and a hotel as a self-contained living environment in the new development area of the Negok District, Seoul together with Soomok Architects and Imma Architects. The site at number 2-2 Negok District has both positive and negative aspects – the design concept embodies and tackles said upsides and challenges. The open view towards Mt Chunggae is utilised while the unsightly Kyungbu highway and the very closely located neighbouring building is resolved – an innovative urbanistic solution to a complex condition. We proposed a counter shape as a response to the neighbouring U-shape building; its counter U-shape not only creates a larger
Copenhagen's new harbor-front
With the opening of the Kalvebod Waves at Copenhagen’s harbour-front, a central part of the inner harbour has finally become both accessible and attractive to the public. The new public space on the water gives the harbour a new dimension as a recreational space in the centre of the city. Historically this part of the harbour was devoted to industrial activities. In the 1980s and 90s, the city sold the land, and the area was developed into an urbanistically and architecturally harsh and monoprogrammed harbour-front, leaving its quay barren and open to strong winds, devoid of any public life. When addressing this infamously gloomy and desolated side of the harbour, the architects focused on two major design aspects: urban continuity
Qianhai Exchange Plaza - More than trade!
Qianhai Exchange Plaza will be a place for economic exchange. But it has the potential for much more. It can become the place for exchange on many different levels – a place of a holistic identity of what exchange means in the 21st century. Social Exchange: Economic exchange is based on people interacting. This needs places where people can meet in a formal or informal way – places where social exchange in the context of business and outside it can take place. Cultural exchange: Qianhai and the exchange plaza are the heart of a new place that is supposed to foster exchange between Shenzhen and Hong Kong and between China and the world. Where people from everywhere meet it would
MAKEOVER FOR ICONS
The ESB’s recent controversial proposal to demolish the redundant but iconic Poolbeg Lighthouses provoked much opposition from Dublin citizens, including Dublin City Councillor and historian Dermot Lacey. URBAN AGENCY’s proposal aims to celebrate the unique identity and character of the Poolbeg Chimneys by giving them a new life and converting them into a new city destination: The Twin Observation Towers. The proposal includes glass bubble-like structures, one on 180-metre-high observation deck in one chimney and in the other, a 160-metre-high restaurant and venue for fundraising events, product launches, meetings, press conferences, receptions, and corporate parties. At the foot of the towers, a publicly accessible building comprising of an energy museum/education centre, a shop, a cafe and toilet facilities is proposed.
This design for a mews house for a mid-terrace site at the rear of Fitzwilliam Square in Dublin offered the challenge of how to cater for contemporary living within the historical urban fabric. Avoiding pastiche, the aim was to reinvent the banal box typology of some mews schemes in the city, opting for four interlocking, offset vaults to create a dynamic series of outdoor and indoor spaces flooded with natural light. The vaults – inspired by the dominant stone arch on the lane – allow for an enfilade of grand rooms surrounded by a series of gardens and patios, despite the house being only 130m². The movement through the house has been imagined as a journey, with a series of
House reconfiguration & extension
This project started with the clients’ desire to have “their head in the sky and their feet on the ground”. The attic level offers magnificent views towards the mountains and Dublin Castle while the rear garden is bathed beautiful afternoon light. The ambition of the proposal was to offer it all. Rather than adhering to the usual “modern box extension” at the rear, the design of the house maximizes the footprint of the existing volume. To that end, the house has been carved out entirely, dropping the ground level to gain a 30% floor plate within the roof. A series of split levels platforms organised vertically throughout the house connect all the living and communal spaces physically and visually, while
New Tent Structure
The Fringe Festival tent is a structure which is at the same time a spectacle. The brief is simple: A tent structure which can be erected in 24 hours, stand for one month for the duration of the festival and then be disassembled and stored until the following year. The project is five small domes all interconnected in a complex series of curves like the belly of a whale. A LED skin powered by embedded photovoltaic cells brings the pavilion alive during festival time. The containers that the pavilion is stored in become ticket booths, wardrobes, bars and VIP areas spread throughout the docks during the festival.
10 Apartments & retail
The project consists of ten luxury apartments and a restaurant on the ground floor opening onto a semi-public lush garden. In 2013, URBAN AGENCY was commissioned to reassess an existing proposal and managed to gain an extra 40% of floor space by sliding and twisting each storey in order to comply with and “twist“ French planning law.
New social housing
The ten town villas are placed as a chain in the hilly landscape and relate both to the 5-6 storey houses of the new development and the small-scale houses of the village itself. The town villa typology has a small volume compared to the traditional social housing slab, combining the qualities of the one-family house with the density of the multi-storey housing typology. The access system and the common outside terrace area melt together as wide wooden bridges, including entrance zones for the units and terrace spaces. This creates housing with a strong community and a high level of safety. The buildings are planned according to the principles of the German DGNB certification system.
In Spring 2010, URBAN AGENCY was appointed the winner of the competition for new housing at the Sommerlyst site in Holmbladsgade, Copenhagen. The project will now be realised as twenty-eight units of social housing. The house enjoys a vivid landscape of roof terraces and balconies, which also provide access to the housing units themselves. This creates a safe and socially well-functioning environment for the inhabitants. The units are large family houses – partly duplex housing units with double-height spaces and four rooms. The ground floor to the main street offers two business areas suitable for cafes, restaurants or office spaces, with the facade to the minor Geislersgade featuring small front gardens and small-scale, terrace house typologies. The brick facades fit
Orla Kiely’s flagship store in New York is a 215m2 boutique situated on the ground floor of a 19th-century manufacturing building in the landmark area of Soho. The 7.5m x 28m long space is divided lengthways into two parts; an open plan area that can be used for catwalk shows or exhibitions, and a series of domestic-scale rooms that house Kiely’s signature collection of bags, homewares, stationery, beauty products and wallpaper designs. The spaces are arranged as a 1:1 cross-section of a doll’s house, acting like a stage set for customers to play out their ambitions of creating an ideal home, complete with original Orla Kiely designs. The modern, interchangeable interior street space allows for theatrical events and unusual displays,
Wood Experience Center
Jeju Island is the most natural tourist attraction in South Korea. The centre is situated in the most untouched forest area in Jeju called ‘Redorum.’ One of the main challenges was to design a building that respects the existing forest as well being iconic in its own right as a tourist attraction. The roof covers the whole space of the building, which accommodates an exhibition hall, workshop and library.
School of music
The major challenge of our design proposal is to enhance the area around the train station as a new gate to the city of Kronberg, Germany. The new ensemble of chamber music hall, Kronberg Academy and Hotel has been carefully designed to blend in with the station’s forecourt. The unique design of the chamber music hall has evolved from the unique characteristics of the landscape, the idea of ”flow” is to allow the landscape by means of a set-through foyer through the building. The building itself receives its special sculptural form through the curved design of the building’s envelope. Curved wall cutouts allow large-scale, column-free openings, theses characteristics shape the halls and also the exterior facades form.
Distributed over two buildings, Ørestad Assisted Housing Project comprises a total of 110 units for disabled people and psychiatric patients. As it was important that the development naturally integrated itself into the future urban fabric and the public space, all the common facilities on the ground floor, e.g. café and rehabilitation center, are gathered in order to achieve an open and inviting access with a close link to the public space. The facade of the building is designed in a modular system with a distinctive checkerboard layout. The shifting half-module size windows and the set-back balconies create a distinctive depth and a unique and lively character that puts the buildings in dialogue with the urban space. The building’s design invites
44 Social Housing units
The proposal challenges the generic standard ‘housing block’ layout by creating a more human-scale but high-density housing while encouraging and developing a great sense of community living. The site is located in Narbonne in the South of France in a low-rise residential neighbourhood dominated by large two-storey private houses with red terracotta pitch roofs. The challenge was to insert a high-density residential development to fit in the existing low-density context. The project minimizes the scale and the massing of the development by breaking it down into six small, interconnected volumes of varying heights. The facades are tilted above the second storey and are finished with a red terracotta concrete finish so the overall building reads visually as a cluster of
The design for the Yuseong youth centre envisaged the building not just as an entity but as a composition of different identities. This vision involved devising seven programmatic volumes and lending them all a different architectural language to distinguish and characterise each function. We carefully recomposed the volumes to enhance their spatial and visual inter-relationships. We believe this process creates not only the appropriate context for youth to develop their individual interests but also to allow them communicate among different groups. The site is complex, having a green field and lake on the south-east side and a 50m road on north-west side. We started with an L-shaped layout to create a cozy and active urban backyard embraced both by our
Future of Copenhagen
In 2008 URBAN AGENCY, together with Vandkunsten Architects, won a two-stage urban planning competition for the development of the “Kløvermarken” quarter in Copenhagen. The project comprised the development of a new urban district with about 900,000 m2 of floor-area for housing, public and commercial use. Organised around the existing football fields, the project was designed with a focus on public health and sustainable living. URBAN AGENCY has worked on the project from inception to development plan and has been responsible for the development of a design manual for landscape architecture and public space.
TV Studio on DR2
Urban Agency was commissioned to design the TV studio for a new TV show called Vogternes Råd on Danish national TV channel. In the weekly show, four panels including MC, Ane Cortzen, and hosts deal with polemic issues about Danish media with a critical and humorous point of view. We got inspired by a Japanese artist Yayoi Kusama’s work, ‘Gleaming lights of the souls’ and introduced it to our TV studio design. Our design seeks to create an infinite spatial sense in TV studio’s limited space by reflection with 35 mirror walls and LED lights. The studio surrounded by mirror walls contains innumerable reflections of colorful LED lights so it implies the infinite media production process between reality and fiction.
The building, an artist’s studio, consists of a 5x5m singular room set back from the lane and mediated between two new outdoor rooms – a patio and a garden. The finished floor level is sunk 750mm below ground level. The modest-height ceiling at the entrance level increases gradually when descending to the centre of the room. A folding polished concrete ribbon runs around the room, up and down, becoming stairs, desks and a day bed before returning to its normal position. Internally, board-marked concrete walls and roof form a textured cube underscored by two long strip roof lights marking the daily passage of light on walls. Externally, a smooth, sandblasted concrete finish contrasts with the internal textural opulence. The space
The project in Kantplatz 8 in Neumünster, Germany, called for the renewal and restoration of a former church and church community house with a special focus on energy optimisation. The building is a defining part of the central square of the 1950s housing area. The project strikes a balance between building preservation, modernisation and energy optimisation: the facade towards the square had to be preserved, with the garden side opened up into a modern facade. Bay windows and balconies were established to create variety and the increase the potential for social engagement in the neighbourhood. The apartments were organised and scaled to accommodate the needs of groups of different ages. The interior and exterior common areas were given special attention
An existing shopping centre with a deep plan is converted into bright, usable office space. The proposal involved cutting a long narrow strip through the three-storey shopping centre, creating an atrium to draw sunlight down into the core of the plan. Stainless steel cladding reflects and intensifies the light, bouncing sunlight deep into the building. The central division forms two 12-14m deep spaces either side of the atrium which the offices can inhabit. As well as natural light, the atrium ventilates the building, preventing overheating. Meeting rooms form bridges between the two strips of office space, providing distinctive focal points within the building and referencing their communal function. The scale of the existing building had to be recalibrated for its
House reconfiguration & extension
A house that doubles as gallery gave rise to a series of flexible spaces that can be transformed by the occupant. An unroofed porch creates a chicane that provides both threshold and privacy. On entering, the living space is presented as a single volume stretching out to the garden beyond. This longitudinal space is served by an inhabited wall that opens up to reveal the kitchen, stairwell, fireplace and settee. All the essentials of daily living are thus housed behind a folding white wall. One of these openings conceals a hidden dimension – a light-strewn stairwell leading to the bedrooms above. The upper-level arrival hall is a place to linger, being glazed to the sky and lined in birch –
Brick a Back House
House renovation & extension
Located on a redbrick wall terrace in Irishtown, Dublin, one finds the wall folded right back into the interior to open a space for living space and a patio beyond. A single volume extends visually from the front door to the rear wall of the site where a variety of spatial conditions are overlaid, all differentiated by the degree of enclosure and the use of two contrasting materials: red brick and white marble. Three metres – two internal and one external – are added to the length of the existing house. Each metre is open, closed or glazed. This tripartite division of ‘air, earth and sun’ establishes an elemental structure that spans the width of the house. A blurring of
34 apartments retrofit & new extension
An existing dormer building is restructured as a permeable light box. Removing the old dormer windows, a three-and-a-half storey block is locked onto the top of the refurbished building. The new block provides a series of duplex and triplex units in the form of vertical houses. The block is carved out to form terraces, gardens and winter gardens, a multifaceted version of the traditional Irish back garden which divided and distributed to provide a range of uses and experiences. Conceptually comfortable houses are placed in a city centre location with three or four sided views over the city and green pockets acting as breathing space. Continuing the sense of rural life in an urban setting, allotments are available to residents.
House renovation & extension
A house is excavated and a space created. The insertion of a polycarbonate and steel cruciform object allows habitation, setting up a complex series of interconnected and overlapping spaces. The object, a piece of architectural furniture, spreads treelike from a concentrated base housing a kitchen, toilet, storage and stairwell. Above this is a platform for sleeping, dressing and study spaces. The four branches of the structure hold various functions – two spanning to the side walls act as wardrobes, while the branch to the front is a cantilevered reading desk for the teacher-client. The fourth branch extends through the rear wall and projects two metres beyond it housing a shower room. This room is glazed to the sky, reminiscent of