AR Awards for Emerging Architecture

Honourable mention


Sea bath

Kastrup, Denmark

December 2006
What Denmark lacks in a Mediterranean climate, it makes up for in hardy, sportif enthusiasm, as borne out by this pier-cum-lido structure for sea swimming that forms part of a revitalised sea front at Kastrup, near Copenhagen. Swedish practice White Arkitekter’s Danish outpost were responsible for the design. A 100m long pier extends out from a newish beach into the Oresund, the narrow channel separating Denmark from Sweden. The pier docks with a sculptural, circular structure resembling a palisade. This encloses a generous area of water and is protected by the curved embrace of a windbreak. Rising from 1.5m to 8m at its highest point, the timber screen shelters bathers from the wind and also catches the afternoon sun.
Like an extended hand, the curved form opens up towards the landside, inviting and enticing bathers inside. Stairs and ramps lead down into the water, which varies in depth from 2 metres, and assorted tiers and benches provide convenient spots for sunbathing, diving and general convivial lounging. There are also changing rooms, with views out over the Oresund to the Swedish coast in the distance.
The entire structure is clad in thin strips of azobé timber, an especially hardy species resistant to the corrosive effects of sea water. The timber unifies the composition and is warm and soft underfoot. Being free to the public, the architects hope that the pier will attract all kinds of people, from the young with more energetic sporty ambitions, to the elderly just wanting a quiet swim. Elegant and egalitarian, in that quintessentially Scandinavian way, the project shows how such an apparently simple structure can enhance the public realm. C. S.

White Arkitekter, Copenhagen
Åke E:son Lindman
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