Lemvig Klimatorium by 3XN fights against climate change in Denmark
The Lemvig Klimatorium, a new wave-shaped climate change center in western Denmark designed by 3XN, pushes the boat to tackle environmental issues
The town of Lemvig on Denmark’s west coast may be small and remote from the capital, but it aspires to play a vital role in the nation’s efforts to tackle climate change. Aggressive storms and rising sea levels have increased the risk of flooding, prompting the city to redevelop a former industrial area on its waterfront: adding a flood wall, installing a new promenade , spaces for new businesses and, above all, an international center on climate change. , Klimatorium, to provide a meeting point for residents and tourists, educate the public on the climate emergency and support Denmark’s role as an exporter of climate solutions.
Commissioned by City Council to create this centerpiece, 3XN Architects designed a two-story building that makes a visual statement while respecting a limited budget and environmental footprint. The highlight is a wave-shaped wooden pocket, yielding into the south facade of the building and facing a skate park by Copenhagen-based studio Effekt, completed in 2013. Clad in local pine, the wave is largely smoothly contoured, but stepped at the base to provide seating. As Jan Ammundsen, senior partner and design manager at 3XN, explains, the initial intention was simple: to create a sheltered place that would be available to both users and passers-by of the building, bathed in sunlight but protected from the winds. west on the water. . “We hope to create a little possibility for them to sit down, enjoy the moment and talk to each other,” says Ammundsen. “It’s a way for the building to give back a little to the city.
Inspired by their design of Stockholm’s Odenplan metro station, the architects decided that, rather than erecting a stand-alone pavilion, they could push this resting place into the building for greater visual impact. A wave shape made sense given the location of Lemvig’s waterfront and maritime heritage, and also serves as a sharp geometric contrast to the otherwise rectilinear architecture. The rest of the building is modest and pragmatic. The lower level, which hosts a reception area, café, and space for temporary exhibitions (currently ‘Climate Without Borders’, with a focus on local solutions such as the Lemvig flood wall), is enveloped floor to ceiling glass.
This transparency has a double advantage: it highlights the activities of the Klimatorium; and it offers a breathtaking view of the surrounding landscape and the water. The upper level, where the workspaces are located, is covered with a slat skin, while the blackened pine panels are perpendicular to the generously proportioned windows, drawing attention to the warmer natural tones of the wavy structure. . “We didn’t want it to be an all-glass building,” Ammundsen recalls. “Basically we don’t want it to overheat, but the other reason for using wood is that we want the building to have a certain mass and a certain strength. This part of Denmark is known for a down to earth approach to construction, with unpretentious buildings made from functional materials, so it was important for 3XN to do the same.
The use of wood continues inside the building. The rear of the corrugated wooden structure – which, in a nod to Lemvig shipyards, resembles the look of a ship’s hull – is left exposed to add visual intrigue. A wide staircase is made of light wood, as are the slatted ceiling panels. The architects initially hoped for a wooden structure, but this turned out to be unrealistic due to cost and water issues. Instead, they settled on a concrete core (which is easy to produce and maintain), while minimizing the amount of aluminum and steel to reduce carbon emissions. “It’s a way of pushing for a sustainable solution within a building that is fully focused on climate change,” says Ammundsen.
Despite limited public access during the pandemic, the 3XN building is already gaining more and more recognition, including being named the 2020 Building of the Year as part of Denmark’s Årets Byggeri Awards. “This is a project that has met all of our wishes,” says Lars Holmegaard, CEO of Klimatorium. “It’s a building close to nature – even when you are inside you feel the interaction with nature and the ocean. The structure of the waves was even more valuable than we might imagine. People really adopted it as a place to sit and relax. When you build an international climate office on the outskirts of Denmark, you have to create something quite unique, iconic. This building is ideal for a small town like Lemvig.
When asked if there were any elements of the Klimatorium that influenced upcoming 3XN projects, Ammundsen said, “ You can have a big impact by doing something basic and giving it a little bit of a twist. It’s a good thing to have constraints and to use them correctly. It can make things easier, and maybe even more enjoyable if you’re lucky. §