Midas in reverse. Marina Park in Nordhavn.

Midas in reverse. Marina Park in Nordhavn.

  • Marina Park. Photo: Nathan Romero Muelas.
In these days of herd thinking and herd designing, how refreshing it is to see a building with character.

I’m experiencing lately a curious phenomenon. If a building, a landscape, a place, appeals to my sensibility, if I find it interesting or beautiful, you can be sure that there is a plan somewhere to destroy it, change it, substitute it. A most peculiar version of the Midas curse or the lethal gaze of Hydra.

I took a trip to Nordhavn, and was surprised about the quality and character of a building from the 80´s, namely Marina Park, headquarters of PFA. In these days of herd thinking and herd designing, how refreshing it is to see a building with character. And playful also, with its flying hexagonal bridges, its rich ceramic skin, the futuristic/nautical openings.

I decided to look it up. I found out it was made by Bent Saks, an architect that I shall get familiar with. But then I learned something else. First it seems it was going to be turned down, now it is going to suffer an "aggiornamento". According to the reporter, some architects other than the author are going to "jazz the building up". Read the piece here.

Really, I don't understand why we complain so much. Our attributions as architects keep growing, in number and importance. "Jazzing things up", for instance.

What is next? Well, yes, my beloved Viking museum in Roskilde. Damned.  It’s my fault, I know. I saw them, I liked them, and down they go: my lethal gaze.

Nathan Romero Muelas


Mads Felding
I min verden har den altid været en af de bygninger som på tegninger måske er smuk og gennemarbejdet. Men som udført bygning en katastrofe, et ikke uvanligt fænomen i arkitekturen. Måske en naturlig konsekvens af den vinkel arkitektskolen har angrebet byggeriet på i nyere tid. Uden den fornødne byggetekniske og konstruktions viden kan der ofte være meget langt fra tegnebord til virkelighed. Dog eg arkitekten her måske for kraftigt influeret af sin bygge og uddannelses baggrund... Et eksempel på det modsatte i mine øjne er skuespilhuset af Lundgaard og Tranberg, her er det tydeligt at tegnestuen har haft detaljer og materialer helt ind under huden og fulgt det til dørs. Nogen gange kan det dog også skyldes en dominerende entreprenør, lavt budget eller manglende indsigt i byggefasen fra arkitektens side. (Ja jeg er kritisk på vores fags vegne her).
Nathan Romero Muelas

Dear Mads,
Thanks for your comment. You bring up a few important things, perhaps beyond the scope of my post.
If a building doesn’t fulfill the practical needs, the owner can change it, sell it, turn it down, or whatever. My critic goes against a revisionist tendency that transforms the past with the fleeting eyes of the present. Marina Park is what it is, and the owners should have taken care of it, transform the office space if needed… etc. But what I think people hate about this building is precisely its structural honesty. It is a building that is easy to read, without ambiguities. And structure is, today, obscene.
Regarding the long way from drawing to building, I don’t know: I have met this building in the flesh, not through drawings. But my experience is the opposite: our buildings look pretty much like our drawings. Paradoxically, it is lately, with the hyper realistic renderings, that reality (building) starts to diverge from drawing. Interesting discussion.
Where I see a building with distinctive character, you see a catastrophe, different sensibilities, but we do agree on the Skuespilhuset. And that is dangerous. If my fatal curse is real, as we speak someone somewhere is selling the commune a plan for the makeup of the Skuespilhuset. You know: too much brick, too dark, too boring, …let's spice it up, bring for instance some of the joyful, colorful Nyhavn into it.
Nathan Romero Muelas

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