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A pine-clad “wave” pocket marks the entrance to the quietly striking and rectilinear Lemvig Klimatorium in Denmark, inspired by port town Lemvig’s characteristic fishing boats, to celebrate the area’s cultural history and local building traditions. With a powerful aim to foster conversations and raise awareness about environmental issues, the recently completed international climate centre is designed by 3XN, in collaboration with SLA and Orbicon. “The new Klimatorium is already an iconic structure in Lemvig,” they claim.
Commissioned by Lemvig’s City Council and Lemvig Utility, the Klimatorium is a forum for knowledge, education, innovation and development projects within utility services and climate change. “The new building is going to support Denmark’s role as an exporter of climate solutions and help establish Lemvig and the Central Denmark Region as a centre of climate change adaptation,” shares the Danish architectural firm.
“We have aimed to create a building that tells the story about climate. The building has a rectilinear, stringent expression but forms a wave shape that lends it a distinct and easily decoded identity. The wave tells the story of the site and refers to the serious challenges we face as a result of climate change,” shares Jan Ammundsen, Senior Partner, Head of Design, 3XN.
The two-story building has a relatively simple architecture, informed by a materiality of warm timber, glass, steel and concrete. Referencing the nearby boat halls, the selection of materials presents a raw, rustic expression that resonates with the modern, sleek aesthetic of the centre. 3XN shares that it was crucial for them to follow the Danish and local way of building unpretentious forms while respecting the earth, and so the Klimatorium was built keeping function at the forefront, with functional materials and planning.
Housing the office spaces, the wood-clad upper floor appears to float in the air because of the ground floor’s full glass façade which hosts a reception area, café, and a space for temporary exhibitions. The glass establishes a two-way dialogue where visitors get a glimpse into the climate centre as its users get unhindered views of the surrounding water and landscape. The minimal interior design is pragmatic and sparse, sitting in warm contrast to its skin covered in black-stained wooden slats as the pine continues to venture inside.
“We did not want it to be an all-glass building. Practically, we do not want it to overheat, but the other reason for using wood is that we wanted the building to have a certain mass and robustness,” says Ammundsen.
Klimatorium seeks to become a place where both locals and tourists converge to view exhibitions, learn about climate change issues, or enjoy a cup of coffee in the café. The scenic surrounding vegetation are local ones that thrive in the coastal environment and require minimum care. The building has public facilities and recreational outdoor spaces including the wedge in the façade that faces a skate park, becoming places of relaxation and discourse, to experience the natural setting enveloping the structure. It also offers itself as an innovative and creative hub that brings together citizens and authorities to research, debate and learn more about climate change, coastal ecologies, green energy and circular economies.
“The landscape is structured along meteorological isobar lines representing prevailing wind conditions in Lemvig – which sometimes lead to flooding. The motif interacts with the soft lines of the skater park and forms an intuitive route through the landscape. The climate wedge is designed to create pleasant, sheltered spaces for recreational use,” explains the design team.
Intended to become a sheltered spot for the building’s users and onlookers alike, the wave is clad in local pine and receives sunlight on its smoothly contoured shape, transitioning into stepped seating at its base. “We are hoping to create a small possibility for them to sit, enjoy the moment, and speak to each other. It is a way for the building to give a little bit back to the town,” adds Ammundsen.
The wave continues inside the structure and is kept exposed to resemble a ship’s hull, echoing Lemvig’s shipyards. A wide staircase in fair wood complement the slatted ceiling panels inside. Due to the high cost of clothing, the entire building in wood and a need to stick to as many sustainable design standards, the architects decided to employ other materials as well and decided to build with a concrete core, which is easy to procure, treat and maintain in the long run. This also reduced usage of water, along with minimising the amount of aluminium and steel, whose production is a major factor in carbon emissions. “It is a way to push for a sustainable solution within a building that is all about climate change,” says Ammundsen.
Name: Lemvig Klimatorium
Location: Lemvig, Denmark
Client: Lemvig’s City Council and Lemvig Utility
Area: 1,600 sqm
Year of completion: 2021
Collaborators: SLA, Orbicon
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