Pulsen, Community Centre of the Future, Denmark – SEA and Elkiær + Ebbeskov
Our understanding of what urban living is continues to evolve as more and more people more to the cities. The influx of many people, the creation of new environments, new dynamics and the need to develop ways for all these people to live in harmony is creating many opportunities for architects to respond in new ways.
Over in Denmark, they have taken the time to address this problem in reverse – with all these people moving to cities, how can me continue to make small village living appealing, and how can we provide the right kind of village for the 21st century? The key focus of the project is the development of dynamic architecture – buildings that can respond to the needs of the local people as and when these might change.
The Community Centre in Balling is the result of a seven year long process driven by the local citizens’ vision for a dynamic hub that facilitates the needs of a changing community. Pulsen is located in close relation to Balling village, the local school, sports area and the surrounding landscape. The multifunctional centre will be connected to these local resources in a series of new outdoor spaces, activities and a new running track integrated in the landscape.
This winning entry from SEA and Elkiær + Ebbeskov was highly praised for its ability to create a space with both a focus on high sociability and a strong respect for the environment:
“This shows a completely new and exciting approach to the principle of a multifunctional centre. The winning project breaks away from the single building idea and instead points towards a collection of buildings under the same roof with streets in between them, which will act as both activity and meeting places. Some solid decisions have been taken in the area of sustainability and they have been well integrated into the architecture. The final proposal could act as a pioneering project for other municipalities considering combining sport, culture and health facilities with sustainability in mind”, Torben Frølich, Director of The Danish Foundation for Culture and Sports Facilities.
The new Community Centre, Pulsen, is a project with a high sustainability profile. On an environmental level, sustainability is an integrated element throughout the building, with particular focus on low energy consumption and sustainable materials. Wood is a recurrent material and is used in construction and on the façades. The lightweight roof is constructed in transparent ETFE, allowing an abundance of daylight to stream onto the inner streets and squares.
The large outdoor pool is created in the spirit of Iceland’s blue lagoon. Just as in Iceland, the warm water comes from the underground, even though it is a little less dramatic in this case. The local heating plant is planning to be one of the few plants in Denmark to employ geothermic heating methods by using underground water. Once the water has been used for heating, it will be used in the spa baths in the wellness house and in the outdoor pool. This means that you can swim in warm water, out in the open in a 100% natural and sustainable way.
“We have created a building which is environmentally sustainable and with emphasis on low energy consumption and environmentally friendly materials. In addition it has also been important to create a socially sustainable project which encompasses new activities and a shared feeling within the local community – a house for everyone,” Karsten Gori, Partner in SEA.