Copenhagen-based architecture studio SquareOne puts lack of student housing on the spot with their proposal for 48 housing units and a public spa utilizing an abandoned water tower structure in Taarnby, Denmark. The local water tower is talk of the town in Taarnby, Denmark. The local community share their dreams of what to become of it – and especially its top – in the press and on social media: Will it be host to a restaurant, a café or even a climbing club?
Due to its central location close to the University of Copenhagen, the Ørestad Business Hub and Copenhagen Airport the abandoned structure allows speculation and offers a great potential. Copenhagen-based architecture studio SquareOne now reveals their vision for the future Taarnby Water Tower – and many more water towers alike – by introducing a public spa to the top floor of the water tower bringing reminiscence of its original purpose. But focusing on the tower’s top only is not enough for the project’s financial viability.
In order to achieve a financially viable transformation strategy, the tower’s future must be linked with the solving of a specific problem. Copenhagen is facing pressing housing needs due to a constant increase in urban population: the metropolitan area is estimated to add 10,000 people a year for many years to come. This, of course, also applies to student housing. Currently, there are 9760 student apartments for 106.000 students in Copenhagen at a disappointing 11 students/apartment ratio (source: statistikbanken.dk, 2017). How about utilizing the leftover water tower structure as a base for providing more student housing?
Side-by-side housing and community creation
On the other hand, a landmark of this size does not deserve to be treated solely as a “solution to a problem” but must at all costs maintain its iconic character, which is inextricably linked to its past function, in this case, water. The SquareOne-proposal therefor offers a dual strategy where the body of the tower is populated by comfortable 30 m2 living units, whereas the top resumes the function of a water reservoir by appropriately transforming the existing water tank into a public spa.
The structure’s perfectly symmetric concrete skeleton with its internal bracing beams permits to suspend the living units directly from the building to a total of 44-48 units of 30 m2. By strategically omitting the units we create a limited number of double-height common areas with a shared kitchen and dining room, tv room, meeting room, pocket garden etc.
The ground floor fashions a common seating area as well as bicycle parking. In this way, the fascinating cathedral-like internal space of the tower reveals itself to all users. At the top, the water tank is transformed into a two-story spa. Here, the swimming tank and changing rooms occupies the lower floor, while the top floor becomes a fascinating spa area with a 360-degree view to the city and the airport. Source by SquareOne.
- Location: Taarnby, Copenhagen Area, Denmark
- Architect: SquareOne
- GFA: 3300 m2
- Status: Sketch proposal, 2018
- Images: Courtesy of SquareOne