Holstebro, Denmark: If it is outstanding, celebrate it twice
The city of Holstebro has celebrated the completion of the public realm project around the Storaa stream and new cultural facilities, designed by OKRA and Schul Landskabarkitekter, in collaboration with Åsa Frankenberg from Berlin, Germany for the lighting design. The project is funded by the City of Holstebro and Realdania, a Danish foundation who contributes to public cultural projects.
The project makes a major difference in the city and a connection between the two parts of the centre. The north part and the south part of the centre of Holstebro will be linked by a new focal point. The public spaces around the cultural buildings, like cinema and dance theatre, provide new élan to the city by transforming them into an outdoor stage. The project is the catalyst of changing the riverside from a backside with functional connections into a ‘place to be’. Previously, the riverside was neglected and the city had turned its back towards the water.
Even just after the opening one can notice that the riverside is already that attractive that the quality of public space will be a catalyst for further development. On the north side of the project new developments in the next years will create frontages towards the riverside, where it is now just the backside of commercial activities and parking places. In the further future we can envision that more private owners want to turn their faces towards the river scenery. It can be envisioned that some extension of the buildings combined with underground parking supplies in a future second phase, where parks, playgrounds and small planted squares will form an extension of the beautiful riverside area.
The relatively deep position of the river is transformed to a public theatre by making sculptural space. A continuous space is created by ‘foldings’, sometimes the fold is a path, sometimes-small spots and sometimes a place to sit. Thus a space is arisen, where the user component becomes of the set. Logical routes for pedestrians and bicycles are provided in an informal way by making smooth inclines. Sitting places are provided just to watch the water floating and are inviting people to stay. On other days small or larger events can take place. On the south bank a stage area is created with steps to sit on.
The bridge takes a central position, tying the folded urban realm of both riverbanks together. The bridge is created in a place where people can pass or citizens can stay and watch the scenery.
Dynamic theatre square
The former parking space in the south of the theatre is transformed into a public realm that expresses the activities in the buildings. To adjust to the cultural impact of this area the square on the south side of the cultural building is regarded as an outdoor theatre. The space has become a hybrid between park and square, where green and stone go together. The dynamics of the space are reinforced elements, which can change. A large water element ensures a changing focus in the space. The film of water on a paved area is sometimes a fountain or a place for children to play with, sometimes just an object to watch from the adjacent stairs. The long stairs, where people can sit on and watch the scenery, are combined with a vast dike, planted with trees on a lawn. While being a bit little higher than the rest, it borders the area and cars outside the area are not visible.
Special attention is given to the light plan, designed by Åsa Frankenberg. The light along the riverside is more than just direct artificial light. It contributes in positive sense to the picture of the area, when it presents a theatre-like impact during the evening hours. Especially in the early hours of the evening during winters, the artificial light has substantial meaning. The artificial light reinforces the urban use of public realm and creates a scenery based on a program of additional dynamic light, which plays with the visitor. Activities from the theatre building can expand to the riverside and use the bridge as a stage.
+ Project credits / data
Project: Holstebro Storaa Stream
Landscape architect: OKRA Landscape Architects | http://www.okra.nl/
Area: 2,3 hectare
Program: Dancing theater, square and walking promenade along the Storaa.
Budget: € 5,0 milj. (excl. VAT)
Realization: Designing competition 2006, 1st price
Realization: 2007 – 2009
Location: Holstebro, Denmark
+ About OKRA Landscape Architects
Our office work concerns designing open spaces, both private and public spaces. Our strength lies in the ability of making abstract conceptual plans to very concrete detailed implementation-designs.
Often we have a design-studio way of working, whereby different designers, sometimes from outside the office, join their creativity to make a good design for a high-quality open space. Because of our different backgrounds and expertise, we can cover the whole range of concept plans till specifications- and detailed drawings. This way of working and our experience make it possible to make special and realistic designs.
Most of our projects are complex projects in public space. Therefore in most of the projects we cooperate with other participants and consultants. Our office can work flexible and is capable of providing various demands of efforts. We work on the projects because we like to design good functional and beautiful spaces. Thus we are willing to increase the efforts and the amount of people working on projects if a project needs it.
In our office we the design-team is organised so that the project manager mainly controls the project. The project responsible architect has regular contact with the project manager and the other designers at OKRA, through all the possible communication modes (phone, fax and e-mail).
In our documentation you will find several projects that are situated outside Holland. In these projects and working surroundings where are used to work in multinational teams. Even our own office is such a team with employees from Demark, Great Britain and Germany.
For projects we put together a project team suitable for the specific project. Within OKRA we have a broad expertise in Landscape Architecture, Urban Planning, Architectural Design and Civil and Green Engineering. The following people are available to participate in the project team, and have worked on varied assignments in the past.
Ir. Christ-Jan van Rooij (1963), landscape architect and partner
Christ-jan van Rooij is one of the four founders of OKRA. His strength lies in managing the design-process combined with realization of large inner city projects. Projects under construction at this moment are the station surroundings of Enschede and the city-center of Zutphen including shopping area and a central square. He is interested in the more conceptual side of landscape architecture, which resulted in an entry for the design contest in Hannover in 1996. Before OKRA he worked as a landscape architect for the city of Apeldoorn and the Stichting Cultureel Erfgoed (Foundation for Cultural Inheritance) in Utrecht.
Ir. Martin Knuijt bnt (1966), landscape architect and partner
After the formation of the office, Martin Knuijt’s contribution in the design team has been primarily in the bigger urban developing projects. Projects he has been working on are: the IJssel quay of Doesburg, the station-surroundings in Enschede and the master plan for the TU (Technical University) Eindhoven. He has taken part in the design studio for the southern waterfront of the river IJ (inner city-plan Amsterdam) with designers from Bureau Alle Hosper. Recently he has produced spatial use and mobility studies for Rijksplanologische Dienst (Dutch National Planning Department). Before OKRA he worked for several years as designer in a team of Urban Planners and Landscape Architects with the municipality of Rotterdam, district Rotterdam-centre. Here he made a master plan for the open spaces in the inner city, and several designs for squares and shopping areas. He is author of several publications, including the book ‘Modern Park design, recent trends’, together with Hans Ophuis and Peter van Saane.
Ir. Boudewijn Almekinders bnt (1966), landscape architect and partner
Since the formation of the office Boudewijn Almekinders has worked on a wide range of urban design projects and has coordinated the implementation and graphic presentation of most projects. He is also responsible for internal organization of the office. He worked as a designer for the Floriade 1992, where he supervised foreign exhibitors and artists in making gardens and objects for the open spaces on the Floriade. In this exhibition the link between design and completion was very strong.
Ing. Wim Voogt (1977), landscape designer
Wim Voogt specializes in the visualization of ideas at all stages of the design process from detailing of designs to the implementation of projects. Projects he has worked on include; the designs for the communal gardens of Ypenburg-9 (a VINEX-location, new housing area), the IJssel quay of Doesburg, and the van Heek-square in Enschede.