Opinions | Written by: Mie Leonora Heiberg | Monday, April 16, 2018



Longread | Written by: Kasper Herschend | Tuesday, April 3, 2018


New buildings for a better city? Grading 18 new buildings

New buildings for a better city? Grading 18 new buildings
Debate | Written by: This Is Odense | Translated by: Francois Picard | Wednesday, March 7, 2018

New buildings are popping up in Odense. And that’s (probably) good. Or is it? People either perceive new constructions as modern-day boxes in concrete, or acclaim them as examples of a booming city, smoothly progressing towards the “big city” dream.

But that’s maybe oversimplifying it too much. The city’s construction landscape is the story of Odense as a city for ourselves and everyone who visits the city. This is the connection between our past and our future. It is ruling how and how much we evolve in it – a simple walk can fill our heads whether with happiness or visions of disaster. It is even ruling how much we talk with our neighbors and how we are together. It is ruling how we live.

First, we’re shaping the city and then it’s shaping us.

Therefore, the city’s construction landscape is actually too important for us to leave it to those who are shaping it. Especially now that it is built so fast that the city we love may be gone before we know it. For better or for worse? There is a high risk that the latter happens, if we don’t talk together about it. Because, that’s what it is about, isn’t it? To evaluate if each single building makes the city better or not.

In this article, This Is Odense is giving grades to 18 new buildings, which are built, almost built or which plans are freshly drawn, and is coming up with some suggestions to improve them. We are not experts, but we believe everyone should be part of the discussions about how to create a good city. So, please read and give your opinion.

1. DIDERIKSEN'S CORNER - SANDAL EJENDOMME/PROJEKTAS HERNING/NJ GRUPPEN

Significant changes are happening on Vesterbro. Goodbye to the anarchic atmosphere with small townhouses mixed with high construction blocks, goodbye to the obscure and fun shops, which have lived a preserved low-rent existence. Hello to closeness city. The first step is Sandal properties’ corner building on Vesterbro and Vindegade, which has replaced Dideriksen’s corner.

Pros: This new corner extends the old apartment block, so the section is now high and close and urban, and the building has a scale that fits its surroundings.

Cons: Attempts have been made to make color variations at the facade level, without great success. Balconies - yes, but of low quality, not adapted to the property. The tinted windows until Fakta, a boring staircase tower and a morn facade along Vesterbro create an uninspiring encounter with the street. Finally, the abandonment of the courtyard to these stone desert and parking area is frustrating. Couldn’t it be possible to find just a little room for living space, trees and other green areas?

Overall grade: 2 arrows.

2. SANKT GERTRUDS ALLEY+STORE GRÅBRØDRE ALLEY - KARSTEN BILL/AI

For a long time, this little dark spot in the middle of the city was dedicated to parking on Sankt Gertruds alley and to a small ramshackle building including a second-hand shop on Store Gråbrødre alley. Now the hole is filled out, potentially creating a living area with shops and outdoor seating spots, from Gråbrødre place and down to Store Gråbrødre alley, where the famous beer bar Mikkeler should soon open as well. The building is not finished and there seems to be some significant differences between the initial design from AI and the construction that is on its way, so it is not possible to give a final grade.

Pros: a dead backside can be converted into a living street, now that the hole is filled out, especially if there are shops or restaurants at the street level. It helps a lot as well that the characteristic tree in the Store Gråbrødre alley has still been allowed to stand. The facade’s stones create color alternations, giving a global impression of variation. With a reasonably successful adaptation to the neighboring buildings and a great urban life perspective, this construction is a good example for the many other holes in the city to follow.

Cons: The facade is not completely aligned with the red-brick surroundings. If, instead of shops and restaurants, there are some flats at the street level, this neighborhood will not become advantageous and the surrounding streets will not live up the same way.

Overall grade: (provisionally) 4 arrows. If housing is built instead of shops and restaurants, 2 arrows.

3. VESTERPORT, VESTRE STATIONSVEJ/RUGÅRDSVEJ - REITAN/FAB

Once, the railroad and the southeastern part of Østre and Vestre Stationsvej constituted one of the city’s borders. On the other side of the road, there were railway buildings and railways. Once the railroad was redirected, a new city border was never built. But it's really on its way now, as new buildings will pop up all the way along the street, and as the tramway will make the street more interesting for pedestrians and inhabitants. Therefore, it is important that it is done properly.

Vestre Port has lived a tremendous life - from the 90's-prestige cinema, then its demolition and to finally a new project of housing, including a Rema 1000, a Lakagehuset, some coffees and restaurants and a fitness center. As the construction is not yet completed, it is not possible to assess the final result.

Pros: Activity in the area with shopping opportunities, coffee life and housing. Parking in the already existing car park.

Cons: Until now, the construction disappoints a bit. There is almost no variation in the facade, and the colors reminds a bit the ones from the Dideriksen’s corner, in other words brown, brown and brown. The corner, which was, at the time of the demolished cinema, maybe not pretty but definitely eccentric, now appears to be boring with this very soft brown curve. But maybe this complex can still be saved with a last-minute wish of a rooftop jungle with trees that can be seen, when driving on Østre Stationsvej.

Overall grade: (provisionally) 3 arrows. A jungle on the roof of the building would allow to reach the double!

 

4. KARRÉ 1, ETAPE 2, ØSTRE STATIONSVEJ - OPUS/5E BYG/C.F. MØLLER

Where there was before a train wash plant lie now 3 blocks with a pretty successful attempt to be coherent with the rest of the street’s towers, divided into massive high-rise buildings and now located at the corner, facing Kongens Have. Karré 2 is a funny V-shaped building, made of bright and yellow bricks with some variations. The building is well advanced but not yet finished, so it is not possible to assess the final result.

Pros: Here can be seen more original facades – material variation with the bright and yellow bricks and at the balconies’ level, that, to some extent, create a coherent set with the street. There is a clear attempt to make this corner facing Kongens Have stand out. Here is a building that has a little something. Fortunately, the street and road demarcations have been adapted to the environment and create then a clear urban coherence across Stationsvej. And the underground parking is nice.

Cons: Where are the living areas at ground level? There is nobody, not only on the street but as well facing Byens Bro, where it would have been perfect to have a restaurant, the street being less busy thanks to the upcoming tramway. The place is there, the pedestrians are there. If there is no restaurant, may the place be reserved to food trucks? In addition to that, there are as not too many similar features that can be seen on the towers on the opposite side of Østre Stationsvej, and there is no connection to the rest of the area's red bricks. Finally, was it really necessary to add this metal cladding on the penthouse?

Overall grade: (provisionally) 4 arrows.

5. HF/VUC FYN - HF/VUC FYN/SKJØDE KNUDSEN/CEBRA

HF & VUC Fyn finally ended up in City Campus at the end of the Byens Bro, during a huge moving- and patience-game and a new building finally emerged from that. The area around the building is still almost comically unfinished - awaiting the outcome of the recent trial between Odense Municipality and the company that owns a piece of land between the Byens Bro and VUC. Here is a building that creates mixed impressions. Some are happy with the led-lights that makes an evening walk at the harbor more lively and serve as a demarcation when cycling over the Byens Bro, while others are horrified by the facade cladding, which looks like some metal grills that hide electrical wires in a newer soulless industrial building.

Pros: Attempt to create a building, still living during evenings thanks to the led-lights. Noticeable style. But the building’s interior is actually more exciting – look inside!

Cons: The facade cladding is relatively uninteresting during daytime. The building does not create much connection with the surroundings (however, it can be assumed that it has so far been limited to what it was about). The surrounding outside areas are nonexistent – where are the trees, the green areas and the nice living spaces for the students?

Overall grade: 3 arrows.

6. TOLDBODGADE/GAMMELSØ - ?

When you arrive at the harbor from Åløkkvarteret, you will meet this construction composed of white concrete modules, which is finished and ready for renting, but which should has never been built.

Pros: None.

Cons: The most scratched shape of apartment construction with unworked facades and cheap balconies. The concrete modules look like stacked concrete containers, but without the container's industrial charm. Additionally, the building hides the water and the close harbor. It is hard to see how the surrounding areas will ever become nice places to stay and rest.

Overall grade: 1 arrow (very close to 0).

7. PROMENADEBYEN - BUILDINGS 4 AND 5

The initial plan was to build 8 buildings along the northern promenade, each of them having their own architectural style. The first 3 buildings were built before and during the financial crisis, and then it was over. The last buildings found indirectly a new owner and were given a totally different style and a significantly more scratched architecture, dedicated to parents who want to buy a flat for their children.

Pros: Each construction contributes in its own way in creating activity on the harbor.

Cons: Unlike the first 3 buildings, the buildings 4 and 5 represent a much cheaper version with balcony accesses, and here can be noticed the negative differences when building monotonous facades with using monotonous materials. Here as well, white concrete modules are dominant, and the wind conditions around them are probably not the world's most attractive.

Overall grade: 2 arrows.

8. Psychatric Hospital, TOLDBODGADE - REGION SYDDANMARK

At the corner of Toldbodgade and Findlandsgade lies the new psychiatric hospital, visible from all who evolves on Lerchesgade, from the Byens Bro and Storms Pakhus towards the harbor. The project consists again in building white concrete modules and gives the impression that it has been designed independently of the surrounding area, and that its location on the harbor has been chosen randomly. It is frustrating – and above ironical, when it becomes gradually clear, how the surrounding landscape and the human psyche are connected.

Pros: Each construction contributes in its own way in creating activity on the harbor, and there are occasional attempts to incorporate organic elements, using light wood at the entrances (but you can’t polish a turd).

Cons: The building seems very scratched and looks like a white box without any particular facade. The overall impression is getting worse from the large parking area facing Tolbodgade, which could have been placed underground or in a p-house. When hiding like that the view over the water and the harbor, one cannot be acknowledged to have such unattractive outdoor areas – and the green area in front of the building surely becomes a muddy passage for people who like shortcuts.

Overall grade: 1 arrow.

9. NORDATLANTISK HUS - NORDATLANTISK HUS/KRISTIANSDAL/CORNELIUS+VÖGE/ISAGER ARKITEKTER OG MASU PLANNING

Nordatlantisk Hus – a North Atlantic culture house, a Greenlandic house, several North Atlantic associations, student housing, a shop, a restaurant, guiding services to North Atlantic students, several conference and meeting facilities. Excellent constructions can perform many roles, and the Nordatlantisk Hus is an excellent construction. A building that clearly shows what is possible with skilled architects and a desire to give it all. A model for the further development of the Byens Ø wrote the Academic Architecture Association - for the time being, unfortunately, it is far from being the case.

Pros: Several functions mixed together creates activity. Exciting, well-thought and innovative architecture fitting well within Byens Ø. Beautiful facades with great dynamics and use of different materials, especially wood. The opened front facade allows the building to communicate well with its surroundings. Nice sheltered terrace under the afternoon sun.

Cons: None.

Overall grade: 6 arrows.

10. STUDENT HOUSING, BYENS Ø - KPC/KRISTIANSDAL

In a harbor where you fear that it is trendier to tear down than to re-use solid harbor industry constructions, which can tell stories about the past of Odense, here is a rare exception. Even though it is not really visible, Kristiansdal’s student housing is actually a converted old building. The local planning wanted a maritime expression with the preservation of bricks and concrete. Unfortunately, it is so unsuccessful that it would have been better to start over.

Pros: Student housing on the harbor contributes to more activity. 

Cons: No variation in the facade, anonymous and boring bricks, killing repetition and unsuccessful attempt to reuse a former warehouse.

Overall grade: 2 arrows.

11. STENFISKERKAJEN - CIVICA/KPC/C.F. MØLLER

Civica’s student housing quality is difficult to evaluate. It is easy to see that the construction is cheap, and that it falls into the category “white concrete”, highly represented in the harbor of Odense. But especially 2 of these buildings, which are facing the outdoor swimming pool of the harbor, are surprisingly dynamic – partly because of these metallic eaves and partly because of this impression of gradual descent into the outdoor swimming pool, giving thus some afternoon light to the summer swimmers. The last building, the closest one on the picture above, looks like however more an airport hotel than a harbor construction.

Pros: Student housing on the harbor creates activity. The shades on the facades and the staircase form facing the outdoor swimming pool draw the attention. From the right angles, the building is greatly coherent with PromenadeByen.

Cons: Staircase or not – it does not save the overall impression of a monstrous white construction. The violent scale of the buildings is not adapted to either a promenade on Stenfiskerkajen, or to the outdoor swimming pool’s reinterpretations of classic harbor pavilions. The elevated parking spots make activity around the buildings even more awkward, and the lack of space outside them does not invite to stay there more than to find the keys in the pocket.

Overall grade: 3 arrows.

12. KLOSTERBAKKEN - ARKITEKTGRUPPEN/C.F. MØLLER

“The best foundation in the city”, as this construction on an island on Odense Å, which was once the Munke Mølle’s cloth factory, was promoted. Unfortunately, the execution does not live up to the expectations and the place potential. The architectural style is inspired by monastery constructions and consists of a series of red-brick houses. C. Th. Sørensen's fine yellow walls still separates the building from Eventyrhaven. The construction’s scale and shape work well with the other red-brick constructions on Klosterbakken and gives some nice viewpoints from certain angles. But the execution and the materials are far from good enough and it dramatically decreases the quality of the construction.

Pros: Well-thought construction with a coherent shape with both Eventyrhaven and the neighboring buildings.

Cons: The red brick used in the building is too monotone, giving an overall impression of a really massive construction, especially from the South. The balconies and metal cladding of the walls look like over-polished alien elements from outer space. The masonry is poorly executed in several places and has been already fixed because of moisture-related damages, a few months after the construction. Even the letters chosen to name the construction look terrible. And then, there is this electrical substation facing the river, which has been half hidden. Additionally, the complete absence of green, in other words trees and plants, on the balconies and on the roof terraces is remarkably bad. Nevertheless, it can still be saved.

Overall grade: 3 arrows.

13. CITIZEN's HUS - ODENSE KOMMUNE/AI

This is a renovation, that creates mixed feelings. The goal was to draw attention, and it obviously succeeded, with this golden facade, shining under the afternoon sun. For some, this construction is another nail in the coffin for a desperate provincial town with minority complexes. For others, this is a facade that wants something, and a building that has a bit freed the focus on what others think. The fact that it has become the Citizen’s house, as it was planned from the beginning, and the fact that the golden facade, when it is clean, looks good, do not prevent us to have some reservations. We shall see!

Pros: Significant and brave attempt to change the train station complex’s horrible facade. Attempt to gather several functions under the same roof (library, Center for Civil Society, Citizen’s Service and Volunteer Center of Odense). No attempt to anonymity.

Cons: The building execution doesn’t live up to the initial visual designs – for example, the balconies have disappeared along the way. Gold side by side with a pale hotel nuance of yellow, mixed with a 90s nuance of dark yellow, is not a win-win combination.

Overall grade: 3 arrows.

14. HOTEL ODEON - ODENSE SPORT & EVENT/KPC/ARKITEMA

Gorgeous and Nordic. Exclusive quality. Luxury and down to earth. High-end without being snobbish. The upcoming Hotel Odeon, from OS&E itself, is always more praised. However, until now, this construction on Thomas B. Thriges Gade still looks desperately ordinary and anonymous, and does not live up to its initial design. The building is not yet finished, so it is not possible to assess the final result.

Pros: 234 hotel rooms in the city center is one of the best ways to create more urban life and activity. Active area at street level facing the upcoming tramway, which must drive right past here. And the urban area on TBT-Gade is the highest class.

Cons: A boring red brick, with no variation nor nuance, has been chosen, as well as even more boring and uninspiring window frames in a massive block. And here’s one of the really great unexploited possibilities for green facades.

Overall grade: (provisionally) 2 arrows.

15. CARL NIELSEN NEIGHBORHOOD - 5E BYG/ÅRSTIDERNE ARKITEKTER

The housing construction from 5E was potentially the one with the less exciting design, that the different buildings on the northern part of Thomas B. Thriges Gade could present. But the execution is such that it has actually become one of the best. And, even if it is not a master-class construction, it is obvious to see anyway, that it has been finely worked. From the light-yellow brick with good variations, to the fine dynamism of the facade, as shown on the picture above.

Pros: Beautiful variation, both with the brick and the levels in the facade. A discrete and meaningful re-interpretation of both the materials, the colors and the round gable of the neighboring Fyns Grafiske Værksted. The shops at ground level create activity, and the form of the construction links nicely the Hans Jensens alley with TBT-Gade. Hopefully, there will be added some greenery in the plant boxes lying along the facade.

Cons: The window part could be more exciting. In some places, the masonry at the wall level appears to be too quickly executed, with defects and moisture damages.

Overall grade: 4,5 arrows.

16. HOUSE OF FAIRYTALES - ODENSE KOMMUNE/KENGO KUMA/CORNELIUS+VÖGE/MASU PLANNING

Ok, let’s admit it. There’s a long way to go before this construction is finished. And we are only talking about it to show that it is possible to build with ingenuity, variety, quality and good interpretation of Odense’s DNA (and, let’s add it, without profit-maximization wishes). The new H.C. Andersen’s house, designed by one of the best architects – Kengo Kuma – becomes a construction icon, without unnecessary flash. The most international construction in the city, and maybe at the same time the construction, which best manages to interpret Odense’s quality: beautiful, green and unpretentious.

Here’s a construction that binds together the past and the future in both function and shape. Here are stories from the most famous author of the city conveyed by one of the most modern story concepts from Northern Irish Event Communications. And thus, a future building with soft forms is created through a reinterpretation of the area's timber framing. And then, most of the museum is built underground, for 2 reasons: to make room to re-create the Lotzes garden, over the former TBT-Gade, with greenery all the way down to the upcoming parking basement access; and to avoid creating radical differences in height with the H.C. Andersen’s neighborhood.

If the project is realized according to the initial design, the construction will become one of the finest in town.

Pros: A mixed of materials and use of wood. Beautiful re-interpretation of the area’s timber framing. Extension of the area’s height and Odense’s unpretentious and green DNA. Re-creation of the Lotzes garden as public park. Coffee near the tramway. Green access from the parking basement… (we could go on).

Cons: None.

Overall grade: (provisionally) 6 arrows.

17. BYFÆLLESSKABET - JANUS LYLLOFF/PRAKSIS ARKITEKTER

The building on the right of the picture is part of a modern shared accommodation that the high school teacher Janus won the right to build (beating various building behemoths), right in the city’s center, to him and his fellow roommates. The project is designed by award-winning Praksis Arkitekter from Svenborg and serves as a transition from TBT-Gade’s high brick buildings to the H.C. Andersen’s neighborhood’s low houses with shiny facades.

The building has a fine and modern shape, but it requires a lot relatively to the final execution, and here for example the window frames look a bit shabby, and the balconies facing Rosenhave may give the building a monotonous touch, if they don’t add greenery.

The construction is not finished. Greenery should be added, and the bike path, from where this picture is taken, should be finished, as well as a new Rosenhave on the other side. So, it is not possible to assess the final result.

Pros: Fine dialogue between the big constructions on TBT-Gade and the polished town houses in the HCA neighborhood. Exciting minimalist-modernistic shape. Really great to have shared accommodations in the city’s center. And really nice as well with this public park behind.

Cons: The window frames and the balconies may give a sloppy impression. Greenery on the balconies and trees on the roof terraces can make the difference.

Overall grade: (provisionally) 4 arrows.

18. DANSK BANK - DANSKE BANK/KPC/ARKITEMA

When it has incomprehensibly been decided that the Industripalæ had to make way for the 80ies progression, the compromise was that the public access to a huge indoor garden should be ensured in the new financial institution. Unfortunately, Danske Bank never wanted people to wander nearby them, and so few knew that there was a garden in there.

Now the garden has fallen and the red-brick building is being replaced by a black building, where all Danske Bank's local activities are gathered and which, according to the bank itself, must represent “openness” and “gratitude”. And, moreover, the architecture is almost a true copy of the bank's two new buildings in Kolding and Århus. New Normal. One might think the irony was over, but although very bad, it could actually have been worse. The building present a certain variation and Eventyrhaven will invite the passers-by a little, even if you do not feel that it is actually the intention to go inside.

Pros: The facade is simple but reasonably varied and the active living areas facing Eventyrhaven are good.

Cons: There is no dialogue with the area’s red-brick buildings and not so much “openness” with respect to the public access suppression to the garden inside the building.

Overall grade: (provisionally) 3 arrows.

 

What could be better?

As the grades demonstrate it, there are both good and bad construction in Odense. But our overall conclusion is that it is not good enough, and it could be so much better – especially on the Odense’s harbor, about which the harbor’s director, Carsten Aa himself, admitted that the sales of most of the constructions have actually been driven by how quick money should be earned. And even if we know that many things come into play, when deciding about the quality of a building, we would like to give anyway some examples of how it could be if builders, architects and the municipality pulled it together.

We think Odense's opportunity is to find its own way and to avoid committing the mistakes that have been made in Ørestaden and on the port of Aarhus. But if we do not build staying inspired by the city's soul, Odense will never become special.

 

Misunderstood debate about concrete

Recently, there has been a debate in Fyens Stiftstidende about whether "concrete" is a nice or ugly material. But is it the right question to ask? Whether concrete is good depends on how it is used and where it is built. Let's compare some examples. One from the Odense harbor and a Japanese and an English examples. The first boring and unambitious, the others with each their interesting expressions and with variation in the facade:

 

More variations in the materials

In the 18 previously-presented examples, we shout again and again for variation. A construction in Odense (Denmark) is in 95 out of 100 cases built according to the same formula: a concrete wall and eventually a cladding with bricks and without any façade detail work. But it does not have to be. All over the world, we are using for instance more and more wood, which is more sustainable, organic and beautiful. There is a whole word of materials to use, and variations create life and quality.

Mieczysław Karłowicz Philharmonic Hall, Szczecin, Poland

 

Use of wood int a construction in Zaragoza, Spanien 

 

Variation in the facade, rather than extra profit in the pocket

Every ripple added to a cubic concrete box is in the short term a kroner less in earnings for an investor who buys and sells quickly and does not care about the city he is building in. And money is to be earned. Therefore, there is often not so much variation in the facades. But variation can be created in tons of ways - using the right materials, using bricks with nuances in, creating dynamism in the facades, etc.

Within a few years, robots may process all building materials in the desired shapes. And, nowadays, what is it, Odense is sharp working with? Well, yes, robots! And there are even local robotics companies that produce building materials! Maybe we have a solution? Here is an example of what robots can already do today:

Brick facade built by robots, Shanghai Arts center, China

 

Before then, we can definitely enjoy what can be done if you do your best and give the facade of a building some variations:

Library in Barcelona, Spain

 

Apartment building, Tehran, Iran

 

Could we forget dead housing areas and create life at ground level?

Can you imagine a big city, where the area, where there are tall buildings, consists in housing alone? No, right? When homes are mixed with workplaces, cultural functions, shops, restaurants and much more, so we create an exciting city, where there is life at all times. Especially at ground level, it is important to add interesting things to look at – it creates activity in the street and makes it more interesting to live in.

Therefore, it is important that all new constructions built nearby the city center are not only housing, even if housing may be the only way today to earn money the most.

 

Where is it green?

Today, there are tons of ways to use nature in the design of a new construction. Green facades, green roofs, green terraces and balconies, plant boxes, city gardens and parks, trees. But even if Odense is a green city, it is unfortunately very rare that green is used in new buildings. And when it happens, it is usually a thin green roof nobody can see. Not everything can grow in Denmark, but much can be done anyway.

Anything green, when added in the right way, can make a construction really brilliant, and then it can compensate for a poor architecture. There is a reason why the plant is called the architect’s comfort. Should green really always be what we are sparing?

One of the most famous green facade - Quai Branly Museum, Paris, France

 

Equally famous Bosco Verticale, Milano, Italy

 

Transforming rather than tearing down - and creating a city with history

Odense was for a long-time Denmark's second largest industrial city, and has left an enormous legacy from these times around the city center. Once the traditional industrial sites have disappeared, all these areas are transformed at full speed: Havnen, Østerbro, Vesterbro. Unfortunately, it often happens without reusing the edifices that have quality. In this way, you can remove an entire area's history in a very short time.

On the harbor, a part of history has already disappeared. A crane disappeared overnight, the concrete silos, which Aalborg Portland relocates, seems to disappear. And there have been rumors about the fact that the Odense harbor is eager to demolish the fantastic building environment on Siloøen. But maybe Siloøen is the last opportunity to make room for a creative environment on the harbor, which is otherwise at risk of becoming a virtually clean housing area. Here's how to reuse industrial buildings elsewhere in the world:

Re-use of silo construction, Zetz Museum of Contemporary Art, Cape Town, South Africa

 

From sugar mill to hotel, Guilin, China

 

A local architect education and competent architecture firms

The lack of quality in the construction industry can be partly explained by the fact that Odense, contrary to the 3 other big cities in Denmark, does not offer some education programs, that in some ways deal with architecture. It means, that there is no ground for debate and there are virtually no new, innovative architectural firms in the city. All the more reason for changing that.

Join the debate!

The last advice could be a call for everyone to join the debate. Over and over again, builders are allowed to qualify the most rubbish buildings as of the highest quality, without anyone contradicting them. Perhaps they think so as well themselves, so there is all the more reason for helping them on the way.

If the city’s construction landscape must become better, it requires that people from Odense speak their minds!

HOW DID WE DO IT:

- We have selected 18 constructions that represent both good and less good constructions in or nearby the city center. This is not representative for all new constructions in the city, but it gives a good overall picture. Should we miss something important, so please send us a picture or post it on our Facebook page and share your opinion and evaluation.
- We have graded the areas, which are publicly accessible or which can be seen from the street. The grades go from 1 (the worse possible) to 6 (the best possible).
- As it can be difficult to compare the designs and the unfinished constructions with the finished ones, provisional grades have been given to unfinished constructions. It is easy to cheat with visual designs, as they are embellished or because there may be some savings on the way.



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Hangover guide - January 1st edition

Hangover guide - January 1st edition
Longread | Written by: Anna Skau Tolstrup | Translated by: Laura Malahovska | Sunday, December 31, 2017

English translation coming soon.

Da kommunal-regionsvalget var overstået, tænkte vi nok alle sammen, at det sværeste valg i lange tider var truffet. Men sådan er det ikke. Som altid starter vi et nyt år ud med at skulle træffe den kritiske beslutning om, hvad årets første måltid skal være. Og det måltid skal helst kurere de dårlige minder fra aftenen før, som man som oftest ikke engang kan huske, når man modvilligt slår øjnene op et ukendt sted med dårlig smag i munden og diverse konfetti- og kransekagestykker i parykken.

Vi ved alle sammen, at de fleste leveringssteder først åbner omkring klokken 16, og eftersom mange af os åbner vores livløse øjne et par timer før, så er det væsentligt med en guide. En guide, der kan understøtte de slingrende, stålsatte, blåmærkede undskyldninger af stylter, der skal føre dig mere eller mindre sikkert til et madsted, der er det værd. En guide, der tager højde for, om du har købt en hest i din brandert (true story) og derfor ikke har mere end 20 kroner. En guide, der arbejder i friturens tegn, men også har forståelse for halloumiostens vidunder. Godt nytår, og without further ado:

PS: Jeg holder nytår på Østergade, og skal på en magisk måde bevæge mig hjem til Søndergade dagen efter. Derfor er guiden rettet i mod bymidten. Hvis byens bedste burger og/eller butterchicken no. 1 skulle være i Hjallese, så send skud ud! Det kan også sagtens være på vejen til Hjallese, En Skildring fra Alfarvej, om man vil (som også er to fremragende romaner fra Pontoppidan; Den gamle Adam og Højsang, i. e.). Jeg prøvesmager den nok ikke i morgen, men vi deler det gode med hinanden, ikke?

 

EMILS HOTHOUSE

Vestergade 89, åbner: jeg har aldrig oplevet dem lukket, hjemmeside her

Odense har nogle særlige varemærker, som vi alle sammen kender og desværre til tider underkender. Emils er en af dem. Som Søndergadebeboer i over tre år har ham der Emil med det varme hus været den ven, jeg altid har kunne regne med. Den franske hotdog til 12 kroner er efterhånden (i al fald i mine kredse) en evergreen, men det er deres pommes frites til en tyver, der er den egentlige stjerne. Du får pommes, der smager, som de skal: ingenlunde af kartoffel og usandsynlig meget af fedt og salt. Det er rigeligt fantastisk og skal nok kunne give samtlige af de nye beboere i dit hoved, der mener at de skal bygge en parkeringskælder med letbane ovenpå, et par blodpropper, så du kan få lidt ro.

MOLOTOV

https://www.facebook.com/molotovodense/

Gråbrødre Plads 4, ST, TV, åbent fra 14 - 21, hjemmeside her (facebooken informerer mere)

Molotov smager godt. Molotov er simpelt. Molotov er billigt. Og nu har jeg lavet en triade, så den littære del i en tømmermændsmadguide også er on point. Men altså…. Der er ikke så meget pis med Molotov. Fritterne er gode – tænk Sunset Boulevards, bare bedre med et tydeligt hint af kartoffel og lækre krydderier. Og så er der én mayo. Og den er god. Smager, som mor piskede den. Burgeren er klassisk med gode råvarer, der smager, som de skal. Du kan få en menu med sodavand, burger og pommes til 120 kroner. Som er billigt.  Det er god grease med hint af kartoffel. Og hvis det hele er ægte slemmo, kan man fandmer også få milkshakes. Jeg har ikke selv smagt mælke-underet, men is kan vel kurere det meste??

BURGER ANARCHY

https://www.facebook.com/burgeranarchyodense/

Gravene 2A, åbner fra kl. 14, hjemmeside her

Burger Anarchy er efterhånden en odenseansk burgerbarsbastion. Det er en lidt anderledes burger i forhold til Molotov, der kører den mere good-ol’-amurican. Men anderledes er som altid godt – og når det anderledes serveres med marvmarmelade og ahornglaseret bacon, så er det tømmermændsmadguide anno 2018 værdigt. Det er også her, at halloumiosten gemmer sig i samspil med enten vildsvin eller lam og syltede bøgehatte. De har faktisk også opfundet en hel ny burger til nytårsanledningen kaldet Big Anarchist, som er dobbelt op på ost, bøf og bacon, som nok på dagen efter dagen er det tætteste, der kommer til at simulere en genopstanden Jesus, der opfinder skiveskåret brød.

Pro fif: Genialt sted til dine højskole-veganer-uden-gluten-og-lykke-i-livet-venner - Burger Anarchy har rent faktisk formået at skabe den første veggie-bøf, jeg har brudt mig om!

NB: Der er et begrænset antal Big Anarchist (mirakler fås jo ikke i utal), og de starter deres take away med afhentning fra klokken 14 og levering fra klokken 16-21.30

 

WERNERS GRILL

https://www.facebook.com/wernersgrill/

Nørregade 22, åbner klokken 12-21, hjemmeside her

Som min mor aldrig sagde, men burde have sagt, så kan sovs kurere det meste. Og hos Werners kan du få den pøset over din burger (i. e. bøfsandwich), indeholdende hvad der svarer til Dantes vej gennem purgatoriet. I stedet for frådseri får du løgkompot, gerrighed som en hakkebøf. Hovmodet svarende til de syltede agurker og rødbeder, misundelsen i de ristede løg; dovenskabens ketter og vellystens remo. Og vreden, den boblende brune vrede, der som et vulkanudbrud opløser alt andet og som konklusion på værket præsenterer din sandwich som et naturfænomen. Werners Grill er din vej ud af skærsilden. Og hvis skærsilden virker som en lettere overdreven etiket, så har de også flæskesværdssandwich, og en sprød sværd, det er altså det meste værd.  

EYDES GASTRO PUB

https://www.facebook.com/eydesgastropub/

Kongensgade 31A, åbner klokken 12-23 (brunchbuffet til klokken 16), hjemmeside her

Skal der brunches, så lad det blive her. Eydes byder på brunch fra klokken 12, så dit bacon-begær kan blive stillet. For let’s face it, selvom sovsen har (burde have) en fast plads i tømmermændsmadspyramiden, så er bacon bare stjernen, der stråler øverst på træet. Men der er også et andet B, som Eydes formår at gøre bemærkelsesværdig: brånsvir. Jeg havde aldrig selv troet, at jeg skulle brunche med bacon og brunsviger, men det kilder alle steder, det gør ondt dagen derpå. På den anden side, så har foreningen af brun farin og smør aldrig gjort nogen noget. Det har min mor faktisk sagt.  

Det er ikke fordi, der er en synderlig morale og/eller pointe med dette frisk-fra-frituren-skribleri. Andet end, måske, at vi selvfølgelig alle sammen skal have det godt - også i selvforskyldte og (især i) lidet flatterende situationer. Vi skal hjælpe hinanden til at have det godt også dagen derpå - og selvom det nødvendigvis ikke virker sådan, så kan et par gyldne koordinater til nærmeste oliekasse også være en kærkommen håndsrækning. Jeg mener ingenlunde, at vi sikrer verdensfreden med diverse gode-ting-at-dyppe-i-henvisninger, men måske vi kan sikre freden i det lille, trætte hoved ved lækkert indtag længe nok, til at vi kan tage endnu en lur.

Godt nytår! 

Pro kebab fif: efter sigende skulle byens bedste kebab befinde sig på Nansensgade 2 hos Østens Grill. Om de har åbent, ved jeg ikke, men hvis de har, så er der kø!



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Sailing to Odense

Sailing to Odense
Essay | Written by: Mira Erik | Wednesday, October 25, 2017

I used to think that Odense sucked as a sailing destination. But I know better now. 

I grew up sailing the South Funen waters; navigating green islands, landing on beaches. Not in a million years was I going to moor at Odense Harbour; that long, dull, artifical entrance. 

It turns out it is a sport, a game. A different thing, but not a lesser thing. It is curiously difficult to navigate because the channel passage is narrow as a trouser leg, and you will run aground the second you bass that buoy. There is no margin.  You have to beat up to windward in tight little moves.

A sport: sailing so close to the buoys that you can stick your chewing gum to them

Nautical charts. At the top: Gabet, followed by the channel passage past the shipyard and to the canal. The canal is just outside the frame on the left side.

But before we begin our trip inland, we have to tend to the necessities - sailing, peeing, swimming:

With our backs to Fyns Hoved - the northernmost point of Funen, seperating Kattegat and Storebælt.

Peeing

Just south of Fyns Hoved - right when you have passed its tip - you’ll see Korshavn, an amazing natural harbour. And if you don’t want to moor, you can drop your anchor right there in the middle of nowhere:


Anchoring for the night

“Hygge” and near-comatose sleep in the bunks below deck
And here we go! Hard winds from the east tear at the sails. The deck is flooded. 

Gabet is that tiny opening you pass through from the open sea into Odense Fjord. It is like a funnel through which the wide ocean pours into a narrow tube, and that’s why the waves are always in motion here. Action waters. And if you’re lucky, some of the really big ships are heading towards the shipyard and you get to sail alongside giants. 

And you’re there: Gabet. On a quiet day like this, the shallow waters are easy and still. Enebærodde at your starboard side. The lighthouse is 14 metres tall and was built in 1869, and its siblings stand on every tip of the Danish coast. I love them. When you turn the corner, the shipyard comes into view.

Gabet lighthouse

The shipyard on the horizon

A seasoned sailer who is familiar with the waters would cross the shallow waters at Hvide-Grund, but I am not taking any chances. I am sailing without a gps, using nautical charts instead, and I have only navigated this passage a couple of times. We navigate the buoys and laugh at the cormorants who glare at us before they take off when we get close.   

Sailing is slow and suspenseful. You can see far - and it will take exactly as long as you think to get there. 

It is quiet here. Only the cranes are noisy. They lift up their metal cargo. We sail by close enough to reach out and touch.  

Lindø shipyard. Wow. 

Throughout the 20th century, Lindø shipyard was one of the titans of Funen industry in earnings as well as in number of employees. At the height of its productivity in 1974, Lindø employed 6105 people. The shipyard ruled North Funen. 


The grand dames of the seven seas were built here at Lindø. Here: Emma Mærsk passes by Enebærodde after stopping by for repairs. In 2006, at her virgin voyage, she was the world’s largest container vessel. 

The navigation channel is 11 metres deep here to accomodate the huge vessels. From here on in the canal is 7,5 metres wide and it only gets narrower from here. This is where the chewing gum game starts. 

We leave Lindø behind

Taking a nap and missing out

At the next bend in the channel, the smokestacks of the power plant appear in the distance. 

The outermost edges of the nature preserve before Stige Ø is in sight. De yderste klatter af naturreservatet før Stige Ø kommer til syne. Standing at the stern and gazing out is the best. 

And we enter the canal. The five kilometre long canal was dug by hand force by 200 workers over the course of eight years, using only shovels and wheelbarrows. On October 7 1803 the first ship entered Odense Harbour through the canal. The new harbour was an important factor in the city’s growth in the 1800s, as it simplified the previous work of unloading goods at Skibhusene, where everything was repackaged  and shipped by smaller prams to Odense. Difficult, arduous work. The canal is around 3 metres deep. 

Odense canal. Max speed: 6 knots.

No matter how windy it was on the other side of Gabet, the hills on either side of the passage provide shelter here. You can take off your boots and your hat, and every windproof, woollen item, and the last stretch can be navigated in a bikini, aided by a warm, gentle breeze. 


A distinct and meticulous stone wall lines the canal on the last stretch. We spot horses and cyclists on both sides of the water. 

As we get close to the harbour, we get busy tying fenders and readying ourselves for mooring, which without the aid of a motor engine involves so much adrenaline and concentrated work that I completely forget to take any pictures of us disembarking. But hell, who needs to be on solid ground?

All pictures by Mira Erik, except the aerial photo of Emma Mærsk.



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This Is Odense