Inspired by the world of geology

The Danish landscape is not exactly abundant in mountainous massifs. For that very reason, our fascination with rock formations and high vantage points is possibly even greater than that of our Scandinavian neighbours.

Troldtekt, Tivoli Congress Center
Photo: Thomas Mølvig, architect

Given the lack of natural mountains in Denmark, the only option is to build them ourselves, a well-known theme which architects and engineers have pursued for decades. A particular example is the Tivoli Hotel & Congress Center, which is situated at Kalvebod Brygge in Copenhagen close to the city’s new Metropol Zone.

Tivoli Hotel & Congress Center is a large complex which will comprise a congress centre and three hotels in different price categories when it is fully developed in a few years’ time. The firm of architects Kim Utzon Arkitekter has designed the project, while the client is Arp-Hansen Hotel Group A/S, one of the big players in the rapidly growing Copenhagen hotel market.

The architect Kim Utzon says: “The entire structure is based on Lundgaard and Tranberg’s master plan for the area. It envisages rock-like buildings lining a green promenade, which is raised eight metres above Kalvebod Brygge and connects Bernstorffsgade with Dybbøls Bro.”

The unusual development starts at the distinguished SEB Bank domicile, continues along the new State Archives and so far ends with the roof landscape at Tivoli Congress Center. An elegant bridge construction marks the future continuation of the elevated promenade.

Central congress centre
The Tivoli Hotel rises thirteen floors above ground level and is topped with a roof terrace commanding spectacular views of Copenhagen. An ingenious room layout lends an extremely dynamic appearance to the façades, reminiscent of rocky mountainsides. Moreover, the spectacular shape of the building is strongly inspired by some interesting bits of stone which Kim Utzon brought home from a holiday in the south of France.

Like a large rock formation, the huge congress hall lies half way between the two existing hotels, and as a result of the large spans, it projects through the green promenade like a rocky outcrop. A row of triangular skylights ensures visual contact between the levels and ample daylight to the entrance sections. Stairways afford access from the elevated green promenade down to the hall and the congress centre foyer.

The foyer thus lies below terrain level. A lot of effort has therefore gone into ensuring that the areas do not feel like basement rooms. With their triangular roof lights, the slanting origami-inspired walls around the congress hall help funnel daylight down into the foyer. There are also large glass façades to the south.

Good acoustics
Troldtekt acoustic panels have been used in most rooms, and Kim Utzon says: “The acoustics in the foyer are well balanced thanks to the Troldtekt acoustic panels between the ribs of the TT concrete elements. This is one of our own tried-and-tested standard solutions which has never let us down, and which works beautifully – even when noise levels are high. The conference hall seats 2,500 people, and when the other rooms are being used, the number of people in the building at any one time can exceed 4,000. The two auditoriums seat 200 and 400 persons respectively, and both are fitted with top-of-the-range sound and AV equipment.
The large lobby covers approx. 1,700 sq m, and is designed to be used for a wide variety of purposes. Together with the Öland stone floor, the pale shades of the cement-bonded wood wool inject the only colours into the room, which otherwise has white-painted surfaces. The cement-bonded wood wool panels also conceal installations in the ceiling such as power cables and sprinkler systems.

The congress hall is on two levels and has a black-painted Troldtekt Acoustics Plus ceiling. The simplest solution of all, yet one which guarantees the desired effect. The ceiling is full of installations, for example lighting, ventilation, sprinkler systems plus stage lighting and loudspeakers. Cement-bonded wood wool is therefore a harmonious and calm background for all the equipment etc. you would expect to find in a multi-functional hall of this kind. Fortunately, the four very large, black-painted and triangular lattice girders act as a strong architectural element which dominates the room with their span of almost 40 metres.

The walls in the congress hall have birch veneer panels with slits to supplement the ceiling’s acoustic absorption. We have decided to use the cement-bonded wood wool’s relatively coarse surface in the ceilings as it is at some distance from users. In this way, the unique texture of the material contributes to enhancing the differentiated experience of the room, without appearing too rough,” says a satisfied Kim Utzon.