- Sports recycling: Water Sports Center Halsskov by Sweco Architects
Yes, we're fully aware that talking about shipping containers for conversion into buildings is so '90s. But, you know, there are some really worthwhile creative examples of repurposing these standardised, practically indestructible items. Because the thing that makes them highly impacting environmentally - the fact that they are made from steel and therefore have a long life - makes them just as interesting for use in trying conditions, like on the Danish coastline where driving winds and the maritime climate take their toll on everything.
Here, in Halsskov, in the old ferry port that became obsolete after the opening of the large Storebæltsforbindelsen ("Great Belt Bridge") connecting the two Danish islands of Sjaelland (where the capital of Denmark, Copenhagen is located) and Funen, Sweco Architects was commissioned as architects and landscape designers for the first stage of the city's new Water Sports Center. This whole project is designed to ensure access to water sports in this part of the Baltic coastline, without denying the past. Indeed, the project emphasises the site's special raw character, both in the selection of new materials and the recycling of existing ones. The concrete piers have been laid bare and fragments of bulwarks and harbour fittings have been preserved.
The recycling theme runs through the whole project that uses as many materials as possible from the former port, either directly or through upcycling, including the area's benches and fences, and new wooden decks made from repurposed wood from the bulwarks
Sweco Architects opted to use recycled containers for the facility buildings, fundamental for the functioning of the Water Sports Center and which, for a better integration into the landscape and minimal maintenance, have been covered with heat-treated wood from sustainable forests. But the centre's most defining feature and a visible marker is the diving tower. Containers have been used for this as well - in this case, three of them. They are painted yellow and stacked on top of each other, each one on a slight rotating axis to create a dynamic, attractive, highly visible tower. Because of the rotation, the bright yellow colour and the latticed pattern made by holes drilled into the containers turn the tower into a new, important landmark for the zone, during the day and at night.
The Water Sports Center in Halsskov by Sweco Architects is, therefore, an example of the intelligent and appropriate reuse of old containers, all in an absolutely cheerful and joyful way, for the community to once again use this seashore area.
Project: Sweco Architects - www.sweco.dk/architecture
Lead Architects: Mette Lund Traberg and Troels Holm
Project location: Halskov, Korsør, Denmark
Completion Year: 2017
Images: Mads Fredrik, Mie Marie Reindahl