NEW BUILDING AND URBAN SPACE COMPLETED - DESIGNED BY COBE AND RED CROSS
The Red Cross Volunteer House gives 34,000 volunteers a setting for the continuous developmentof their work in Denmark. The building is designed by COBE in cooperation with the volunteers as acelebration of volunteer work and commitment and as a meeting place for the volunteers, the city andanyone wishing to contribute to the work the Red Cross does for marginalized citizens.
The Red Cross Volunteer House is an extension of the national headquarters of Red Cross inDenmark in Copenhagen. The triangular building has a 850-m2 roof that acts as a large publicstaircase extending from the street level to the second floor of the building. The extension, whichhas a floorspace of 750 m2, is placed partially below ground and serves as the main entrance toboth the headquarters and the volunteer centre. The Red Cross Volunteer House was designedwith the ambition of creating a new meeting place for the 34,000 Red Cross volunteers as well asa new public space – an urban living room that gives something back to the city. That ambitionhas been realized.
‘With the Red Cross Volunteer House we wanted to create a place that provides optimal settingsfor the heroes of everyday life – the thousands of volunteers who make an extraordinary effort tohelp marginalized people. The roof of the building is now the Red Cross’s face to the world anda unique meeting place that acts both as a terraced stand and as stairs while also offering anPhoto: Rasmus Hjortshøj – COAST18 December, 2018COBE reveals images of the completed Red Cross VolunteerHouse2attractive and inviting space to the many thousands of volunteers and, equally, to passers-by andthe rest of the city. The building has become an urban space and expresses both generosity andmodesty while inviting the outside world in,’ says Dan Stubbergaard, architect and COBE founder.
A MEETING PLACE IN THE CITY BASED ON THE WISHES OF THE VOLUNTEERSCOBE developed the project in close collaboration with the Red Cross and representatives ofthe volunteer organization. In a dialogue process, everything from the spatial programme to thedesign of the building was tested, discussed and adapted. After the opening of the building inNovember 2017, the Red Cross has attracted added attention – more than 500 volunteers usethe building every month, 60 local branches have visited, and more than 8,000 curious outsidevisitors have stopped by.
‘The Red Cross Volunteer House makes an important contribution to the support and developmentof the volunteer effort that is at the heart of the work of the Red Cross. The Volunteer Househas an open and inviting architecture that is in keeping with our ambition of being an organizationin continuous dialogue with the community. This is not just a building or a place – it is aspace for exchange and development. A creative setting that inspires creative solutions. We havealready seen this in practice, and I am certain that in coming years, we will continue to see manynew ideas for tomorrow’s civil society arise in our Volunteer House. Time and again, we see thecapacity of the architecture to inspire and promote the development of the volunteer effort in theRed Cross,’ says Anders Ladekarl, secretary general of Danish Red Cross.
AN ICONIC BUILDING ADAPTED TO ITS SITE
The spectacular roof slope and stair simultaneously blend into and reinterpret the unique characterof the area, with the adjacent park Fælledparken and the Danish Freemasons’ Hall, as well asthe Red Cross headquarters themselves, a yellow-brick building that is the former CopenhagenCounty hall. The stepped roof was built using the same yellow bricks. It has become a popularmeeting place – in summer, volunteers and staff hold meetings here, passers-by stop for a break,and locals use the steps for anything from workouts to coffee appointments.
Going inside, one is met by a common arrival area shared by the volunteer centre and the headquarters.To the left, the Volunteer House opens up in the form of an open terraced stand andauditorium with a capacity of more than 100 attendants. This space leads down to a series ofconference rooms that can be used for training and meetings, events, presentations, film showingsand many other activities.
The stepped roof surface opens up towards the headquarters, which are visible from any positionwithin the Volunteer House. The original building and the new extension are further linked by agreen park. The Red Cross Volunteer House also offers a common space for employees and volunteersto meet, thus providing ideal conditions for development and cooperation to flourish.
In spring 2013, Danish Red Cross announced the competition for the new volunteer centre.COBE won the competition. The new building was completed in November 2017 and wasconstructed with a grant of DKK 30.7 million from the private foundation A. P. Møller og HustruChastine Mc-Kinney Møllers Fond til almene Formål.