Risen from ashes, Copenhagen concert hall wins top European steel award

The reconstructed sport and concert hall, K.B. Hallen in Copenhagen, which replaced the original icon destroyed by fire, has won the prestigious European Steel Award 2019 for creative and exceptional use of the material.

A jury of European architects and civil engineers was unanimous in picking the modest-sized arena, which will host American alternative rock band The Pixies in October. It is described as a contemporary interpretation of the original, first inaugurated in 1938 but consumed by flames in 2011.

Celebrating the award are the developer Copenhagen Boldklub (KB), Christensen & Co. Architects, Ramboll as consulting engineers, Einar Kornerup as main contractor, and Give Staalspaer, the steel contractor.

The new hall was inaugurated in December 2018.

Jurors praised the simplicity of the construction, which provides a large column-free span, Ramboll said.

Steel arches carry the weight of the venue’s heavy concrete roof, which is necessary to prevent loud music annoying the neighbours.

Steel arches carry the weight of the venue’s heavy concrete roof, which is necessary to prevent loud music annoying the neighbours (Ramboll)

They can also bear up to 50 tons of hanging sound and lighting equipment throughout the hall.

In the words of Hans Exner, project manager for steel structures at K.B. Hallen: "The curved shape, which is so characteristic of the venue, is crucial and has high demands for the strength of the steel structures and has definitely been a challenge for the engineering design.

"In addition, the building must be adaptable to accommodate a variety of sports activities and concerts. Therefore, it is extremely rewarding that our solutions have been recognised within the industry."

The European Steel Award is organised by the European Convention for Constructional Steelwork (ECCS).

The ceremony will take place in Brussels on 14 October.

The jury consisted of:

  • Lasse Kilvaer, Norway, Chairman of AC4 Architectural Awards Committee;
  • Vincent de Ville de Goyet, Belgium, Engineer, Design office Greisch;
  • Philippe Samyn, Belgium, Architect, Samyn and Partners;
  • Georg Pendl, Austria, President ACE, Architects’ Council for Europe;
  • Aris Chatzidakis, Greece, President of the European Council for Civil Engineers;
  • Véronique Dehan, Belgium, Secretary General ECCS.

Top image by Neils Nygaard

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