At Tietgensgade 35-39 in Copenhagen, close to the infamous Tivoli gardens, sits a magnificent building from 1912. The building was originally built as the headquarters of the Danish Post by architect Heinrich Wenck, the same architect responsible for the neighbouring Central Station.
In many major cities, railway stations and post offices were built next to each other during the early 20th century. Mail was transported long distances by train and distributed from post offices further out into the city by horse and carriage or bicycle. After more than a hundred years of operation in the building, and a development of new means of transport, the postal business was relocated in 2014. The office building and a large land area along the track area to the south of the building became available for sale. At this time, Krook & Tjäder Arkitekter were commissioned to transform the building into a hotel and worked with this task for six years until 2020. The intention was to intervene as little as possible with the building’s exterior facade, but instead to work within the existing structure and transform the building into a high-quality modern hotel.
Architecture and organisation
The building is oriented around two courtyards which in the transformation into a hotel have been covered with new roof constructions. The northern courtyard with an entrance from Tietgensgade is referred to as the ‘bright’ courtyard which serves as a lobby. Light floods this space through a vaulted glass roof which rises towards the centre of the courtyard and its form is in play with the building’s neo-baroque shapes. This solution allows for a generously sized lobby with a dynamic sense of space, while the hotel rooms above have an interesting roof landscape to look out onto.
The southern courtyard has a darker quality and is covered with a billowy glulam roof - the space is one floor lower and was originally used to house the Danish Post’s horses. The construction is reminiscent of older vaulted roof constructions that were often used for railway stations. The top of the roof forms a green courtyard with three grassy hills that stand in contrast to the building’s tight brick facades. Under the billowy roof, a conference hall of 1,200 square meters is located with its own entrance to the south towards Copenhagen’s emerging district Postbyen.
Flows and communication
The hotel’s public areas with restaurants, bars and outdoor cafes are mainly distributed on the two lower floors, both of which have ground contact as the surroundings around the building slope one floor to the south. To handle large flows of people between these planes, the building has been fitted with two new wide staircases.
Six new elevators have been placed centrally in the building volume and have thus created an efficient flow with minimised distances between hotel rooms and lifts. The lift stops which rise through the roof have been designed in accordance with the original architecture to blend discreetly into the rest of the roof landscape.
A unique feature of the building is that it has outward-looking activities in all directions with no ‘back’. Deliveries and waste management take place discretely via a covered delivery area located towards the track area in the northwest.
The building was originally constructed using modern methods for its time and has a rational pillar structure with a recurring dimension of 4 meters. This measure proved to be excellent even for modern hotel rooms. The impressive floor height has resulted in hotel rooms with large, tall windows and a fantastic feeling of space.
The attic, which was initially unfurnished, could be transformed into unique hotel rooms with sloping roofs and exposed beams after the completion of the new roof construction. In the building’s large roof volume, it was also possible to place a large part of the new technology that the modern hotel function requires.
Unique outdoor environments
Inner-city hotels rarely have outdoor environments worth mentioning. That is not the case with Villa Copenhagen. On an existing lower building volume towards Bernstorffsgade, a roof terrace has been laid out with a 25 meter long pool. Here you can swim and at the same time look out over Tivoli gardens and the event hall’s green roof landscape. Towards the train track area to the west, a new High Line-inspired esplanade is being developed to connect the Central Station with Kalvebod Brygge which offers a new elevated urban space for the city’s residents. The hotel’s activities are focused around this new urban space with outdoor seating and a sunken garden accessed via an external staircase.
The hotel opened in the summer of 2020.