Scala Copenhagen by BIG



Another project from our new favourites, architects Bjarke Ingels Group (BIG). This time it's their entry for the architectural competition for the Scala library, conference centre and in Copenhagen.


This selection of images come from a slide show on their website. Unfortunately all the text is in Danish but it's kind of self-explanatory.



Posted on Sunday August 5th 2007 at 8:14 am by . Copyright policy | Comments policy

  • SCA
    SIZE 45,000 M2
    STATUS On-going

    Scala HIGH-RISE
    Visible from the Central Station, the Town Hall Square and the Tivoli Gardens, Scala on the Axel Square is located on a central traffic, cultural and commercial site in Copenhagen. Acting as the visiting card of Copenhagen to the surrounding world in the heart of a potent mix of élite and popular culture, we wish to continue Scala’s function as a place for concerts, cinemas, shops and restaurants.

    The municipality has expressed a wish to let Scala house the new main library. Additionally, the proximity to the Central Station and the central location make the building suitable for conferences, hotel rooms and offices, which all in all means many activities in one place. Rather than choosing just one of the suggested programmes, we propose to realize all wishes and possibilities all at once: A dense and lively house for the city that combines both private and public space in a sliding scale from the street to the rooftop in one continuous movement.

    We propose a building with a starting point in the historical Copenhagen tower which is made up of two basic principles: a base that relates to the urban space and life unfolding near the building, and a slim steeple that reaches towards the sky and becomes part of the Copenhagen Skyline. As such, our design of the Scala tower grows out of the context with a starting point in the volumes and cornice heights of the neighbouring buildings. From the surrounding city space, the house rises towards the sky. At the top, a clear principle for a tall and slim tower, at the bottom, a beautifully modelled volume that merges with the surrounding city from building to city space.

    At street level, people have access to the main library that is a terraced landscape of reading rooms, great collections as well as a conference centre. Continuing up the tower, visitors will find themselves comfortable in the hotel, just as commercial tenures and a public roof terrace offer spectacular views of the city.

    On the top side of the building, a terraced landscape invites people to relax and take in the city at one of the plateaus, making the Axel Square once again an attractive, urban public space.

  • rob


  • casper


  • vv

    beautiful lower part …boring upper part…

  • Rob Mc

    It doesn’t taper like a Copenhagen tower just comes to an abrupt stop a bit like a table leg.
    I don’t think the upper levels will enahnce the city. Love the lower stepped profile.

  • Jill

    Actually, I’ve heard Bjarke Ingels speak on this particular project; the images shown on this page really don’t do the project justice. You should check out the BIG website, which goes further into detail about the reason for the “abrupt stop” of the top of the tower.

    The tower actually turns upward from the base, which allows the upper profile to coincide with those in the surrounding skyline, but also allows the building to have the “skinny rectangular” footprint as dictated by the site. As well as turning to coincide with the profiles of the adjacent buildings, the turning of this tower allows the upper floors to cut the winds that typically come across the city as opposed to being broadsided by them, which would result in stability issues.

  • jack

    concrete blocks…and link in commercial space…. nice concept. but, fuctionally it’s work?…..

  • Sadek Boulhaia

    A magnificent monument to a nation of great people.

    But I hate those who insulted our prophet. Shame on them… Be sure
    Hell is their destiny if they’ll not acknowlege their faults.

    Written …From Setif, Algeria, By Sadek Boulhaia “of Silegue”

    Any comment or question send to

  • Yushone

    It seems that the big steps of the lower part are also the window s on the facade……huh… I do not think that people in the rooms would accept someone sit in front of their window… and people may not sit there with their butt facing inside of building

  • Theresa

    What? I don’t want this to happen :( that building is ugly. I thought we had agreed not to contaminate Copenhagen with various modern “skry scraping” buildings..
    Not something I wish, that’s for sure. Copenhagen’s beauty is in it’s old beautiful buildings, castles and spires taking up the skyline instead of ugly sky scrapers. :S

  • Di


  • soprano

    I think thats a very sexy building but it would be stupid to build it cuz me first, id wanna get drunk and go clib the stairs!!

  • Irina

    Hey friends, i’ve been wondering wether to send my documents to Copenhagen, or not. I’m from Sofia, Bulgaria. Is someone could tell me some more about the people and the city (never been there), please do it ;). Thank you a lot for the future replies.

  • Marija

    I want to say that this building has an architectonic good concept also as urbanistic but please can you tell me how you can protect people from falling down from the stairs? Thank you,i hope that You can answer me quickly.

  • just ain’t Copenhagen!!!!

    Drop it, it’s ugly! but try in Malmoe, they might like it

  • kiufiu

    really good architectonic concept for sure as an urban and building design….and since it is only a concept the stairs in there are not going to be that high,or in places that too much natural light is needed they will keep them high and make a pathway somewhere in there…im totally sure of that….but really a good design idea…..

  • Can’t believe this… This is really a weird architect i have ever seen… Great one though.. Wordless…

  • Reade

    I recently attended at the currlent scala building on that site which doesnt work very well and contributes to making that street not work very well. Even though it is a central activity area of Copenhagen with the tivoli across the stree and city square one end and the railway the other this street isnt very inviting. the open space beside the scala also doesnt work very well.

    there are a number of low rise modern buildings in this area that dont work very well.

    i believe such a building and open space would improve this area of copenhagen. just remember to include adequate bicycle infrastructure.