Up the alternative alley: Towering head and shoulders above the rest

Up the alternative alley: Towering head and shoulders above the rest

A couple of years ago, I was planning an excursion with some friends around Utterslev Mose, and it made me think about whether there was a small museum or gallery that we could visit as a kind of extra bonus for the trip.

That was when I happened upon Brønshøj Water Tower (kulturn.kk.dk/vandtaarn). At the time, the Wetland Project ran an art installation consisting of 24-hour sounds from a wetland in British Columbia, combined with an abstract visual and light exhibition.

It sounded so weird that I felt like I had to check it out before taking my friends with me. When I arrived at the tower, I was impressed with the Wetland Project, but directly surprised by the tower itself.

You step in and immediately your eyes are drawn upwards, upwards, along the lines of the massive concrete columns inside the hollow building. In the middle there is a spiral staircase. A series of round windows, also set in a spiral, allow light shafts to fall at odd angles.

My friends also loved the space and we all put the tower on our list of places to keep an eye on. You can also join the association Brønshøj Vandtårn (broenshoejvandtaarn.dk) and help shape the future of the tower.

Up the alternative alley: Towering head and shoulders above the rest

Water and waves
It was clear that the architect Ib Lunding had water on his mind when he designed the tower, which was built from 1928-30.

Although the use of concrete as a material and the minimalist aspect of the tower makes us think of functionalism, the spiral effect of the swirling water is a great inspiration – it resonates in the green space around the tower where trees have been planted for to look like a sweeping wave.

My fascination with this tower led me to an exhibition at the Copenhagen Museum (cphmuseum.kk.dk), which showed architectural drawings and photos from 100 years of development of the city.

This exhibition was also a treasure trove of information about Brønshøj Water Tower. I have included one of the architect drawings and also a photograph taken during the construction of the tower.

The sound of emptiness
I would love to go to a concert in the tower, where the reverberation of the sound is apparently quite magnificent – but so far I have only managed one event: the cool, newly staged ‘Playground’ by Cat Eyed People.

They set up eight different Scalextric racetracks where cars activating various instruments drive past at high speed. If you look at Cat Eyed People’s Facebook page, you will find both audio and images from this fun and inventive event.

While the tower is owned by the City of Copenhagen, it is administered by Kultur N and can be rented for meetings, photo shoots and cultural events, both by citizens and private companies.

It is in my opinion a quite extraordinary space, but remember a jacket, because even on a hot and sunny day it is cold inside.

Up the alternative alley: Towering head and shoulders above the rest

There is more to see
The tower is 5 km by bike from the city center. It is also possible to arrive by bus – lines 5C and 250S take you there directly from Nørreport Station.

At Brønshøj Torv, before you go to the tower, you can visit the small memorial park with sculptures commemorating the Swedish siege of Copenhagen from 1658-1660. At that time, the Swedish army had its headquarters on high grounds in Brønshøj.

In addition to Utterslev Mose, which is 1.5 km away, you can find the smaller but quite beautiful park Degnemosen, which is practically located in the backyard of the water tower.

If that kind of architecture is for you, you might also want to look at another water-related building designed by Lunding: Tinghøj Vandreservoiret on Vandtårnsvej in Gladsaxe.

Unfortunately there is no public access but if you walk around it you will see 20 small and very quaint looking towers leading to the underground water tanks. These towers seem old and rooted in the grass, but at the same time sci-fi, as if they are ready to go out into outer space.

Up the alternative alley: Towering head and shoulders above the rest

Source: The Nordic Page


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