Text description provided by the architects. On the last building plot in the prestigious Nordhavn in Copenhagen, Arkitema has designed the eye-catching cinema BIG BIO, which is Denmark's first sustainable cinema. The vision was to create a cultural building that adds something extraordinary to the Århusgade area in Copenhagen's new city district Nordhavn and at the same time contributes to strengthening the special identity that the district already possesses.
Therefore the architects chose a deep and intense red color for the façade that would match the other red/brown buildings in the area, but at the same time, the building would still have a strong and individual presence. BIG BIO is situated next to an urban square and underlines the new urban area's desire to also be a cultural gathering place with a large cinema, shops, cafés, and restaurants.
A cinema demands large halls wrapped in darkness and to the architects the geometry and closed nature of the building called for a dynamic and inviting cladding. With a single and convincing touch, the architects have created a building where perforated façade cladding with pleated folds brings memories of the classic stage curtain as we know it from the very first cinemas. At the same time, the wavy outline and perforation of the building ensure a visual experience where light and shadows create unimaginable patterns during the day. Behind this curtain, the big screens will provide film-loving moviegoers with cinematic experiences in years to come.
The city is invited in as the curtain on the ground floor is raised, disclosing its transparent lower floor with shops and cafés. At the same time, the curtain is elegantly drawn aside at the one end of the building where the lobby and staircase room. The staircase leads the guests up through the building to a total of five cinema halls, or they can continue further up to the restaurant on top of the building.
The building is designed with a focus on sustainability, which is the main reason for both the façade made in aluminum and the structural design, which will make it easy to transform the building to new uses in the future. The ground floor and the top floor of the building do not have any load-bearing or reinforcing walls, which makes it easy to move and set up new walls. Moreover, the shell is designed for live loads corresponding to the level used for stadium stands.
Therefore, it is easy to change the use of all stories to literally anything – music events, exhibitions, sports events, or small-scale businesses. The building is constructed from materials that are free of unwanted chemicals, are durable, and can be largely dismantled and recycled when the building is one day used for something else, renovated, or demolished.