Ku.Be House of Culture and Movement

The main ambition for the House of Culture and Movement is to offer the Flintholm neighborhood a dynamic meeting point for people of all ages taking part in a wide range of activities. Health, culture, leisure and education should smoothly blend together to create a spectacular architectural experience that will become a destination. 


Location: Frederiksberg, Copenhagen, Denmark

Year: 2009 - 2016 

Client: Municipality of Frederiksberg, Danish Foundation for Culture and Sports Facilities (LOA) and Realdania Foundation 

Program: 3,200m2 Community centre with exhibition spaces, performance hall, health centre, library, study areas, sports hall, yoga zone, café (school), kitchen, play zone, retail, offices, parking, playground and public park.

Budget: Undisclosed



The 3,200m2 Ku.Be House of Culture and Movement was designed for the municipality of Frederiksberg as a focal point for both the immediate community and also the wider area of Copenhagen; one that the people themselves could take ownership of and that would evolve its programme based on the specific wants and needs of its users. The project is a new typology, developed out of the response to a brief that solely asked for a building that would bring people together and improve the quality of life. In reply, MVRDV and ADEPT answered with one that blends theatre, sport and learning into a space where body and mind are activated to promote a more healthy life for everyone, regardless of age, ability or interest; creating links between people that wouldn’t otherwise connect with each other.  

The six primary volumes which make up Ku.Be, each with their own programme, are clad in a unique colour and material, clearly defining them within the building; from outside these shapes are hinted at in the fragmented tile façade. “We designed Ku.Be to encourage the unexpected,” explains MVRDV co-founder Jacob van Rijs. “Larger volumes are suited to hold performances or public meetings, smaller ones can be for exhibitions or debates. The fast-pace rooms are perfect for dance or parkour, and zen rooms give you the contrast of yoga or meditation. It’s between these volumes where the real fun will happen, though; spaces where we hint at a use, but which will become entirely user-defined.”

The route through the building focuses on developing and encouraging alternate forms of movement. The Labyrinth gets people on their hands and knees climbing through a three-dimensional network of cubes from the second to third floors; or alternatively, they could take the Mousetrap, a vertical maze. A net which spans several floors throughout the building, lets users climb up from floor to floor – suspended over the voids – and slides and fireman poles offer a fast way to get back down. 

The urban gardens outside form the connection between Ku.Be and the urban realm, playing an important role in expressing the eight volumes and the activities happening inside. The diverse landscape - a system of microclimates with changing sounds, lights, and scents which blend seamlessly into a hill with integrated slides - reaches out into the gardens and ends in an amphitheatre outside. By becoming an extension of the urban landscape of Frederiksberg and integrating the community to such an extent, the House of Culture and Movement looks to become an incubator for further development within the neighbourhood.

Ku.Be is MVRDV’s third completed project in Denmark. Ragnarock, a museum for youth culture, pop, and rock music opened in April of this year in nearby Roskilde and the Frøsilos, a conversion of two old silos into housing, was completed in Copenhagen in 2005. Aside from Ku.Be, ADEPT has completed a number of cultural and educational buildings within the last few years. Among these are Dalarna Media Library in Falun, Sweden, Cortex in Odense, Denmark and UCN in Aalborg, Denmark.

MVRDV and ADEPT achieved the project through close collaboration with Soeren Jensen Engineers who provided the complex structural engineering to support the visionary architecture; SLA landscape architects, who designed the urban garden surrounding Ku.Be, and Max Fordham LLP to achieve environmental comfort throughout the building. Ku.Be was made possible by major contributions by Realdania and LOA (Lokale- & Anlægsfonden).



Design: MVRDV - Winy Maas, Jacob van Rijs and Nathalie de Vries

Design Team: Jacob van Rijs, Fokke Moerel with Mette Rasmussen, Julius Kirchert, Klaas Hofman, Francisco Pomares, Armor Gutierrez-Rivas, Buster Christensen, Attilio Ranieri, Chris Green, Kate van Heusen, Henryk Struski, Emanuela Gioffreda, Raymond van den Broek, Sanne van der Burgh, Karl Johan Nyquist, Maria Lopez and Kasper Albrektsen


Architects: MVRDV, Rotterdam, and ADEPT, Copenhagen

Landscape architect: SLA, Copenhagen

Engineering & Costing: Søren Jensen, Aarhus, Denmark

M & E: Max Fordham, Edinburgh

Movement and Play Consultant: Jens Ole Jensen

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