A new masterplan for Svendborg harbour connects the city and the harbour with a vibrant environment of business, recreation, climate resilience and the new SIMAC (Svendborg International Maritime Academy), a beacon for future educational institutions.
The new SIMAC in Svendborg will be Denmark’s largest maritime education institution. With its flexible framework and utilisation of the portside location, it becomes a beacon for modern education and the transformation from a completely industrial area to a new living district with education, business and recreational areas.
Today, the industrial area south of Nyborgvej is a secluded and unused part of town, but the new masterplan will transform the area into a vibrant and innovative environment. The masterplan links the surrounding neighbourhoods and establishes meaningful transitions from the city to the historic building structures of the harbour.
The new SIMAC will be the focal point of the new port district, which builds upon the existing structures on the site and merges the harbour’s large structures with the diverse city scale of this historic city. The masterplan is based on the municipality’s “Port of Tomorrow: Development Plan for Svendborg Harbour” and provides for a vibrant and diverse urban quarter with homes and businesses around the reopened stream Kobberbækken.
The new plan reflects the same scale as the city centre with its open spaces, squares, promenades and green urban areas. There will be terraced houses and 3-5 storey apartment buildings – all with a close relation to the green squares – along the scenic Kobberbækken. The freeing up of the river brings a number of possibilities, both socially and recreationally, which re-establish one of the city’s most significant natural features.
It creates natural rainwater management, green path connections, improved biodiversity and becomes an attraction for the new neighbourhood and homes around the North Quay. Cafes, restaurants and retail units are planned for the harbour promenade, but there will also be workshops and other types of outward-facing maritime businesses.
The new SIMAC is integrated into the course of the harbour promenade and the surrounding urban spaces. The building’s floor plan is designed as a cross that forms a corner to four squares and opens up allowing public access to the communal facilities. The quay itself becomes an outdoor laboratory that highlights the school’s work and maritime virtues.
The architectural design is based on a modular construction grid that maximizes openness and flexibility in the physical framework of education. The construction is flexible because it allows for reconfiguration of the layouts for workshops and teaching rooms, without disturbing the load-bearing structure and logistics. The design provides a good spatial range, which can function for both larger classrooms as well as workshops, but can also be subdivided into smaller units for offices.
In the centre of the building is an atrium that connects the building both visually and logistically across floors. Around the atrium, there are four double-height spaces that mark both the interior and exterior of the façade towards the city and the harbour and contain central functions such as a canteen, auditoria and special workshops. The staircase in the building follows these spaces, culminating on a communal roof terrace with views of the harbour, Svendborg Sund and the city. The ground floor, the tall spaces, the atrium and the roof terrace together form the building’s social infrastructure, which makes it easy to find your way in the building, and becomes a meeting place for the many different activities in the building.
The interior construction has exposed bare concrete surfaces and the building’s floors have a robust surface that can withstand heavy use on the ground floor and in the workshops. The interior walls between the atrium and the teaching rooms have sections of glass to ensure visibility and dialogue. Overall, the building has a simple and honest expression based on functionality and utilisation.
The quay, the water and the adjoining urban areas invite a host of activities for both the city’s residents and for students at the new SIMAC, which together with the existing historic buildings constitutes a landmark on the waterfront. Alongside the new SIMAC, a maritime business campus will be opened for entrepreneurs with strong product ideas for the future maritime industry. The business campus has direct access to a vibrant quay area with recreational areas with room for innovative projects and optimal places for interaction between the new SIMAC, business and Svendborg city.