A few cyclists and cars pass by as I go to find the cardboard factory, which in 2021 was converted into modern townhouses on Mariendalsvej in Copenhagen. The road is a side street to the busy Falkoner alle in Frederiksberg and is marked by a row of 2-6 storey old buildings. Bay windows, cornices and bricks in different colors tell of a district with a long history. There is peace and quiet. A newly planted beech hedge and bicycles parked at the old cardboard factory testify that children and adults have moved into the 3-storey high red brick building with patina, fine arches and traditional windows, -dannebrog windows. A passageway leads into the area along with the sound of sporadic children’s laughter welcoming. A couple of craftsmen are very busy moving a long wooden panel through the gate. They ask if I want to come in and let me pass freely.
The townhouses are designed by the design studio Mangor and Nagel Architects as a result of a transformation of the old 19th-century building. The conversion of the cardboard factory and the associated backyard includes five terraced houses and four newly built terraced houses in the yard. This also today contains a common terrace and a green area, as well as a ramp down to a basement parking. As much as possible has been reused during the transformation. All the homes have private front gardens, which are bounded by black, simple wooden pickets. In addition, there is a green common area with herbs, a small lawn and playground.
The converted factory building appears to me as a clear meeting between old and new. In the original cardboard factory, new entrances to the four townhouses are placed in a light glass construction set on the old brick building with high ceilings and decorative gray arches from a bygone era. The new entrances welcome each with their own small private outdoor space, where there are flowering potted plants, greenery and garden furniture. Bright interiors with stairs can be seen through the tall glass facades. Outerwear, shoes or toys at the entrances show that different generations live together here.
The house is matched in colour, brick and simplicity by newly built townhouses located in the former paper factory’s backyard. The terraced houses have distinctive large skylights, dormers and a variant of a black mansard roof with slate. The brickwork has a decorative pattern on the gable, where bricks rhythmically protrude and gray cement joints are evident. The woodwork on the window frames and doors is made of solid light oak. All the while black metal lamps on the facades testify to contemporary simple design.
As I am about to leave the area, a car pulls up from the parking garage. The two laughing and chattering children are still playing on the green lawn. And the craftsmen smile and wave goodbye as they bend over their laden toolboxes to finish their work as I walk by. An apparently quiet new residential oasis has emerged in the old cardboard factory in Copenhagen.