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Gable wall decoration, Folkvarsvej 19-21, 2001.

gable, Folkvarvej - architectual ceramics by Helle Vibeke Steffensen
Photo by Ole Akhøj

Typical features of the Svømmehal district's brick houses are used as design elements in a brickwork composition on gable wall dimensions.


In connection with urban renewal of the Svømmehal district, the municipality of Frederiksberg decided to tear down the building adjacent to Folkvarsvej 19-21. By doing so the western gable wall of the house was suddenly exposed and had to be insulated. The idea of working artistically with this gable wall arose.

Quite a new urban space appeared when the line of houses was broken, and an open and joint court-yard was laid out.
I find it important that history and evolution is visible in the city, and this has been the starting-point for my further work with the gable wall.
Therefore I have chosen not to hip the roof, as it is on the opposite gable wall, and not to roughcast up to the 1st floor, as has been done on the front and the opposite gable wall.
Furthermore it has been important to integrate the new gable wall in the house.

The main idea of the decoration is a comment and elaboration on some characteristic features of the brickwork of the district:

  • The many variations of the arch over windows and doors.
  • Blinding walls (displacement of level) in parts of the facade.
  • The same window sizes in street after street.
  • A widespread use of cornice-ribbons.

I have incorporated these features as elements in the design of the abstract gable wall relief.

The wall decoration is made in collaboration with Byens Tegnestue, who has been responsible for renovation of the house.
Building owner: Municipality of Frederiksberg in co-operation with Byfornyelse Danmark.
Master builder: Claus E. Gregersen A/S.
The work of Helle Vibeke Steffensens is sponsored by Realkrededit Danmark.
Inaugurated 3. Januar 2001.

gable, Folkvarvej - architectual ceramics by Helle Vibeke Steffensen
Photo by Ole Akhøj

Helle Vibeke Steffensen         Burmeistergade 4, 1429 Copenhagen K.       telephone: 32 95 86 07       email: helvibst@bygningskeramik.dk