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Azure's July/August 2019 Issue cover
Current Issue

July/August 2019

#273
July/August 2019

From a groundbreaking seaside museum in China to an elegant new sofa by Ronan and Erwan Bouroullec, Azure’s July/August issue unveils the 20 winners of the ninth annual AZ Awards!

AZ Awards 2019 Winner: Officina Sofa
Words
Stefan Novakovic
AZ Awards, Meridiana, Davide Groppi
AZ Awards 2019 Winner: Meridiana
Words
Stefan Novakovic
The Arbour, George Brown College, Moriyama Teshima, Acton Ostry, Toronto
AZ Awards 2019 Winner: The Arbour
Words
Stefan Novakovic
Imago, Kanva, Montreal, AZ Awards
AZ Awards 2019 Winner: Imago
Words
Stefan Novakovic
AZ Awards 2019 Winner: BRIGHT
Words
Stefan Novakovic
Michigan Loft, AZ Awards 2019, Vladimir Radutny Architects
AZ Awards 2019 Winner: Michigan Loft
Words
Stefan Novakovic
AK/25 Faucet, AZ Awards
AZ Awards 2019 Winner: AK/25 Faucet
Words
Stefan Novakovic
Xorel Vue, Carnegie Fabrics, AZ Awards
AZ Awards 2019 Winner: Xorel Vue
Words
Stefan Novakovic
Park Collection, Allsteel, AZ Awards 2019
AZ Awards 2019 Winner: Park
Words
Stefan Novakovic
520 West 28th, Zaha Hadid, AZ Awards
AZ Awards 2019 Winner: 520 West 28th
Words
Stefan Novakovic
COBE, EV Charging Station, Fredericia

Charging a car takes about 15 minutes, but people might just be tempted to stick around longer. With trees, playful public seating, and even a swing-set, Denmark’s prototype charging station takes advantage of the possibilities – and limitations – of electric vehicles (EVs) to create a soothing and restorative environment. This is no gas station.

Designed by Copenhagen’s acclaimed COBE Architects, the place is immediately discernible as a different type of filling station. The wooden structure of light geometric canopies immediately sets itself apart from its counterparts. Gasoline is highly flammable, but EV chargers aren’t. This makes the pavilion a conspicuous symbol of electric vehicles – and their comparatively modest environmental impact.

COBE, EV Charging Station, Fredericia

While the use of wood takes advantage of an obvious EV benefit, the pleasant design is a response to an EV drawback: the cars take a longer time to charge compared to a typical gas station fill up. Although the new station uses what’s described as an “ultra-fast” charging system, the process is still 15 to 20 minutes long. (Older EV chargers can still require up to 12 hours, but Clever and E.ON’s ABB high power charging points are significantly faster – providing 150+ kW – and can be upgraded for up to 350 kW once mainstream EVs begin to support the higher output.) 

Azure COBE EV Charging Station 2

Fortunately, COBE have transformed this waiting time into part of the appeal. Ample public seating and greenery – specified to promote biodiversity – foster a welcoming ambiance, inviting drivers to emerge from their vehicles during charging. It’s another contrast to typical gas stations, where the soil toxicity induced by fuel makes plant life all but impossible. Not here.

A perforated roof – itself topped by greenery – brings in ample light, nurturing the plant life below while creating the atmosphere of a small park for visitors. Away from the cars, a swing set completes the picture with child-friendly recreation.

COBE, EV Charging Station, Fredericia, swing
Roskilde Folk High School, MVRDV, COBE
A Festival Spirit Shapes Denmark’s Eclectic Roskilde School
Channelling the ethos of Denmark’s famed Roskilde Music Festival, MVRDV and COBE design an adult school that embodies egalitarian and collaborative values.

“The energy and the technology are green, so we wanted the architecture, the materials and the concept to reflect that,” says Dan Stubbergaard, an architect and founder of COBE. “We designed a charging station in sustainable materials placed in a clean, calm setting with trees and plantings that offer people a dose of mindfulness on the highway.”

Located along a major highway that passes through the city of Fredericia, the new charging station is the first of a network of 48 such facilities planned throughout Scandinavia.

COBE, EV Charging Station, Fredericia, green roof

COBE’s simple architectural language was created with the network in mind. A modular system of building blocks allows the wooden canopy to take on a variety of sizes and configurations, depending on local needs and site context. In the longer term, most of the construction materials can be broken down into usable and recyclable components. It’s a promise of a truly green and sustainable future, and perhaps one where cars themselves – electric or not – are hardly used at all.

In Denmark, a Charging Station Expresses the Optimism of the Electric Revolution

The small city of Fredericia is the site of COBE Architects’ first prototype for an ambitious series of electric vehicle charging stations.

AZURE is an independent magazine working to bring you the best in design, architecture and interiors. We rely on advertising revenue to support the creative content on our site. Please consider whitelisting our site in your settings, or pausing your adblocker while stopping by.