Kannikegaarden beautifully reiterates the qualities of the medieval old town in Ribe, Denmark, but is also surprisingly radical. The elongated building situated opposite the cathedral houses facilities for the parish council and cathedral staff, an exhibition space and a 100-seat lecture theatre.
During the excavation work on the site, archaeological remains were found of the cloisters, built in 1100 and possibly the earliest brick building in the country. The sensational ruins are now on display in Kanninkegaarden.
Lundgaard & Tranberg wanted the new building to be clearly differentiated from the original tectonics seen in the old brick buildings around it.
Along with Petersen Tegl, it developed a customised version of Petersen Cover as cladding to hover just out from the brick monastery walls and contrast with them.
The handmade 35×63cm shells weigh more than 60kg each, although from a distance, the clinker-clad surface looks light compared with the historic brick buildings around it.
Close up, the irregularities of the granulated brick plates are obvious, echoing the irregular medieval structures in which tolerances were measured in inches.
According to Lundgaard & Tranberg, firing bricks is a form of alchemy. Using mock-ups, it was able to make decisions about colour on the site. Tiny adjustments to the oxygen supply in the ovens at Petersen Tegl eventually resulted in just the right mix of rustic red hues to blend the new building in with its surroundings.
Up close, the shells bear all the blemishes and hallmarks of the production processes, just like the bricks used by the monks centuries before, and they help keep the tradition of handmade, coal-fired brick alive.