Promoting a green agenda with the transformation of a former water treatment plant
An old red water treatment building at Sct. Kjelds Gade at Nørresø is an important part of the Danish city Viborg's history, as it housed the city's first waterworks, which ensured the supply of clean drinking water to the people of Viborg in the early 1900s. Now the former water treatment plant is being reused for a combined city park, heating plant and rainwater basin, promoting the green connection between water, environment, and energy.
Søværket (The Lake Plant), as the project is called, will convey its history through the preservation and re-use of both the old water treatment building and the subsequent clean water tank. The waterworks building will in future house a heat pump system capable of supplying the area's district heating consumers by extracting heat from the old wells.
"The Søværket project demonstrates the potential of recycling old technical installations in innovative ways, to the benefit of both the environment and the residents. This kind of multi-pronged approach can provide value in many contexts, so the Søværket solutions can be an inspiration for many other municipal challenges around the country," explains Jens Rex Christensen, Head of Landscape & Urbanism at C.F. Møller Architects.
Playful communication of both history and technology
The clean water tank will house a phosphorus purification plant for use in heat production, while a play and recreation area will be created on the tank's surface. Here you can experience both the area's historical function as a waterworks and its new heat-producing and rainwater-handling function - for example, using water pipes in the design of tables and benches.
A basin covering most of the lake's area will also be created around the clean water tank's seating area, to hold 5,500 m3 of rainwater. The basin will purify rainwater from the catchment area, which is separately drained, before it is discharged into Lake Nørresø, so that in future the lake works will contribute to urban life, energy supply and water quality, while at the same time strengthening the historical narrative.
"At Energi Viborg Vand, we have a need for a technical solution that cleans the area's rainwater before it flows into Nørresø, and we know from a number of projects that water can be valuable when it comes to designing exciting urban spaces. That's why it's very satisfying that we've got together with Søværket to develop some dual functions, such as bridges that also act as sand traps and water intakes for a heat pump. In this way, we use the water in a way that creates value for the area," says Flemming Hermann, head of Energi Viborg Vand A/S.
The project is a multidisciplinary collaboration between Energi Viborg Vand A/S, Viborg Varme, Viborg Municipality and C.F. Møller Architects. Parts of the plant are planned to be operational in the last half of 2023, while the final completion with public access is expected in 2024.
Working on a similar task in Sweden
Earlier this year, C.F. Møller Architects began work on a plan to expand and develop Getteröverket in the southern Swedish coastal town of Varberg in response to the town's growth. Here, an inaccessible sewage treatment plant is being transformed into an open and inviting space - and is a model for how utility buildings in urban environments can be developed in the future. A green activity trail is created along the basins of the development, adding recreational value alongside the inherent qualities of the water. A wide pedestrian and cycle path will provide easy access to the area and the treatment plant, becoming a new knowledge centre for visitors. The extension of the treatment plant is a landscape integrated building with green roofs, which are incorporated and made accessible in the park environment through sloping roof surfaces.