The Spinning Mills in Vejle is one of a few original and unspoiled industrial building complexes that has preserved its original structure and unique industrial expression. It has been pivotal for the regeneration that both the exterior and the interior of the building continue to tell the history of the industrialisation of Vejle, while meeting the requirements of the new functions. The regeneration project’s design aims to preserve the cultural value of the Spinning Mills whilst introducing a contemporary feel to the buildings and the surrounding area. The historic mills, which were built in 1896 and rebuilt in 1925 after a fire destroyed the original structures in 1924, reflect the industrial heritage of Vejle, an old industrial town well known for its cotton industry.
A unifying feature of the Spinning Mills’ regeneration is the use of surfaces and materials. Most notably, the practice has devised a striking, abstracted surface pattern using asphalt, gravel, concrete, steel, grass and paint coat. This dynamic, geometric design, resembling a vast carpet, is intended to unify the differing elements contained within the site, thereby creating a strong sense of cohesion. The carpet is interpreted as a reminiscence of the culture environment in the area. A woven fabric of serial lines from the Spinning Mills’ rhythmic sequence of construction, roofs and light laid down over the site. The rhythm of the lines and the additional elements organise the site and the way in which it is used.
A green pedestrian route wraps itself around the site, providing connections to the Municipal Park and the Music Theatre, creating a natural urban space around the complex. One of the strongest visual elements of the project is a newly created plaza; a large public space surrounded by symbolic references to the city’s industrial past, which connects to the Spinning Mills visually to the rest of the city.
Solid and heavy materials contrast the light and transparent materials. The existing facade of the main building has been partly replaced with large coloured glazed panels which create unique lights in the rooms a strong visual connection between inside and out – between the Spinning Mills and the plaza. In addition, the new façade creates visual references to the city’s modern architecture and makes the building complex more visually prominent. New functions are added in the interior in boxes fitted into the existing structure.
The renovation of the Spinning Mills is today the setting of a popular, cultural meeting place, where artists and creative businesses unfold along with a museum and a theatre. Additional facilities include a multi-purpose hall, meeting rooms and a café. The existing fragmented context of the industrial buildings is maintained, reconfigured and combined, creating a green symbiosis between cultural, commercial and city life.