Covered market in Ry

The railway town of Ry has a new wooden building - a unifying construction designed to effectively define an urban space with very simple means.

Troldtekt Ry Torvelhal
Photo: Thomas Mølvig, architect

Sometimes you come across streets and squares which, for inexplicable reasons, feel quite desolate and windswept. It’s as if something is missing. Something undefinable and unifying, something to add character or identity.

This was very much the case with Stationstorvet in the small Danish town of Ry in the Lake District in East Jutland. A central square in the heart of the town, yet diffuse and lacking focus. In 2017 the architect Jesper Danø from DANØ Arkitektur therefore suggested to the Municipality of Skanderborg that a small multipurpose market be established. A flexible and covered construction that would provide shelter from the sun and rain.

Archetypal longhouse

Now it’s there, and the building is a charming addition to the townscape. It comprises a simple longhouse with open gables and a front with transverse strips made from black-painted wood. It is discreet and simple, yet has a certain presence due to its height, restrained lines and its archetypal design.

From a distance, the idiom of Torvehallen is muted, but a surprise awaits visitors on stepping inside. The load-bearing construction itself is elegantly built from sawn timber. Beams made from reddish Douglas fir resemble a forest of tree trunks, intersecting to emulate the crowns of trees. The sunshine flowing in through the building creates a beautiful interplay of shadows, and when darkness falls, the wooden construction and the white Troldtekt acoustic panels are illuminated from below.

On the side along the railway the building is closed, with seats and niches made from plywood. The second stage of the project will see the addition of two modules and a café. Also, the gables will be closed off with glass. The building will also be adapted so the facade overlooking the square can be opened and closed as and when required.