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30.10.2020

Hojbro Plads, Copenhagen

Højbro Plads (literally "High Bridge Square") is a rectangular public square located between the adjacent Amagertorv and Slotsholmen canal in the city center in Copenhagen, Denmark. It takes its name from the Hoibro Bridge, which connects it to the island of Slotsholmen on the other side of the canal, and Gammel Strand stretches along the near side of the canal.

The most striking feature of the square is the equestrian statue from Absalon, a bishop warrior who was traditionally enlisted as the founder of Copenhagen. It was opened in 1901 to commemorate the seven-year anniversary of his death.

A relatively new Højbro Plads square was laid after the Great Fire of 1795. Before the fire of 1795, Højbro Plads was the site of a dense quarter, limited to Højbrostrde in the west and Store Frgestrde in the east. The first one connected Amagerthorv with Højbrostrde Bridge and Slotsholmen. The fire completely destroyed the area between the present Strohet and the channel. City architect Jorgen Heinrich Ravert later developed a master plan for the restoration of the area. Højbro Plads was designed to create a fire barrier while at the same time giving the area an aesthetic appearance. Most of the buildings surrounding the square were built immediately after the fire.

Until the XIX century vegetable and flower market on Amagertorv extended to the new Højbro Plads. Butchers were sent to the nearest Nikolai Plads.

Martin Nurop created a proposal for a new design of the square in 1900, but it was not implemented. Instead, it was renovated in 1995. 22 linden trees in the square were planted in 1998 as a result of a private donation. Their placement in the square was criticized by the former city architect Otto Kesner.

Most of the buildings surrounding the square are examples of neoclassical architecture that characterizes the construction boom after the fire and dominates much of the city center that can be seen today. Repeated elements are accented windows with triangular gables supported by consoles, recessed joints and friezes, usually above the second floor, decorated with patterns such as the Greek key or the Vitruvian scroll. The friezes were sold as standard items and could be bought in molded workshops for meters.

Qualified architects at the time were only used to build prestigious public buildings and townhouses for the elite, while the usual apartment buildings were designed by the craftsmen who built them. To promote good taste and reduce the gap between architecture and public buildings, Johann Friedrich Struensee took the initiative at the Royal Academy of Fine Arts to encourage such builders to take additional drawing lessons to develop the concept of "good taste". The construction boom resulting from the Great Fire of 1795 benefited greatly from this initiative. Kaspar Frederick Harsdorf was also commissioned to build a house on Kongens Nytorv, now known as the Harsdorf House, to serve as a model and inspiration for the builders in their work. In some houses on Højbro Plads, as in many neighboring streets, there are clear signs of the influence of this house.

The building on the corner with the store Kirkestræde (No. 3) is called the House of Warburg and was built in 1799 by Aron Leon Warburg, a wealthy merchant and manufacturer of stockings. Neighboring building number 5 was adapted in neo-Renaissance style by Martin Borch in 1897. Two houses located on the sides of Lile Strandstræde (nos. 9-11 and 13) and number 15, are also listed, these are neoclassical houses from the late 1790s . Both Nos. 19 and 21 were built by Andreas Hallander, one of the most active builders of that time. The latter, known as Ploug House, located at the corner with Ved Stranden, received a more monumental facade than other houses in the square to better match the chapel of Christiansborg.on the other side of the canal. The pilasters' motifs are so numerous that they dominate the entire building and are not limited to any one part of the facade, as was seen in the House of Harsdorf. 

The big house number 4 on the other side of the square, at the corner of Lederströde, was built in 1796-1797 and was originally built as the new headquarters of Johan Frederic Schultz printing house. It has 9 on the square and 20 bays on Lederstrada. The corner compartment is topped by a small spire, which was added around 1900. The building housed the Ministry of Environment from 1993 to 2014. Now it has been converted into apartments, and on the first floor is the flagship store Moss Copenhagen. Five-storey house number 6 was built in 1804-06 by Niels Schoenberg Kurzhals for silk and fabric merchant Lorenz Andreas Hinrichsen. The four-compartment house in house number 8 was built for another silk and fabric merchant, Nikolai Abraham Kall. The building at the corner of Gammel Strand (No. 10) is the former headquarters of the insurance company Kgl Brand. The building was originally designed by Fritz Koch, but completed after his death by Gottfred Tweede in 1906. It now houses the law firm Johan Schlüter.

The equestrian statue of Absalon was designed by Wilhelm Bissen. It depicts Absalon in the image of a warlord sitting on a swollen horse, in a ring, with an axe in his right hand and looking at the Palace of Christiansborg on Slotsholmene, where he built his castle in 1167. The statue stands on a high pedestal, which was designed by Martin Nurope. 

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