The Fire Shelter
Simon Hjermind Jensen, founder and lead designer at SHJWORKS, created the Fire Shelter together with a team of architect colleagues.
A well-traveled student, Jensen studied all over the world to develop his unique taste in design. The top schools he attended inclueded the Royal Danish Academy of Fine Arts School of Architecture in Copenhagen, Denmark, and RMIT in Melbourne, Australia. After college, Jensen worked at a variety of firms in Copenhagen and London. While many architects find great inspiration in world travel, Jensen claims nature to be his leading muse. In our interview, Jensen says, “Nature inspires me a lot. Right now, I am especially looking at trees. Mainly, I am looking at form and shapes in nature. Folklore, regarding cultural ornaments, inspires me, and then social situations are also a big source of inspiration.”
A place built for no one in particular—to be used by everyone
SHJWORKS proudly stands as a firm that merges people and places in a single design. Though, the design of Fire Shelter: 01 strays from this practice somewhat. This piece was made for no one in particular, but acts as a place for people to come together from all over. Jensen says, “I did not want a client for the Fire Shelter: 01. I had a huge interest in doing a project without any kind of compromises. So, I guess in this case, you can say I was the client, too. I paid production and material myself.” Jensen built this shelter independently, without any guidelines or constraints. That the place was built illegally just adds to the appeal. Because of this, modern day conveniences of building were not accessible—materials were hauled to the site by trolley and ladders were nonexistent.
Glow in the dark
Fire Shelter: 01 is located just twenty minutes from downtown in Sydhavnstippen area of Copenhagen. Built from plywood and polycarbonate, the shelter uses CNC technology to maintain its shape. Simple in design yet elegant with details, this shelter has no windows, only two openings for coming and going. There is a hole at the top of the structure to let in more light and allow for smoke ventilation should a fire be lit inside. From first glance, the exterior of the shelter is simple plywood, but at night, the place glows. With a fire lit inside, the shelter illuminates the dark sky with a bright orange glow.
Inside, the shelter is completely open. A bench lines the walls to accompany visitors. A single fire place is centrally located to heat the space during the cooler months. Looking up, a white transparent polycarbonate material makes up the tip of the shelter to lighten up the interior. Simplicity is key both inside and out of this shelter.
Jensen holds a high regard for the land on which the shelter was placed. Though the project is only temporary, Jensen made it a point to not risk the lands original setting. A piece that may have been a wild card at first is now one of SJHWORKS most celebrated works. △