Denmark’s Got Talent: 10 “Democratic” Landscape Architecture Projects in Denmark
Article by Andrea Robezzati – Following on in our world series we have selected 10 awesome projects that perfectly represent landscape architecture in Denmark today.
Have you ever been in Denmark? Are you planning to travel in this country? If not, let’s check for flights and come to meet one of the most democratic cultures of the world! It is widely recognized that Denmark is one of the most liveable countries, especially in its capital city of Copenhagen. Where is the relationship between this fact and landscape architecture? Well, apparently not just a political debate, here in Denmark it will be strongly revealed to you as a social way of life!
Once, the politician Winston Churchill said: “First we shape the cities and then the cities shape us”. Denmark is one of the best examples where these words apply, where the landscape design shapes the hearts and souls of people.
Let’s go through the list together to discover how this is possible, thanks to these 10 powerful landscape projects!
Landscape Architecture Projects in Denmark
Situated in the northern portion of the country, Aalborg is one of the most highly populated cities in Denmark. In the last decades, the city has concentrated on building a “cozy cosmopolitan atmosphere”, especially along its waterfront which, in two different phases, has been transformed into a cultural quartier with new university buildings, student housing, and a striking concrete music hall. The project started in 2004 with the first phase and was completed one year ago with the second and last stage.
The master plan of Aalborg waterfront creates a new relationship between the medieval city and the adjacent fjord; what was formerly a back-side now is turned into a new, attractive front. The new promenade is one kilometer long and works as a unifying element between all the different sequences that you can find walking or biking along it; spacious plazas perfectly integrated with large green areas, play landscapes, steps, and recessed terraces that allow you to get close to the water.
The boulevard is designed with very unusually high quality, in all its parts. The materials chosen are as raw as the fjord itself, including asphalt, rubber, Cor-Ten steel, concrete, and wood, while at the same time containing subtle references to the sea through wavy pavement patterns.
An urban plinth forms a raised base which provides flood protection and unifies the area’s distinctive, freestanding buildings, including university buildings, student housing, and the Coop Himmelblau-designed concert hall Musikkens Hus. Contrast and versatility have been the leading principles in the design of Aalborg Waterfront, and the waterfront has already become Aalborg’s urban garden.
Kildebjerg Ry is a very popular residential area for families mainly because of the beautiful surrounding countryside that lends itself to a wide variety of outdoor activities. Since the community wants to expand this integrated system of leisure and sports, the Danish studio CEBRA was asked to design three activating and innovative activity zones for different purposes that form an integral part of the landscape.
The Play Zone is designed for both playing and working out. People of all ages can go to this group of geometrical trees right next to the local gym to either climb, swing, or train with weights. The Pulse Zone is a literal bulge on the existing paths as it prompts horizontal movement.
The paths loop into a group of bowls created for running, biking, and skating at speeds dictated by the actual slant of the bowls. The third zone complements these active zones and provides a more contemplative space. This is the Zen Zone, where people can enjoy slower and gentler activities such as yoga or stretching.
The Zone itself provides a green and quiet environment partly shielded under trellises and is placed on an artificial island in a small lake, which supports its meditative purpose and relaxing atmosphere.
If it is true that some of the best ideas in the world were generated during a walk through nature, Novo Nordisk Park should be the perfect space for the company’s employees, and for you, too!
In 2010 a leading pharmaceutical company, Novo Nordisk, required a green space that would be just as innovative as the company itself. The talented studio SLA designed this space, taking inspiration from nature, with a sensational result and interpretation of a phenomenon known from the Danish woodlands: the dead-ice landscape.
Albert Einstein once said: “if you look deeper into nature, everything else will be better understood”, and this park interprets these words perfectly in a clear demonstration that the touch of nature is still essential in contemporary society. Novo Nordisk Park embraces the company buildings, in a very huge topographic design.
The pathways winding through the natural area stimulate the senses of the Novo Nordic employees and facilitate knowledge exchanges, discussions, synergy, and social meetings between employees in transit. The boundaries between working life and leisure disappear; frogs, trees, red cheeks, and wonder become natural elements of a day’s work.
Is it not strange, if on winter days, during your biking tour around the Copenhagen canals, with a strong wind in your face and frozen bike lanes under your wheels, you see people along the water’s edge, wearing only costumes and jumping into the frozen water?
Maybe you think that they are trying for some sort of world’s record, but in fact this is a deep and very common ritual in Nordic countries, especially in Finland where it originated. The “North Bath” is the expression of a very special sensibility with the water and is an activity that has social, medical, and cultural aspects well-founded in Scandinavians’ perception of life.
One of the coolest places to take the “North Bath” in Denmark is the Winter Bath in Brygge Island in Copenhagen.
Inaugurated in 2002, the Harbour Baths has had a really big success, not only amongst Danes but also amongst foreign visitors to the city. The indisputable approval of people has led to the extension of the facilities in order to accommodate thermal bathing.
Designed by Danish architectural firm BIG, the wooden platform was finally extended to accommodate the swimming pools and lifted at the end to allow the underlying saunas and thermal baths to overlook the harbour. The inclined surface, made of Scandinavian wood, functions as an open-air platform for sunbathing or relaxing during the summer while the space below glows like a lantern during the dark months.
In the last few years, Denmark has invested a lot to build new infrastructure for bikes, like bike lanes and bridges, underlining its purpose to be one of the most sustainable countries in the world. One of the most exciting projects is the Butterfly Bridge in Copenhagen.
This lightweight foot- and cycle bridge is very unique due to the very specific situation of the site: three different banks are connected by three decks that meet above the water surface of Christianshavn canal in a star shape.
Butterfly Bridge takes its name from its form when two of three dynamic crossings are elevated for passing sailboats. When both doors are open at the same time, they form a butterfly, a beautiful figure which is spectacular for its size.
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