By Denisa Petrus at Global Site Plans – The Grid

Financial and social needs have brought decisive urban expansion in the Danish capital; pushing the urban borders towards the South, bridged by the centre of the city and the Kalvebod Fælled natural reservation, and stretching over five km with six metro stops. Exploration of the site, closely linked to the airport and Sweden (half an hour by train), magnifies its high business potential. Nevertheless, Copenhagen’s Ørestad district is envisioned to incorporate all the needs for a newly-born community.


The Finish architects ARKKI envisioned a grid infrastructure with the metro as one bold line, suspended above canals and green patches. This is trespassed perpendicularly by sections that separate the four different districts, all covering cross functions. With this scene set, the architects proposed outlines mostly free of constrains. Yes, the context deliberately challenges bursting creativity and innovation; but it is still a ground for experimentation and innovative experiences.


Nowadays, sky-rises overlook Copenhagen from the new district. It houses 60,000 employees, 20,000 students and 20,000 inhabitants. Renowned architects have brought daring contemporary designs that would not have been easily integrated in the old centre. Still, a contextual dialog exists. The architects have negotiated with the reality. Heavy materials, together with organic finishes, bring nature in with imposing structures, vertical gardens, edgy shapes, sharply-sloped roofs, and artificial hilly playgrounds.


The modern high quarters sparked an architectural revolution, yet the impressive costs and out-of-the-box landscape design stirred a social counter reaction. Its geographical position and distance from the protected, compact city exposes the new urban strip to strong winds. Moreover, the top levels of the towers enforce it as well. Yes, there are small details that were missed in the initial planning and a sense of conservatism, but young families have embraced the idea. Without any doubt, the urban layout needs a thicker social layer to blend its functions and coagulate them.


As long as there is a linking path, although a steep one at the moment, between experimental urban development and successful social sustainability, it means that crossing it brings higher achievements.


Images courtesy of Ulf Liljankoski and Jan Kuusisaari on flickr

Voici une analyse critique intéressante du nouveau quartier de Copenhague qui fait parler de lui à travers le monde grâce à des architectures extraordinaires tel le projet du « 8 » de Big. Histoire de relativiser les choses… et l’avenir nous dira de qui avait raison!

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