July 18 2012

Ørestad, Denmark: Cutting Edge Urban Fiber

Ørestad, Denmark

An ambitious project sets new grounds for innovation in Copenhagen

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, the surroundings are 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.

Ørestad, Denmark

Mountain dwellings, one of the iconic settlements proposes a change of landscape.

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.

Project time frame:

Site analysis in 1989
Infrastructure construction 1997-2002
Accepted urban planning proposal 2003
Continuous development at least 10 more years

Credits: Images and data linked to source

Denisa Petrus

Denisa Petrus, following a Constructing Architect Bachelors Degree at VIA University, in Denmark, recently graduated after completing her final project at the Polytechnic University of Valencia, Spain. Her international educational background and practice as project architect in Dublin helped her gain a expanded perspective over the streamlining process from design to construction. She aims to further develop her commitment to the sustainability paradigm by starting a Master in Sustainable Architecture degree in the near future. Currently settled in Copenhagen, Denmark, a genuinely environmentally-conscious city, Denisa is constantly inspired by its` vitality and pragmatic approach. Her blogs sketch and summarize the Scandinavian urban experience, a symbiosis between contexts and behavior, esthetics and technology.

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This entry was posted on Wednesday, July 18th, 2012 at 8:25 pm and is filed under Architecture, Energy, Engineering, Environment, Environmental Design, Housing, Infrastructure, Land Use, Landscape Architecture, Social/Demographics, Urban Development/Real Estate, Urban Planning and Design. You can follow any responses to this entry through the RSS 2.0 feed. You can leave a response, or trackback from your own site.

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