DIS, a study abroad center in Copenhagen, provides students with multiple opportunities to engage and reflect–alone or with others. The bright orange color sparks students’ energy levels while the organic form of seating in the library juxtaposes the rigidity of book shelves. Inspirational quotes line the walls, giving students a sense of purpose.
As the city expands, housing developments border Amager Nature Park. With over 3,000 acres, the park is one of the largest close to a metropolis – within biking distance. Grazing cows, horses and sheep keep trees and large plants down. The park includes everything from savannah, dense woods and salt marshes to bird-rich lakes and canals with frogs and snakes. Activities range from biking and walking to finding peace and studying rare plants.
Protecting natural resources
Denmark has the third best higher education system in the world. This curiosity to learn more about the world and to push their knowledge begins early, in the home. Walls lined-up with books, encourage children to learn and grow.
Honoring the pedestrian is one of the principles for rebuilding neighborhood retailing. Window displays along with the ability to see inside a store are characteristics that attract buyers and make them feel safe. The low windows on central Copenhagen enable all kinds of people to easily see what each store is about – children, adults, elders. The light coming from the windows increases visibility on the street, particularly at night, translating transparency to a sense of comfort and security.
Engaging the pedestrian through window placement
The pavement around Stork Fountain, one of the most famous fountains in central Copenhagen, is reminiscent of a carpet pattern. Its inviting nature means that often, visitors can be seen seating on the actual pavement during events in the plaza.
Material and Finishes
Copenhagen is punctuated by plazas and parks of all kinds, ones that provide activities for different ages and interests. Israels Plads square hovers over an underground parking lot, uniting the city and strengthening its urban fabric. Sculptural concrete steps allow people to spend time enjoying the sun or people-watching while water features provide children an opportunity to learn and play. There are also open spaces for small games of sports along with references to the plaza’s past as part of the city’s
Nørrebro, the city’s most diverse neighborhood, experiences health, income, and educational disparities. Blågårds Plads is a focal point for the neighborhood. The depressed central section, surrounded by 22 granite sculptures by Kai Nielsen, serves as a football field in summer and an ice-skating rink in winter. Built on the site of an iron foundry, the square fuses the city’s past with its present and future by providing spaces for people to come together to exercise and mingle.
On top of bicycles, Copenhagen relies on public transportation, such as the metro and buses. In fact, the city’s new metro is noted for its exceptional design features. In Norrebro, the main street is blocked off so that only buses and bicycles are allowed to drive through, ensuring that equity of access is achieved throughout the population.
Relationship-building for Danes extends into the family sphere. Respect of personal space and individuality is expressed by the practice of using personal bedding for double beds. Even though two people can share the same bed, they can each support their own comfort levels.
Caring for the individual and the collective
Copenhagen is filled with architecture that takes risks to defy the traditional definition of a building. Aside from 8House talked about earlier, Bjarke Ingel and his team have built other innovative residential buildings such as the VM Mountain, VM Houses, and Dortheavej. CopenHill, also known as Amager Bakke, is a Copenhagen-based heat and waste-to-power plant designed by the Bjarke Ingels Group and built in 2017. What is striking is that this industrial plant doubles as a ski slope as its roofline is designed to engage with the community, relating the value that a “sustainable city is not only better for the environment — it is also more enjoyable for the lives of its citizens.”
Architecture and risk-taking