Budolfi Square

SLA's new masterplan has changed Budolfi Square from an unwelcoming parking space into a lush green gathering point for the entire city.

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Karsten Thorlund

Head of SLA Aarhus, Partner, Architect MAA

Location

Aalborg, Denmark

Size

13,800 m2

Year

2015 — 2018

Client

Aalborg Kommune

Role

Full-service advisor for comprehensive plan, quality program for buildings, and design and planning of urban spaces.

Partners & Collaborators

byMUNCH, Kjaer & Richter, NCC and ÅF Lighting

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Budolfi Square lies in the shade of the cathedral of Aalborg, and for hundreds of years, it was a natural gathering point for the inhabitants of Aalborg. Until the 1960s, when it became one of the many victims of our newly found fascination with cars and was turned into a parking space.

In the process of giving this central square back to the inhabitants of Aalborg, we turned the usual way of developing cities around. We created a project proposal and master plan for the area that ensured that the qualities of the urban space were put first — inspiring the buildings to adapt to the urban space – and not the usual other way around. By doing so, we created a neighborhood with a truly unique feel that, once again, allows the inhabitants of Aalborg to gather in the shade of the whitewashed cathedral of Aalborg.

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The entire square is, in fact a green roof erected on top of an underground parking complex. Putting all the cars underground created a calm, safe, and lush area shaded by big trees. The greenery of the square now offers a calming break and has a welcoming atmosphere in stark opposition to the parking space that used to be there.

The entire master plan is based on extensive research into the neighborhood’s wants and patterns, such as pedestrian flow, weather, and wind conditions, and the area’s unique microclimate, to make sure that the result would emphasize the unique qualities as well as meet the needs of the neighborhood. Resulting in a thriving and calming square, once again acting as the natural meeting point for the entire city.

Budolfi Square received Aalborg municipality’s Architecture Award 2020 for transforming one of Aalborg’s central squares from an asphalt-ridden parking space to a new green public plaza with shops, cafes, and housing, together with improved public life and strengthened biodiversity. It was also chosen as the Danish representative at the 2021 European Green Cities Award.

You can see a short video on the project below

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