Sankt Kjeld's Square and Bryggervangen

A Copenhagen landmark for nature-based cloudburst protection combined with recreational spaces, biodiversity, and new infrastructure.

Curious for more?

Bjørn Ginman

Project Director, Landscape Architect MAA MDL

Location

Copenhagen, Denmark

Size

34,900 m2

Year

2015 — 2019

Client

The City of Copenhagen

Role

Concept and design

Partners & Collaborators

NIRAS, HOFOR, Viatrafik, Jens Rørbech and Ebbe Dalsgaard

Sankt Kjeld’s Square and Bryggervangen form a cornerstone in the Copenhagen Climate District and is one of the city’s largest and greenest cloudburst mitigations projects to date.

The project shows how making our neighborhoods resilient to future cloudbursts can go hand in hand with green and recreational urban spaces that enhance biodiversity and reduce traffic, air pollution, and the urban heat island effect.

fig. 1 A network of green rainwater beds enables the urban spaces to handle even the most intense cloudbursts.
fig. 2 Two-thirds of the area's asphalt, equivalent to 9,000 m2, has been converted into green urban spaces.

Rainwater is now contained and delayed in numerous specially designed green urban spaces which will protect the neighborhood from flooding. Instead of channeling the rainwater into overfilled sewers, it is instead dealt with locally. Thus, the water gives life to plants and trees as well as creating new blue-green nature experiences, right in the middle of the city.

 

The project brings 586 new trees of 48 local species to the neighborhood. It also brings a whole new type of nature to the city. One that is both aesthetic, functional, biodiverse, and sustainable.

For the project, SLA’s plant specialists and architects have defined a distinctive city nature of Copenhagen; one that learns from characteristic biotopes in Copenhagen – such as Utterslev Mose, Kongelunden, and Amager Fælled – and their natural processes.  A new nature, which gives the Copenhageners a strong aesthetic feeling of nature right on their doorstep. 

Bryggervangen and Sankt Kjeld’s Square is designed to actively increase the biodiversity in the city. It functions as a dispersal corridor and “green infrastructure” between the nearby parks, Fælledparken and Kildevældsparken, and is designed to give home to the local flora and founa.

fig. 3 A layer of pine cone scales and needles help create the perfect biotope for the area's pine trees to thrive and form a crackling forest-like floor.
fig. 4
fig. 6
fig. 5

In addition to solving the area’s climate challenges, Sankt Kjeld’s Square & Bryggervangen adds several new opportunities for outside activity. By narrowing the formerly trafficked roads, optimizing parking, and adding new bicycle routes through the nature-rich spaces, safe and stimulating mobility is now a certainty for all. 

A network of pathways has been laid out between the newly planted trees, inviting everyone to explore the spaces beneath the treetops for hidden treasures like mirabelle plums, walnuts, and crab apples. The urban spaces have areas for outside service in the sun, benches for a quiet break between the trees and large, dead trees for kids to climb and insects to inhabit. 

The transformation of Sankt Kjeld’s Square and Bryggervangen has already given rise to a new sense of local identity and community. Where you formerly met an area characterized by grey infrastructure, you now sense a green neighborhood.

“Through a distinctly interdisciplinary approach, the team has managed to put an architectural idea at the forefront of the work on Copenhagen's basic infrastructure.”

— From the jury report of Årets Arne 2020 - The Danish Association of Architects' annual award which Sankt Kjeld's Square and Bryggervangen won in 2020.
fig. 8
fig. 7
fig. 10
fig. 9

As part of our service, we have developed a nature-based care and maintenance plan for the area.

Owing to its distinctive nature design, Sankt Kjeld’s Square and Bryggervangen introduced a paradigm shift in relation to care and maintenance. The city nature is designed to grow more ‘wildly’ and thus requires less and cheaper maintenance – which nevertheless adds much more natural value to the city.

While the central, practical challenge behind the project was to handle rainwater falling in the area, SLA’s project also focuses on the additional benefits we can get from nature-based climate adaptation: the blue, the green, the healthy, the sensuous, the biodiverse, and the social. In short, all that makes life in the city worth living.

08.06.2018

City Nature
A definition

Read more

Fundamentals

Have a look into the fundamentals of our office

fund. 25

Roots

“A tree consists of three parts: Its foliage, its trunk, and its roots. All three parts are important for the aesthetic feeling of nature. But of these three I find the roots most intriguing, most…

Read more

fund. 27

White

“In the beginning was chaos. While the universe began to expand after Big Bang it also decreased in temperature. It became more and more ordered. With that order, the Universe changed its background colour toward…

Read more

fund. 26

Atmosphere

“Atmosphere is a thin film of enclosure around our world. Without our vaporous, water filled atmosphere, life on Earth – or indeed life anywhere – would not exist. But atmosphere is also what you sense…

Read more

fund. 20

Sakuteiki
– The Book of Garden

Sakuteki – The Book of Garden is a manual, a textbook for Japanese gardeners in the 11th century. This introduction sounds like this: “In making the garden, you should first understand the overall principles. According…

Read more

fund. 19

Essay: The Bark Room

“Bark is both living and dead, growing and cracking, a shell, a protective layer and an integral part of the wood’s tissue. It’s the bark structure and the way it peels, which separates the different…

Read more

fund. 26

Sound

“Sound. The soundtrack of our lives often passes us by without us noticing. But I have begun noticing the poetry of the noises around me. The rhythm and the song of the poet. The calling…

Read more

fund. 12

Mist

Mist is a phenomenon caused by small droplets of water suspended in air. Physically, it is an example of a dispersion. It is most commonly seen where warm, moist air meets sudden cooling, such as…

Read more