The City Dune / SEB Bank

Turning a bank's headquarter into a generous, playful, and climate-adapted public place.

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Line Agnes Bjørløw Skjærlund

Head of Business Development


Copenhagen, Denmark


7,300 m2


2007 — 2011


SEB Bank and Pension


Lead landscape architect

Partners & Collaborators

Lundgaard & Tranberg, Rambøll

The City Dune is a green and welcoming public space for employees of SEB Bank’s Copenhagen headquarters and an inviting place for local citizens to enjoy.

SLA has created the iconic urban space that connects the two buildings, making up SEB Bank’s Danish headquarters. As well as being an obvious place for the employees at SEB Bank to socialize and enjoy their lunch, the City Dune quickly became a popular public destination for recreational activities and stays on both workdays and weekends.

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The City Dune is designed with a terrain that rises from street level to second-floor height, covering the roof of the bank’s parking garage. Its big, folding movement is inspired by the sand dunes of Northern Denmark and the snow dunes of the Scandinavian winter.

The 300 meters of winding ramps foster a new relationship between the urban space and the two office buildings situated at different levels. When passing through the area, the space evolves and opens in different directions, creating new spatial connections in the process. Despite the 7 meters height difference, the space is fully accessible and allows wheelchair users, pedestrians, and cyclists alike an opportunity for recreation along the route.

fig. 4 The City Dune is constructed as a green roof atop the bank's parking garage.
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“SEB is living proof that you can create value with urban space. The branding value of our landscape is five times bigger than what a regular branding campaign with the same budget could have given us.”

— Peter Høltermand, CEO of SEB, Arkitekten March 2011

The City Dune is Copenhagen’s first climate-adapted urban space. All rainwater is collected and re-used for irrigation and cooling of the urban space in summer. Thus, no rainwater ends up in the sewers or on the roads. The Nordic vegetation and trees provide shade on hot summer days and shelter when it rains as well as providing SEB Bank with a strong and unique Nordic identity.

The contour of the terrain not only handles functional and technical demands from drainage, accessibility, lighting, and the creation of a root-friendly bearing layer. It also offers a variety of routes for employees and clients of SEB as well as ordinary Copenhageners, creating an ever-changing urban space.

fig. 7 The project borrows its big, folding movement from the sand dunes of Northern Denmark and the snow dunes of the Scandinavian winter.
fig. 8 The dunes of Råbjerg Mile in Northern Jutland.


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