Daylighting Østerå

After years underground, Aalborg's lost stream will be brought to daylight to bring new nature-based resilience and life to the city.

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Karsten Thorlund

Head of SLA Aarhus, Architect MAA

Location

Aalborg, Denmark

Size

7 ha over a 2 km stretch

Year

2018 — 2023

Client

The municipality of Aalborg

Role

Design leadscape architect

Partners & Collaborators

Rambøll

Daylighting Østerå is an ambitious landscape and climate adaptation project, aiming to reconnect the city of Aalborg with the nature surrounding it.

The water flowing from the southern river valley to the Limfjord has been culverted ever since industrialization. But times have changed. The sewage system has been modernized and the stream water is clean. Aalborg Municipality now wishes to develop the Østerå area in a way that brings new nature qualities and stronger biodiversity, that adapts the city center to a changing climate, and that creates new social meeting places.

SLA’s design includes an eventful 2-kilometer route passing through three new lush city parks – along with a multitude of new recreative connections through the city.

The fjord and the river valley
Gabriel Park

The project connects three new nature-based parks; Karolinelund, Åparken and Gabriel. From here you can follow the open course of the stream and a rich city nature with varied species. With a walking and cycling path throughout the city, the landscape design connects the city from one end to the other: From the magnificent nature to the urban part of central Aalborg.

The opening of the stream will protect Aalborg against extreme rainfalls and cloudbursts. The greater capacity for diversion of rainwater relieves the rainwater catchments of the river and helps to make the city more robust to extreme rain events and cloudbursts.

Daylighting Østerå is a part of Aalborg Municipality’s comprehensive strategy for creating a greener, climate-adapted and biodiverse Aalborg.

 

Herbarium of plants found around Østerå As part of the early analysis, our biologists did a thorough registration of the local plants and wildlife. The analysis feeds into our planting design while also working as a biodiversity baseline.

The three new riverside parks consist of:

Karolinelund: First a military garden with canals, then an amusement park, now an urban neighbourhood-park with large old trees, historical traces, and activities all day around.

Åparken: A former railway area that has been left to itself, where a unique mix of species, also known as ruderat or terrain-vague, has been allowed to grow between railway tracks and large lamp posts.

Gabriel: The area where the river meets the city, where the watermills and later industry used the hydropower of Østerå river. A green and lush area where the running river will be a good living place for fish.

In each of the three parks, SLA is working with the local vegetation characteristics, aiming at creating a landscape rich in nature, constantly in process, evolving over time.

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…

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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…

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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…

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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…

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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…

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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…

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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…

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