‘Biotope’ by SHJWORKS. An experimental natural microcosm in Copenhagen

Place: Copenhagen, Denmark
SHJWORKS, "Biotope", Copenhagen.
photos by SHJWORKS


“Biotope” by SHJWORKS. An experimental natural microcosm in Copenhagen

SHJWORKS – the Danish design office led by Simon Hjermind Jensen, renowned for its shell-like micro-architectures – has recently presented “Biotope”, an organic-shape urban greenhouse containing a natural microcosm populated by plants and insects.

One of the most interesting aspects of this project is its experimental approach. The structure is a temporary pavilion aimed to investigate if and how an enclosed natural microcosm – accommodating 60 different plant species – could survive in the harsh and hostile environment of our cities. As a matter of fact, climate changes will substantially modify our way of life, and maybe we will integrate plants and biological microcosms into our future homes. Therefore, the Biotope project originates from a question: “Is it possible to create a network of interconnected micro-climates in which humans – like the bees living in this urban greenhouse – will be able to live?”


The experiment excludes human interventions, maintenance, and any external interference to the greenhouse for the next three years.
The pavilion has been “tailored” to the site it was built into: a triangular lot, located near a railway station and a road junction crossed every day by a large number of automobiles, bicycles, and pedestrians.
7 meters long, 4 meters wide, and 3 meters high, “Biotope” consists of a concrete “bowl” that contains the soil and can also be used as a bench, a Polycarbonate shell, plants, bees, and a plywood beehive; the transparent shell is the latest example of the curved shell manufacturing technique developed by Shjworks.


 SHJWORKS, biotope, external views




 SHJWORKS, biotope, interior views, and details of the beehive.


 SHJWORKS, biotope, perspective.

The project is supported by “Områdefornyelse Fuglekvarteret” and was made in collaboration with:
Vilmer Jensen, Structural Engineer
Morten Plesner, Artist, expert of bees
Thomas Bentsen, plant seeds consultancy
Lorenz Sedlmayr, architecture student and assistant.

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