New Karen Blixens Plads in Copenhagen merges urban space and nature

Place: Copenhagen, Country: Denmark
Architectural Design: COBE (https://www.cobe.dk/)

Karen Blixens Plads Copenhagen plaza COBE 01

The new Karen Blixens Plads urban plaza in south Copenhagen with the Amager Commons in the background; photo © Rasmus Hjortshøj – COAST.

Completed in 2019 after a design by award-winning Danish architectural firm COBE, Karen Blixens Plads is a new iconic plaza connecting the Copenhagen University South Campus with Amager Commons, a 40-hectare natural reserve in the southern part of the Danish capital.

With a total area of 21,415 square meters/230,000 square feet, the plaza, one of the largest urban spaces in Copenhagen, is aimed at connecting the three main entrances of the university while, at the same time, providing a recreational space for the students and parking space for up to 2,000 bicycles.

To create a seamless transition between the urban space and Amager Commons, COBE designed the plaza as an undulated surface, with the bicycle parking lots located under a sequence of “hills” made in reinforced concrete and clad with tiles whose beige color echoes that of the university buildings nearby. At the same time, the Danish firm devised a gradual metamorphosis of the hard-landscaped area of the plaza into a green space by the means of a number of circular grass lawns that progressively transform into larger organic-shaped artificial meadows.

“The urban space is connected to Amager Commons through a gradual transition, which makes Karen Blixens Plads a hybrid of a park and a public square (…) As a natural meeting place, the area offers a flexible zone where many different activities can unfold, including informal breaks, lectures, group work or events outside of school hours, serving as an urban living room”; COBE says.

Karen Blixens Plads Copenhagen plaza COBE 06

An aerial view of the urban plaza; © Rasmus Hjortshøj – COAST.

COBE, Karen Blixens Plads Copenhagen, site plan

Karen Blixens Plads, site plan; courtesy of COBE.

Karen Blixens Plads Copenhagen plaza COBE 02

A sequence of artificial hills and circular lawns creates a gradual transition between hard and soft landscaping; photo © Rasmus Hjortshøj – COAST.

Karen Blixens Plads Copenhagen plaza COBE section

Cross-section of the plaza; courtesy COBE.

Karen Blixens Plads Copenhagen plaza COBE 08

Karen Blixens Plads Copenhagen plaza COBE 09

Karen Blixens Plads Copenhagen plaza COBE 10

The bicycle parking spaces are located under several concrete domes whose outer surfaces form the “hills” of the undulated plaza; photos © Rasmus Hjortshøj – COAST.

Karen Blixens Plads Copenhagen plaza COBE at dusk

View of the plaza at dusk; © Rasmus Hjortshøj – COAST.

All images are courtesy of COBE.


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