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; courtesy of COBE.

Completed in 2019 after a design by award-winning Danish architectural firm COBE, Karen Blixen 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

Karen Blixens Plads Copenhagen plaza COBE 06

Karen Blixens Plads Copenhagen plaza COBE 02

Karen Blixens Plads Copenhagen plaza COBE diagram

Karen Blixens Plads Copenhagen plaza COBE 07

A sequence of artificial hills and circular lawns creates a gradual transition between hard and soft landscaping.

Karen Blixens Plads Copenhagen plaza COBE section

Karen Blixens Plads Copenhagen plaza COBE detailed section

Cross-sections of the plaza. Courtesy COBE.

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Karen Blixens Plads Copenhagen plaza COBE bicycle parking

Karen Blixens Plads Copenhagen plaza COBE 03

The bicycle parking spaces are located under several concrete domes whose outer surfaces form the “hills” of the undulated plaza.

Karen Blixens Plads Copenhagen plaza COBE 04

View of the plaza at dusk.

All photographs © Rasmus Hjortshøj; courtesy of COBE.


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