New Karen Blixens Plads in Copenhagen merges urban space and nature
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 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.
An aerial view of the urban plaza; © Rasmus Hjortshøj – COAST.
Karen Blixens Plads, site plan; courtesy of COBE.
A sequence of artificial hills and circular lawns creates a gradual transition between hard and soft landscaping; photo © Rasmus Hjortshøj – COAST.
Cross-section of the plaza; courtesy COBE.
The bicycle parking spaces are located under several concrete domes whose outer surfaces form the “hills” of the undulated plaza; photos © Rasmus Hjortshøj – COAST.
View of the plaza at dusk; © Rasmus Hjortshøj – COAST.
All images are courtesy of COBE.
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