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university of copenhagen d e pa rt m e n t o f g e o s c i e n c e s a n d n at u r a l r e s o u r c e m a n a g e m e n t

t r a n s f o r m at i o n o f c o p e n h a g e n harbour front urbanism studio 2016/2017

University of Copenhagen Department of Geosciences and Natural Resource Management Division of Landscape Architecture and Planning Urbanism Studio 2016/2017 Editing & layout : Anne Madsbjerg & Josh Reed Students 1. Urban Archipelago Anna Maya Handberg, Zhiqi Liang, Peter Sørensen, Jonathan Stimpfle, Marie Nygaard Svendsen









2. Between Harbour & Sea Astrid Andreasen, Isanoor Djezzaz Nielsen, Malene Prytz Larsen, Tim Warin, Yuanyi Cen 3. Inverted Green Dagbjört Gardarsdóttir, Diego Chanove, Ke Xu, Martina Rehn, Sidsel Danvold 4. Refshaleøen: Cultivating curiosity Ina Maria Weinreich, Laura Bogstad, Marie Rougeot, Patricia Schmidt Sandager, Rasmus Østergaard Lind 5. Refshaleøen reused Ana Panoias, Andreas Gansted Brink, Natasja Parsons, Terese Sofie Hjorth Rasmussen, Yaming Xiao 6. Refshaleøerne: Islets of Refshaleøen Johan Ludvig Bratt, Laura Kirstine Mølbak Vangsgaard, Lucia Moretti, Mathies Nissen Andersen, Nanna Høgsberg Kristensen 7. Refshaleøen: Urban Dichotomy Karin Skaarup, Katrine Howarth, Skarphéðinn Njálsson, Yuhe Zhang, Troels Friis 8. Retrace Refshaleøen Malene Almind, Simone Haxholm, Anne Simone Lindboe, Emil Hejberg, Calum Mitchell


Transformation of Copenhagen Harbour Front

Table of Contents 0. Introduction..................................................... p. 4-9 1. Urban Archipelago........................................... p. 10-23 2. Between Harbour & Sea.................................. p. 24-37 3. Inverted Green................................................. p. 38-49 4. Refshaleøen: Cultivating curiosity................... p. 50-63 5. Refshaleøen reused........................................... p. 64-75 6. Refshaleøerne: Islets of Refshaleøen................ p. 76-87 7. Refshaleøen: Urban Dichotomy....................... p. 88-99 8. Retrace Refshaleøen......................................... p. 100-111



PhD Fellow Anne Madsbjerg Daily Supervisor Professor Ellen Marie Braae Course Responsible & supervisor Professor Gertrud Jørgensen Supervisor Professor Stig Lennart Andersson Supervisor Josh Reed Teaching Assistant 1954




Transformation of Copenhagen Harbour Front

Urbanism Studio is an advanced design studio for master students at the MSc Landscape Architecture Program at the University of Copenhagen. The theme of the 2016-2017 -course is ‘Transformation of Copenhagen Harbor Front’. The future of harbor fronts and other coastal areas constitute a big challenge not only in Copenhagen but around the globe. Yet every situation and context is different. The theme is explored through a former shipyard, an industrial peninsula called ‘Refshaleøen’, at the northern entrance to Copenhagen harbor. The site’s surface area is approx. 500,000 m2. An international group of 40 students is divided into eight teams. Each team produces one design project. Throughout the course period of nine weeks the students are introduced to site specific and strategic approaches to urban planning. They participate in discussions about urbanism and landscape architecture and contribute with new ideas and strategies. The overall aim of the project is to develop a long-term strategy for the site, which is rooted in a rich understanding of its qualities, problems and potentials. This understanding is firstly related to issues regarding 1) space, 2) public life and 3)

landscape/ecology on the site. Secondly the site is studied in relation to the urban context. The Task During the first part of the course the task is to come up with and test a number of transformational approaches and later to propose one final strategy for the development of Refshaleøen. To a large extent urban planning is about priorities, values and about finding good solutions to practical problems. It is however also a spatial, an artistic and an aesthetic exercise. Throughout the course solutions to these complex questions and issues are discussed, tested and evaluated. We aim at an extended focus on ‘spatial evolution’, ‘evolution of public life‘, and ‘ecological evolution‘. The proposed strategic plans should not be presented as static once-and-for-all designs (final outcomes), but rather as sequences of actions, which channel the development in a certain direction. Thus it becomes important to work with time perspectives and scenarios for possible desirable futures. In that way the involvement of the area will become a carefully orchestrated process. Educational goals The main educational goal of the course is to facilitate a process that leads to a clear understanding of what site specific and strategic urban planning entails. Urban planning is traditionally a means to project green-field urban development, yet we will be working with the redevelopment of an already manufactured area. The students are provided with an analytical apparatus able to encompass large complex urban areas and to bridge quantitative with qualitative data. In addition the understanding is fueled with appropriate theoretical contributions and the students are asked to

use theory for practice. The course is structured according to the project development and practice-oriented learning is thus key. The development of analytic and strategic skills as well as spatial and compositional artistry/craftsmanship is encouraged. The site Burmeister & Wain was a large Danish shipyard company and leading diesel engine producer headquartered on Refshaleøen. It went bankrupt in 1996. Since then the site has been in a slow transition. It used to be an almost purely mono-functional, industrial site. Now it attracts artists, climbers, rocket makers, start-up companies, cultural institutions, temporary events etc. In 2015 a temporary local plan for Refshaleøen was approved by Copenhagen Municipality. The local plan, which is binding until 2023, allows for diverse and flexible use of the old shipyard area. According to the plan only a few new buildings may be built. After 2023 the four pension funds, who own the site, hope that they can start to develop the area. They plan to sponsor a harbor tunnel from North Harbor to Refshaleøen and Amager. Creating this new infrastructural connection would make the site more attractive for future residents with cars. However, the harbor tunnel has not yet been politically approved. A dam between North Harbor and Refshaleøen is another large structure, which is most likely in the pipeline due to rising sea levels. According to the current plans the dam will protect the western part of the site while the eastern part will not be secured. Another important function, which has to be considered, is an existing water treatment plant on site. It cleans sewage water from a population of about 535,000. Due to bad smells it is, according to law, not pos-

sible to build housing in close proximity to the large sewage basins. Additionally the ground is heavily polluted due to the former industrial use. In spite of the challenges and restrictions mentioned above Refshaleøen could potentially become a visionary, inspiring and different place in Copenhagen Harbor. The site has a very prominent and attractive location at the water front with access and views to the water. It is located close to the city center and has a unique historic and aesthetic atmosphere. It is also one of the very last ‘untouched’ development areas in central Copenhagen. Currently there are no official plans for Refshaleøen. It is up to the students to frame their project proposals on the basis of experiential and centextual analysis. The Process The project development process is divided into five phases: three phases in 2016 and two phases in 2017. Phase 1: ‘Readings’ In Phase 1 we pay special attention to the spatial qualities and the phenomenological experience of the site. The strength of the phenomenological approach is that it enhances the students’ awareness and sensory perception of the spatial, aesthetic, climatic and topographic qualities and characteristics of the site. It is considered important that the site specific development plans are rooted in these initial studies. Each team explores one of three themes on the site: (a) space, (b), public life, (c) landscape/ecology. Three tools are produced to support the project work: Tool 1: Videos from the site Each team produces minimum five video clips which are combined into one video per team. The maximum length of the final

video is two minutes. The students can use their smart phones to record thematic impressions from the site. The strength of the film media is that it gives a very rich impression of the site. A site has many facets and a video can capture the richness of the moment, the walk, the panoramic impression etc. The students have to decide which experiences/impressions they will pursue and then subsequently capture them with the film media. They are encouraged to choose situations which are characteristic, unique, extreme or captivating in one way or another and to communicate them in the clearest or most creative way possible. Tool 2: A curated selection of photos When taking photos on the site the students play with different perspectives such as horizon/eye level, high eye level, low eye level and central eye level as well as zoom in (close up), zoom out (panorama) and micro, meso and macro level. They experiment with photo collages that mimic the experience of being embedded in a spatial setting. Even though horizon/eye-level is the most “common” perspective an environment is often perceived from different angles. Through the exercise this awareness of different perspectives is strengthened. Each team selects five thematic pictures. Tool 3: Experiential models This year we emphasize the importance of physical models in all phases. Instead of asking the teams to make typical registration diagrams that show the different layers of the site such as infrastructure, functions, public spaces, vegetation etc., we ask them to build 1:2000 models, which illustrate their personal experiences. It means that they have to be very alert and aware of their sensory perceptions of the site. Then they have to translate their experiences into a visual “language”. In other words, personal impressions on the site are trans-

formed into three dimensional, thematic interpretations. It does not have to be an “accurate” or an “objective” representation. What we are interested in is the perceptual “fragments”, “patterns” or “relations” that capture the students’ attention. Experiential models can have endless creative expressions. The way we do it is: 1) The teams print or hand draw a 1:2000 base map/ outline of the site on A1 paper. The paper is glued onto a foam board. 2) They draw their different thematic experiences on the paper with pens, pencils, coal or whichever type of drawing tools they prefer. 3) Finally three-dimensional objects and textures, pictures, cardboard, cords, needles etc. are added. We introduce one obstruction. The students are not allowed to use any colors (only white, grey and black) for this exercise. In the end the experiential models look like big thematic, three-dimensional collages rather than accurate models. Phase 2: ‘Relations’ In Phase 2 the students broaden their understanding by exploring the specificity of the site in relation to the context of the site. They zoom out to ‘city level’ and start to explore the site’s relationship with the surrounding city – with special focus on the Copenhagen harbor front. On one hand zooming out to a larger scale, increases the complexity of the project work. On the other hand more knowledge can help the teams to steer the development of Refshaleøen in a direction that makes sense, not just in the local context but on city level. It strengthens the argumentation and makes the strategic proposals more robust. All teams come up with three different approaches to the development of the site in relation to the context. (3 x 1:5000 3D plan drawings). Tool 4: Applied Theory Just like the tools in Phase 1, Tool 4 will

inform, support and guide the design process. The teams will collectively study eight relevant texts and discuss how theory can be applied to Refshaleøen. Each team reads one text, produces three slides and shares their interpretations with the other teams at a presentation. The selection of texts, follow various lines of thinking. They pursue certain values or aspects and are selected and grouped according to three creative objectives. This helps the students to broaden their understanding of these main issues: 1) “function follows form”, 2) “form follows public life”, 3) “form follows ecology”. Each team gives a ten-minutes oral presentation of their text addressing two parts: 1) What does the text say? 2) How can these statements be constructively applied to current and possible future versions of Refshaleøen? Phase 3: ‘Synthesis’ In Phase 3 the emphasis is on evolving strategies and on clear, visual storytelling. The evolving strategies are shown in minimum 3 steps: 1) the existing site analysis, 2) year 2030, 3) Long-term potential. Phase 4: ‘Composition’ In Phase 4, ‘Composition’, we pay special attention to the compositional qualities of the projects. The focus is primarily on the mutually dependent dialogue between building masses and the spaces in between and around the buildings. Thus the students train their capability to make successful compositions. The way we define a composition is that it determines the appearance, the layout, and the interrelationship of space and mass in a city, in a complex of buildings, or in an individual structure. Some of the key factors in the process of composing mass and space are: hierarchy, scale, proportion, shape/form, light/shade, rythm and structural pattern. Objects, landscape features and build-

ings seem easy to perceive while we are accustomed to think of space as a void: the absence of mass, filled with air. Space is the immaterial essence that architects and landscape architects envelop. The exterior of a single building, particularly one that is isolated from other architecture, does not create a space. It occupies the space. Thus, it may be experienced as a sculpture – a mass in a void. However, buildings are often experienced in relation to other building volumes. Together they form a building composition with a specific internal hierarchy. Sometimes a building composition is incorporated into a bigger structure or building pattern. This is often the case in dense urban areas. The shape and scale of the buildings are not solely determined by technical, structural and economic factors. The dimensions of the human body as well as man’s perceptions, behavioral patterns and emotions must also be taken into consideration. The perception of masses, like that of spaces, is rooted in one’s psychology. As (landscape-) architects we are trained to arouse predictable patterns of experience. We shape the framework for people’s lives. Careful considerations for human needs and human experiences are therefore essential in any great urban project. In this course we don’t have time to go into the design guidelines for each building composition or each area, but the students get a taste of what ‘building envelopes’ and compositional rules entail. Phase 5: ‘Presentation’ Phase 5 is the final and last phase before the final critique and the exam. In this phase the students finalize their projects and are encouraged to make great presentation material. They are provided with ten essential presentation guidelines and are guided though the process of creating clear and meaningful story lines. 5


Transformation of Copenhagen Harbour Front

Copenhagen harbour 2110. Areas that will potentially be threatened by storm water (


Ortophoto taken in 2017 (




Transformation of Copenhagen Harbour Front

Atmospheres of Refshaleøen (photos courtesy of Josh Reed)


Urban Archipelago Introduction Anna Maya Handberg Zhiqi Liang Peter Sørensen Jonathan Stimpfle Marie Nygaard Svendsen

As part of Copenhagen’s characteristic waterfront, Refshaleøen plays a relevant role in the urban organism. It’s located close to the city centre and is an important part of the harbour front to the west as well as the Øresund coastline to the east. Following the collapse of B&W shipping, diverse processes of reuse and natural succession began on the man made island. These processes have created a unique atmosphere linking industrial large-scale architecture, ecological biotopes and public life emerged. In view of all these facts and characteristics, Refshaleøen will be developed into a special island with diverse harbour islets, dense urban life and recreational green landscape structures: the ‘Urban Archipelago’.


Transformation of Copenhagen harbour front

At the interface of diverse islets and urban core


Approach The concept of the Urban Archipelago is developed on the basis of phenomenological experiences and an in depth analysis at various scales. At a large-scale perspective the archipelago is based on two logics and follows existing development patterns. The urban transformation along the west of the island, with its varying harbour islands, is like a string of pearls. The dynamic and recreational coastline in the east, follows the green structure of Amager Strandpark, within its amorphous islands. In this context Refshaleøen is like a ‘joint’ between the harbour and Øresund; urban and natural, sharp and variable. By developing and strengthening three different orders - the diverse islets, the urban core and the green scenery, Refshaleøen will become a central element of Copenhagen’s Urban Archipelago with various spatial and visual experiences.


Transformation of Copenhagen harbour front

From large-scale conception to the three orders of Refshaleøen

3 km

2 km

1 km


Open spaces op






de n






bo rf




Major traffic infrastructure

Refshaleøen as part of Copenhagen’s city organism


Three orders Diverse Islets The Diverse Islets follow the logic of the Copenhagen harbour. New canals strengthen the relation between water and site. The five different islets offer the possibility of diverse, functions and spatial developments within each area. Moreover it gives the chance to keep and improve the diversity of Refshaleøen’s current public life. Urban Core The Urban Core is inspired by the relationship between chaos and order. It’s a combination of existing large-scale architecture, successional randomness and the implementation of open spaces which are framed by an urban structure. Within the core, urban strips serve as connections between the canals in west and the vegetated areas in the east. Dynamic Scenery The eastern part of Refshaleøen is a dynamic recreational landscape with different spatial experiences and attractions. A path along the coast allows access to the water, and allows for movement around the island, with connections to the urban islets and the core. Topography and vegetation is developed into a dynamic and resilient landscape to adapt Refshaleøen to future impacts of climate change. This includes the development of the islets as wavebreakers, salt tolerant vegetation species and a marsh area with grazing animals.


Transformation of Copenhagen harbour front

five diverse islets

island promenade and bridges

Diverse islets

urban promenade

built-up and open space structure

infrastructure | boulevard, urban bridges and -strips

Urban core

recreational-green path | topography

vegetation | urban strips and scenery

Dynamic scenery

Three orders: diverse islets, urban core& dynamic scenery


Strategy The development of Refshaleøen is a process. The first step is to cut off the islands in the west in order to gain a better connection to the harbour of Copenhagen. At the same time the vegetation is developed and managed, creating a dynamic landscape as fast as possible. Furthermore, the public spaces are created in the urban core by building the first phase of built-up structures. In the long term, the next step is to provide a flexible grid inside the framed structures which allows the existing randomness and open development.


Transformation of Copenhagen harbour front

Refshaleøen 2030 development plan


Refshaleøen future plan



Strategy The coastline in the east will be shaped by natural processes and the water, so it will become softer in shape. The resilient species are further adapted, resulting in a dynamic and resilient urban Archipelago of Copenhagen. Public life has developed in the core through work, public transport, shopping, housing, public plazas and so on. The harbour front has also developed into an exciting edge with promenade, water, sun, view to the islands, and new surprising, diverse secrets around the corner.


Transformation of Copenhagen harbour front

urban strip and green scenery

Refshaleøen future plan



Space & Composition By developing Refshaleøen into an Urban Archipelago a high variety of spatial compositions and experiences with varying intensity will be created. A wide range of spaces between urban density and the openness of the seacoast. Along the hard harbour front the open promenade allows access and interaction with the water and the diverse islands. The urban core is characterised by the alternation of open spaces like the boulevard, several plazas, wide urban strips as well as intimate neighborhood squares and gardens. Clear built-up edges frame the main open spaces. The other side of these urban edges offers space for a diverse, small-scale neighborhood development based on a flexible grid. The heights of the building structure raise from the transition zones along the islets and the landscape structures to the iconic B&W ship hall in the centre.


Transformation of Copenhagen harbour front

agricultural island - urban core - green scenery


Space & Composition The green scenery is characterised by a wide range of nature and landscape experiences. By shaping the terrain and managing the vegetation, spaces at various scales are created. A strong concept of view axes shapes the different pattern of vegetation and allows visual connections between the hill in the centre of Refshaleøen and the new amorphous eastern coastline of Amager. This composition of water, urban and landscape structures creates the dynamic and resilient Urban Archipelago of Copenhagen.


Transformation of Copenhagen harbour front

Diverse islets, urban core and green scenery | Model’s 1:500

Urban Archipelago | Model 1:2000


Between Harbour and Sea Introduction Astrid Andreasen Isanoor Djezzaz Nielsen Malene Prytz Larsen Tim Warin Yuanyi Cen

This project is informed by the power of water, creating a design where historical traces and changing climate will come together in a response to an uncertain future. Refshaleøen will offer a destination that adds to Copenhagen by offering contrast, an urban forest to get lost in and seek out new experiences.


Transformation of Copenhagen harbour front

Refshaleøen, seen from the harbour


Approach, water force Pote ntial Futures ; wate r in a chang ing climate

Water is responsible for shaping most of our landmasses, constantly scraping and scouring away at the land, slowly pushing against the existing boundaries of coastlines. As we change the atmosphere, thermal expansion increases the saline mass and creates conditions for it to be thrown against the shore with increasing force. Against this ever increasing force we build damns, dykes and levees; matchsticks in comparison to the masses that water has moved before. Future impacts of cloudburst and storm surges have been used to imagine the island as it is deluged by water. This phenomenon of water force and it’s interrelation with the site has directly inspired terrain modeling in this project. Using existing fragility writ large to communicate an intrinsic relationship with natural forces.


Transformation of Copenhagen harbour front

Storm water flooding, Low lying areas liable 4th January 2017 to be flooded by rain water

Storm surge forecast, year 2100 Potential Storm surge water + wind

Introducing the Dam


Dynamic & floating coast line

Protection of the western harbour front

Cur re nt Co a s tl ine Copenhagen inner harbour

Cl o ud b ur s t Impa cts Low lying areas on the island that are liable to become inundated with water when the volume of incoming rain is greater than the ability of the land to drain.

S torm S u rge Fore c a st Ext rem e Areas of the island that are liable to be affected by incoming salt water in a storm surge event where swollen coastal waters and high tide combine with strong winds to push water onto the land.

S torm S u rge D e fe n c e Ext rem e A planned dam will protect the Copenhagen harbour in future, but the planned location will leave the East of the area to be flooded temporarily by extreme storm surges whilst the West is protected.



Source: (modified)

Design informed by phenomenological experience

Traces wind



Industr y



ion divis



An island of structures; a purposeful form with no purpose left. Life exists in the gaps left behind, surrounded by a past of concrete and steel.

water cleaning facility


series of evergreens



rationality & structures built components

pile of rocks

Fracture Solid barriers divide land, sea and air. Solidity decays, splits and cracks under the forces of nature. Time detracts and meaning erodes.

the mountain barrier bus stop

Trapped between industry, city and sea; the sounds and forms boom and glow in the distance. A companion and a looming presence both at once.

fracture surface in decay


avenue of poplars

Scale and form bring intrigue and confusion, navigation confounded by a maze of rationality. Familiar shapes in unfamiliar forms act as beacons.


industry heartbeat

Tainted and deserted, soil left saturated and barren. The process of healing comes from the ground up, rooted in the future.

Readings of the current condition



Design principle 1 - water A reading of future floods highlight vulnerability despite the concrete borders and stark geometric shapes upon which Refshaeløen is built. This fragility will be interpreted to provide a future form for Refshaleøen and define the structure of a new landscape. This scape will form the basis upon which the island will develop and continue to be shaped by water.


Transformation of Copenhagen harbour front

Formation of waterscape

old silos Ă˜resund

sea meadow

house boats Outline: past activities


non-saline soil

Refsh a


section line

series of new mountains old BW buildings

harsh planting environment

ebb and flow

trodden paths

Copenhagen city centre

forest wooden infrastructure connections

the yellow bridge

platform avenue of existing poplars

Site plan 20-future



Design principle 2 - grid of trees Layered upon a landscape that speaks of natural processes, vegetation will be rolled out in a grid. The landscape will define for itself where vegetative life is possible. Over time the elemental will bring an order, where shade and sun are optimal, vegetation will thrive. Where saline influence makes vegetation impossible, openness will dominate.

mutability/ noun: Capable of or subject to change or alteration.


Transformation of Copenhagen harbour front

Trees grow taller, children get older

Lyme grass saline soil


hardy trees new waterways

trodden paths

wooden platform


existing waterways

stone wall

avenue of existing poplars

Zoom-in of Refshaleøen future plan



Design principle 3 - destinations Destination points stage interventions and frame terrain. Existing elements are reimagined and formalised to create points that draw people through the landscape. As trees grow and the landscape matures, a dialect starts punctuated by the destination points. Trampled upon, climbed and enjoyed.


Transformation of Copenhagen harbour front

Development of destinations over time


ebb and flow Ă˜resund forever and ever and ever and ever

lighthouse section line Sea meadow

trodden paths


Destination zoom-in



Destination Refshaleøen meets the Ă˜resund. The harsh saline environment creates open spaces as the shoreline eases into the sea. The lighthouse destination looks out, connecting with the water that expands into the distance.


Transformation of Copenhagen harbour front

The coast meets the Ă˜resund



Between harbour and sea Water Movement of water starts to mature the site and create new forms. Energy of water hitting the East coastline and runoff from rain start to the shape the outlines of the surface. Vegetation Succession occurs, with clearly defined areas with differing vegetative order. Ecosystems stabilize and flows of trophic energy settle, supporting animal life within the landscape. Destinations Paths between destinations become trodden and formalised. The points settle in the landscape and become part of the island. Attention is drawn away from the formal activities of the buildings as the forest becomes a recreational site for the city.


Transformation of Copenhagen harbour front

Spatial composition and atmosphere from model elements

A forever changing landscape


Inverted Green Introduction Dagbjört Gardarsdóttir Diego Chanove Ke Xu Martina Rehn Sidsel Danvold

Refshaleøen, is a former post-industrial site in the harbor of Copenhagen. Today the site hosts communities of artists and temporary cultural events which are slowly changing the image of the site. Inverted Green is inspired by the activities and characteristic of the site, its historical and cultural heritage and working together with a unique ‘natural’ environment surrounding Refshaleøen. It is a democratic vision to let everyone enjoy the closeness to water and a valuable long term investment for the wellbeing of the citizens.


Transformation of Copenhagen harbour front

Public life along the canals inside the urban core


Approach The long habour front stretches through the heart of Copenhagen and comprises one of the city’s most valuable areas. Both sides of the water hold different characters and are in a constant dialogue between the city and the former harbour. By extending the waterfront further, new qualities can be added and the connection from the city to Refsehaløen will become circular and more complete. Inspired by the concept of Central Park in Manhattan where green space is provided within the city, we turn its concept around. By Inverting the green, we use open space and nature to restrict the urban districts growth. The restricted, centralized housing area leaves the surrounding land to ecological processes and space for public life and wildlife to flourish.


Transformation of Copenhagen harbour front

Development of buildings & inverted green


Concept diagram



Strategy Wherever the location on the island, people are drawn to the water. To enhance this quality the historical canals are extended into the area meandering their way through the site, between built and open landscapes. Public spaces and activities are located adjacent to the canals. The canals are positioned carefully to avoid creating wind tunnels, making the developed environment a pleasant area to spend time in. Some of the historical buildings will saved forming the ‘heart’ of the islands new urban district. The the green landscape around it will limit the expansion of the built up area.



Transformation of Copenhagen harbour front


Development plan for Refshaleøen


Future plan for Refshaleøen



Strategy Our strategy aims to support and create diverse everyday life experiences, where the people are brought from an urban environment into a more natural landscape. An inner loop will bring all this experiences together in a three kilometers long promenade. The recreational and car free walking path enables a tour around the island. Along the loop, the surroundings fluctuate between passages in the dense city and views of large scale landscapes. This ever changing spaces and atmospheres will make movement along the loop an interesting and dynamic experience. No new buildings will transcend the height of the preserved buildings, which form the “heart� of the island. The stepped section allows sunlight to flood into the area and offer open views towards the open landscape for every block. This smooth profile will reduce the effect of wind at street level.


Transformation of Copenhagen harbour front

Visualisation illustrating where green merges with built area

Wooden platform New extended canal Landscape area

Existing B&W hall



Urban area

Main traffi c rou te

Existing canal

Event space

Public facility

New extended canal

Local plan



Space & Composition Refsehaleøen provides a new urban district for Copenhagen, its built structures concentrated in the core of the island. The surrounding green area host different characters in all directions, where the south-western end provides more urban activities and parklike environments, the north-western side stretches toward the qualities of a nature-like landscape. The extended landfill with dyke constitutes a regulating defense in case of flooding. This will make up one of the most important elements protecting the City of Copenhagen against storm flooding in the future. The landfill and its further development will attract a diverse flora and fauna.


Transformation of Copenhagen harbour front

New extended canal Wooden platform

Public space nearby the waterfront Trees to break the wind

Private space both inside and outside

Inner loop

Main traffic road

Underground water cleaning facility Chimneys for air and light

Section - illustrating canals & water facility



Space & Composition Model photos illustrating spatial feelings along the canals in the new urban district and feelings of openness in the parkland running around the edge of the island.


Transformation of Copenhagen harbour front

Canals & bridges model at 1:2000

Parkland spatial model at 1:250


Refshaleøen: cultivating curiosity Introduction Ina Maria Weinreich Laura Bogstad Marie Rougeot Patricia Schmidt Sandager Rasmus Østergaard Lind

Refshaleøen is full of hidden life, surprising activities and curious experiences that have all contributed to the identity of the island over the past 20 years. Soon the current local plan will expire and open up for new possibilities. Can the identity of the island be preserved through change?


Transformation of Copenhagen harbour front

New entrance to Refshaleøen


Approach Through a phenomenological analysis of Refshaleøen, we divide the site into eight districts based on their unique characters. We are inspired by the existing spatial arrangements of the buildings and the atmospheres that exists in the open spaces, and it is this that form the principles of how we densify the areas.





2 4 3


Transformation of Copenhagen harbour front

1. Densifying to the edge

5. Densifying from within

2. Densify around

6. Prolonging

3. Opening up

7. Expanding

4. Leaving it open

8. Concentrating

Densification principles


Approach Public spaces vary in size and composition throughout the different districts. The landscape grows free into wild green areas. Refshaleøen is connected to Nordhavn and Amager by a dam. A tram line and a path are integrated with the dam making the island more accessible for pedestrians and bikes.



Transformation of Copenhagen harbour front

Public space


Public space

Trees & wild nature


Traffic - movement Pedestrians & soft traffic Shared space paths

Layers diagrams


Dense built area

Public spaces Shared space paths Soft traffic routes Tram line

The connections and the new dam


Strategy Over time the island will be densified on the west side which is protected by the dam. Each district will have its own unique composition and atmosphere. The districts will provide the area with different public spaces fitting the diverse life found in the area today. On the east side a wild landscape takes over and a forest will grow over time creating a contrast to the built districts. The tram line passes through the different districts revealing the life inside Refshaleøen. 2017


Transformation of Copenhagen harbour front



Refshaleøen development plans


Refshaleøen future plan



Strategy The Harbor boat stops between district 1 and 2 connecting the dense area of the island to the inner city. District 1 and 2 are linked by public space and paths along the water edge. A path through district 3 leads you into the landscape of district 7. District 4s’ openness and connection to the water provides an open, flexible space for the people from surrounding dense districts.


Transformation of Copenhagen harbour front

Visualisation of the meeting between 2 districts

Bus stop

District 2

District 4

Detailed long future plan



Space & Composition To the east the dam protects the island and creates an edge between the sea and the forest. The empty water basins, from what is today a water treatment plant create clearings among the dense areas and can be adopted for public activities. Large scale buildings contrast the landscape marking a transition to the built area.



Landscape hill

Transformation of Copenhagen harbour front

District 8

District 1

Section across the island



Top: district 3 // Bottom: District 2



Space & Composition The existing buildings make up the historical backbone of Refshaleøen. The compositions of the districts are based on the relationships between the open and closed spaces, big and small buildings.


Transformation of Copenhagen harbour front

Model photos showing district 1 and district 8

Model illustrating proposed future entry to the island


Refshaleøen Reused Introduction Ana Panoias Andreas Gansted Brink Natasja Parsons Terese Sofie Hjorth Rasmussen Yaming Xiao

The proposal Refshaleøen Reused emphasizes the existing structures; qualities and atmospheres of the halfisland. By slowly developing Refshaleøen and leaving some areas undeveloped, many of the unique spatial qualities and characters can be preserved and enhanced whilst new qualities are formed as a basis for further future development.


Transformation of Copenhagen harbour front

The new center - Metro station in the green axis


Approach The attractive harbour front of Copenhagen has been undergoing various forms of redevelopment in recent years. Refshaleøen Reused follows that tradition by focusing the built structures on the attractive harbour front facing the inner Copenhagen. Through phenomenological analysis of the site we found two strong axes; the ‘grey’ axis (north/south) and green axis (east/west). What also became clear were various districts, each with different and unique characters. It is these elements that formed the framework and starting point for our design where we aim to enhance existing characters and qualities through the densification of Refshaleøen.


Transformation of Copenhagen harbour front




Context - Harbour front development patterns



Strategy Most existing structures are left untouched. New buildings and spaces help strengthen the grey and green axis. The grey axis marks the transition from the dense district development of the west side of the islands and flexible, open space on the east side. For future development there is a possibility to extend the district development eastwards over the grey axis. The spatial openness remains on the eastern side of the islands across the green hill. The area for the former water treatment plant has the potential to be turned into open, coastal wetland. A dyke along the east coast protects Refshaleøen from rising sea water.


Transformation of Copenhagen harbour front

Refshaleøen 2030 development plan


Refshaleøen future plan



Strategy Existing structures and vegetated patched were the basis for the layout of the Urban Park which is found in the green axis. It has room for recreation, sports activities and a set of stairs connect people directly with the harbour water. The hill along the green axis borders the flex area which allows for varying atmospheres depending on the activity happening. Tree lines subdivide the large, open area into smaller squares. Festivals, markets, car parking and sports activities can fill the entire space out with people. When the flex area is left empty, the true size of the space becomes apparent and works as an attractive contrast to dense city life.


Transformation of Copenhagen harbour front

Room for all - Activities in the Flex Area

Inspired from existing structures - Urban Park



Space & Composition From the phenomenological analysis the characters of the districts were discovered. The Block District contains large scale building blocks supported by green areas in-between. The buildings are tallest closet to the ‘grey’ axis and get smaller and smaller towards the harbor front. The Gate District contains the opening to the ‘grey’ axis. When you arrive at the island, dense built structures break up into a boulevard, and the large scale of Refshaleøen becomes apparent.


Transformation of Copenhagen harbour front

Welcome to the island - Gate District


Big structures, big spaces - Block District



Space & Composition Existing structures are integrated into the districts which have their own distinct spatial characters according to the phenomenological findings in the preliminary phases. The districts and the spaces within differ in size, scale, density and direction. The Copenhagen harbour front is the main focus and the pull of the Outlook District. A gap between the rows of buildings reveals the view to Langelinie and Kastellet; pulling the viewer towards the end where the unbroken view and sound of Copenhagen harbor front can be enjoyed.


Transformation of Copenhagen harbour front

Harbour view between the buildings - Outlook District

Spatial characters - Districts of Refshaleøen


Refshaleøerne: Islets of Refshaleøen Introduction Johan Ludvig Bratt Laura Kirstine Mølbak Vangsgaard Lucia Moretti Mathies Nissen Andersen Nanna Høgsberg Kristensen

Copenhagen has a vision of becoming one of the world’s greenest and most attractive cities for people to live in, but the harbour development today is only in few ways contributing to this vision. Building blocks on the harbour front have neglected vegetation and limited public access. Vision - Connecting the urban and coastal landscape Refshaleøerne will be the connection between the city center and Øresund where urban life and closeness to the coastal landscape are what bring Refshaleøerne together.


Transformation of Copenhagen harbour front

Connecting the urban and coastal landscape





Transformation of Copenhagen harbour front



Salt water marsh

Open wetlands

Transition from dense to open

Urban landscape


The two sides will be linked through a system of canals and streams. In this way Refshaleøen becomes the link between the inner harbour and the coastal landscape of Øresund.

Urban harbour area

Refshaleøerne will consist of two sides; a densly built western area with a strong urban feeling and an eastern coastal landscape connected with a coherent wetland to the coast of Amager. The urban development will be framed by canals and the density increases towards the center of the developed part.

Concept diagram & Transition of characters

At Refshaleøerne water and vegetation connect the dense city with the open coastal landscape of Ă˜resund



New wetlands along the coastline connect the green spaces of Amager and Nordhavn



Connecting the urban and coastal landscape



Strategy The chosen existing buildings define the grid of the island and the new canals follow these existing structures. Topography is added in the eastern part of the island and the existing hill is dissolved into smaller pieces. Vegetation also underlines the structure of the island; in the western part it is structured after the grid and in the eastern one it is more organic. Three larger public squares are added in the grid structure; one for each of the islandneighborhood. New buildings are placed according to the grid structure.

Dissolved edge

Water treatment plant

Copenhagen harbour

Bridges / boardwalks

Skabelon loftet square B&W pavilion Built grid structure

Open space

Canals divide neighbourhoods

Harbour square

Dissolved hill

Delta hinterland

Harbour bus station Iconic building / Naturum

Existing site outline Green entrance


Transformation of Copenhagen harbour front

Refshaleøen 2030 development plan


Fresh-water wetland New development

Copenhagen harbour

Salt-water marsh

Coherent wetland

Refshaleøen future plan



Strategy The long term vision of Refshaleøerne is to create a large coherent wetland along all the coastline of Amager that connects the city with the waterside. The new wetland is divided in two kinds. A salt water marsh landscape with open water bodies, that make the island resilient to the rising water and break the waves and a fresh water system that retains and filtrates surface water. A visitors center that acts as an attraction point is placed in the wetland. Here you can learn about the plants, geology, animals and the cultural history that has shaped the area.


Transformation of Copenhagen harbour front

Visualisation of wetland with Naturum & Iconic building

Smaller public space

Public harbour edge runs around the islands

Dissolved hill

Existing buildings

Sight line towards the wetland New pavilion square

Open space

New buildings placed in the grid

House boats

Smaller public space

Detailed plan shows B&W pavilion square and the transition from urban to wetland



Space & Composition The enormous B&W building should continue to be the main landmark of Refshaleøerne. But a physical change would bring new life to this industrial mastodon. The facade cladding is removed from the building and the raw steel structure is left creating a new public space: The B&W pavilion. Many different activities such a concerts and markets can take place here. Furthermore the pavilion is cut through by one of the new canals and the structure is now reaching into the wetland, visually and physically, connecting the two island parts.

The dense center of the urban development


New canals divide neighborhoods

Transformation of Copenhagen harbour front

Repurposed B&W pavilion landmark


Transition from the urban to the wetland


Public life on the canal edge with B&W pavilion in the background



Space & Composition The strict grid structure creates the basis for the placement of the buildings. Adjustments of the grid make diverse spatial experiences and break the wind. The adjustments of the buildings create possibilities for new public spaces in between the buildings. Two kinds of public spaces are created: The three big neighborhood squares and a number of smaller public spaces in relation to the individual buildings.

B&W pavilion

At the edge to the harbour, a new plaza offers a grand view of the skyline. The courtyard next to Skabelonloftet offers an enclosed green space protected from the wind. The area in front of the B&W hall offers a great space with large proportions. The hill offers dynamic topography. On the urban side, movement mainly takes place along the edges. In the wetland, accessibility varies depending on the water level. Temporary activities Floating stage Public square




Transformation of Copenhagen harbour front

Transition from the urban to the wetland


Dissolved hill

B&W pavilion

Existing buildings

Skabelonloftet courtyard

House boats

Local public square

Public harbour front

Urban structure


Refshaleøen – Urban Dichotomy Introduction Karin Skaarup Katrine Howarth Skarphéðinn Njálsson Yuhe Zhang & Troels Friis

This project is about connecting the urban life with nature. The project site is Refshaleøen, located north of Christianshavn in Copenhagen, which is a former industrial area. The history of the site will be used to generate a recreational area, unique to Copenhagen.


Transformation of Copenhagen harbour front

Collage - Going from city to nature


Approach From our phenomenological analysis we found the site to be divided in five different areas, which seemed seperated from each other. This helped us to conclude that we want to create a more coherent site. Therefore we settled on the idea of creating an urban built area, and a recreational area, which will change from an industrial park to a wetland. This way we want to establish a gradual transition from the urban to the nature.

Legend Urban area Canals Rekreational area Water


Transformation of Copenhagen harbour front

Concept diagram illustrates division of east and west

Spacial compostition of new urban developmetn


Strategy The plan on page 5 shows the proposal for the 2030 plan of Refshaleøen. The site has been divided which creates a built up urban area to the west and a natural recreational area to the east. The urban area is divided by canals, generating different spatial experiences while the natural area has been divided into an industrial park that gradually evolves into a wetland to the north-east of the site. The plan on page 6 shows the long term proposal. In the future the surroundnig seawater is used to create small islands, connected by bridges. This wetland inspired area offers flooding of the entire area, in case of the sea–level rising.


Transformation of Copenhagen harbour front

Refshaleøen 2030 development plan


Refshaleøen future plan



Strategy In the urban area, we are generating recreational green areas for the use of residents and visitors. A linear park offers easy access along the coastline while providing a variation of spatial experiences. Furthermore the canals are created to bring the surrounding water into the dense urban area to provide a close proximity to the water for residents and users.

Phase 1

Open space

In the recreational area, the soil from the existing hill is re-used to create smaller islands to the north–east. Over a period of ten years vegetation will clean the soil, and the seawater will spil freely in to the area.

Phase 2

Linear park




Transformation of Copenhagen harbour front

Phase 4

Left: Urban area. Diagrams illustrating the spatial composition, linear park and acces to the water // Right: Recreational area. diagram showing strategy to cleaning the reused soil.

Spatial composition of the urban area



Space & Compostition Section A shows the built up environment located on the west side of the site. The density and hight of the built structure varies as three main districts are created within the urban area. Section B shows the proposed dike that will be implemented in the future. A linear park ties into the dike to provide users with a unique spactial experience that overlooks a majority of the natural side of the site. Sections C shows the wetland and the raised islands that will be surrounded by seawaters as the surrounding ocean floods the site in the future.


Transformation of Copenhagen harbour front

Section through urban development and canals


Top: Industrial wetland 1:200 // Bottom: The dyke 1:500


Space & Compostition The model images show the variation in spactial compositions of the west side of the proposed site. The area provides an open space for a variety of functions. The spatial experience varies according to the built up structure to provide open/closed spaces that are either public, private or semi-private. The top images on page 12 show the unique density and scale of each district within the built area ranging from large to small. The bottom image on page 12 shows the wetland and how small islands provide manouvarability throughout the site once the ocean has flooded the site.


Transformation of Copenhagen harbour front

Spactial compositions


Retrace Refshaleøen Introduction Malene Almind Simone Haxholm Anne Simone Lindboe Emil Hejberg Calum Mitchell

Since 1767, Refshaleøen has protected Copenhagen from the threat of war, it has been occupied and expanded by Burmeister & Wain shipping company throughout the industrial period and is more known today to be the home of artists and a host of popular cultural events. Our project - Retrace - focuses on a big scale solution that will protect Copenhagen from potential storm flooding in the future, whilst restoring, preserving and enhancing the traces left by previous occupants, bringing layers of Refshaleøens past to life.


Transformation of Copenhagen harbour front

Refshaleøen, finding and developing traces


Approach We approached Refshaleøen with low expectations but upon closer examination found it to be a unique place with many hidden spaces and a multitude of layers to explore. After further site analysis we decided that these historical layers or ‘traces’ were important to protect as it is part of the context of the site both past and present. As we mapped the trace, we found that there were traces that were more prominent, such as rails and large buildings from past industrial usage, but also some more enigmatic traces such as the ground patterns. We wanted to ensure the protection and considerate development of these site specific layers.


Transformation of Copenhagen harbour front

Re-using Traces

Combating rising water levels

Reconnecting broken areas

Green patches

Historic buildings



Space defining buildings


Industrial remains

Aesthetic value

Water related structures

Traces findings


Strategy One step at a time, Refshaleøen will become a new mixed use urban development. By 2030, the first land based additions to the dyke are formed as well as a new urban district in the south east of the island. Nordhavnen and Refshaleøen will be connected by creating a dual carriage way and be combined with the dyke in an inland like form as if dragged up from the seabed to the surface so providing recreational value to Copenhageners, whilst also functioning to protect them and the City of Copenhagen from the serious threats of storm flooding. The new infrastructure is an essential part of the puzzle when making Refshaleøen attractive. The future three districts are all unique, replicating our various experiences gathered during the phenomenological analysis of the site.


Transformation of Copenhagen harbour front

Urban development phase 1

Urban development phase 2

Urban development phase 3

Dyke phase 1

Dyke phase 2

Dyke phase 3

Refshaleøen: development over time


Refshaleøen future plan



Strategy Before Refshaleøen is completely developed, the many traces of history found throughout the site are brought back to life again and transformed for a wide range of uses, such as recreational, cultural, creativity and planting design. Traces of history give us a point of direction. Some give structure, some strengthens spatial feelings and others are used actively for recreational activities.


Transformation of Copenhagen harbour front

Bringing traces back to life

Detailed plan



Space & Composition The spatial composition of the site is largely defined by the traces. We see traces in both the horizontal and the vertical. Meaning that both existing buildings and ground composition are understood as traces.


Transformation of Copenhagen harbour front

Section through the island - West to East



Space & Composition There are two clear and space defining axis’ that run through the site and these, together with the traces, have inspired our overall spatial composition. The east-west axis has been formed by the old industrial shipbuilding activities. The north-south axis is defined by the tall buildings running adjacent to each other along the boulevard.


Transformation of Copenhagen harbour front

Model compositions


Transformation of Copenhagen Harbor Front - Refshaleøen  

Urbanism Studio is an advanced design studio for master students at the MSc Landscape Architecture Program at the University of Copenhagen....

Transformation of Copenhagen Harbor Front - Refshaleøen  

Urbanism Studio is an advanced design studio for master students at the MSc Landscape Architecture Program at the University of Copenhagen....