A Guide to Danish Architecture

Page 206

A GUIDE TO DANISH ARCHITECTURE Towards the UN Sustainable Development Goals


In 2015, world leaders agreed to 17 Goals for a better world by 2030. These Goals have the power to end poverty, fight inequality and stop climate change. Guided by the Goals, it is now up to all of us, governments, businesses, civil society and the general public to work together to build a better future for everyone. https://www.globalgoals.org/


1. Kornets Hus Hjørring – p.40

2. Vrå Children and Culture Centre Vrå – p.42

3. Grindsted School Vodskov – p.44

4. Kulturbroen Aalborg – p.46

5. Karolinelund Kindergarten Aalborg – p.50

6. Aalborg East Aalborg – p.52

7. Maltfabrikken Ebeltoft – p.60

8. Feldballe School Rønde – p.62

9. Nye – Nature Drive Urban Development Aarhus N – p.64

10. Lisbjerg Recycling Station Aarhus N – p.66

11. Made in Aarhus Aarhus N – p.70

12. Lisbjerg Hill Aarhus N – p.72

13. Royal Danish Library Aarhus Aahus – p.74

14. Æbeløen – residential park Aarhus – p.78



20. Herning Library Herning – p.96

21. sØnæs Viborg – p.98

22. GAME StreetMekka Viborg – p.100

23. Kulturlandskab Oddesund Struer v. Oddesundbroen – p.102

24. Studio and private home Vestervig, Agger – p.104

25. Cold Hawaii Inland Thy – p.108



31. Aktivitetsskoven Middelfart – p.132

32. Thomas B. Thriges Gade –from street to city Odense – p.134

33. Ultra-Fast Charging Stations for Electric Cars

Odense + other locations – p.138

34. Polymeren Årslev – p.140

35. Faber’s Factories Ryslinge – p.142

36. The Danish Country House Præstø – p.144

37. Køge Waterhouse Køge – p.146

38. The Braunstein Taphouse Køge – p.148


41. Ballerup Boulevard Skovlunde – p.158

42. Steno Diabetes Center Copenhagen Herlev – p.160

43. Egedammen Preschool Søborg – p.162

44. Stranden Charlottenlund – p.164

45. Venligbolig Plus Frederiksberg – p.166

46. Station – student-driven innovation house Frederiksberg – p.168

47. Ørsteds Haver Frederiksberg – p.170

48. Enghaveparken Vesterbro, Copenhagen – p.174

Youth culturecentre and housing –UKH and UKHome Aarhus – p.80

16. Studielandsbyen Viby – p.84

17. From stable to family dwelling Mårslet – p.86

18. Ry Market Hall Ry – p.88

19. Friluftshuset Silkeborg – p90

26. FLUGT – Refugee Museum of Denmark Oksbøl – p.114

39. Odsherred Theatre Nykøbing Sjælland – p.150

49. The KAB House Vesterbro, Copenhagen – p.178

56. Green Solution House Rønne – p.198

57. Campus Bornholm Rønne – p.202

58. Bornholms Green Wave From Hammerknuden to Nexø and Dueodde – p.204

59. Shared Holiday House Sandkås – p.206

60. Gaarden – a centre for regional food culture Gudhjem – p.208

28. Højer – gateway to Tøndermarsken Højer – p.120

27. The Wadden Sea Centre Ribe, Vester Vedsted – p.116 29. Erlev School Haderslev– p.122

30. Campus Kolding –University of Southern Denmark Kolding – p.124

40. Poplen Youth Club Jyllinge – p.152

50. The architect’s own house Sydhavnen, Copenhagen – p.180

51. Kalvebod Fælled School Ørestead, Copenhagen – p.182

52. Remiseparken Amager, Copenhagen – p.186

53. Amager Centret Amager, Copenhagen– p.188

54. The Social Spine Amager, Copenhagen – p.190

55. Filmlageret

Amager, Copenhagen – p.192

A GUIDE TO DANISH ARCHITECTURE Towards the UN Sustainable Development Goals

A GUIDE TO DANISH ARCHITECTURE Towards the UN Sustainable Development Goals


Bodil Vilholm Henningsen, Author, Northern Jutland

Helle Lassen, Author, Northern Jutland

Rie Øhlenschlæger, Author, Eastern Jutland

Anna Kathrine Bisgaard Sørensen, Author, Eastern Jutland

Elsebeth Terkelsen, Author, Eastern Jutland

Carsten Maegaard, Author, Western Jutland

Georg Unna, Author, Southern Jutland

Ny Weisser Øhlenschlæger, Author, Southern Jutland

Hanne Raunsmed, Author, Zealand, Funen and islands

Anna Cecilie Nicolaysen, Author, Zealand, Funen and islands

Even Brænne Olstad, Author, Copenhagen

Gugga Zakariasdottir, Author, Bornholm

Birgit Stoltz Andersen, Author, Bornholm

Katrine Østergaard Bang, Chief Editor, Author

Birgitte Lindegaard Jensen, Chief Editor, Case Author

Lars Autrup, Managing Editor

Natalie Mossin, Editor, Author

Emilie Koefoed, Author

Dorte Silver, Translation

Elizabeth Pratt, Proofreading/Reviewer

This book is the result of a partnership between the Danish Association of Architects (Akademisk Arkitektforening) and the UIA World Congress of Architects 2023. It is inspired by

”An Architecture Guide to the UN 17 Sustainable Development Goals” volume 1 and 2 (Det Kongelige Akademi, ISBN: 978-87-7830-992-1 and ISBN: 978-87-7830-831-3)

1. edition, 1. print, 2023

Published by the Danish Association of Architects (Akademisk Arkitektforening)

ISBN: 978-87-8739-793-3

The credits for photographers and other consultants were produced based on information provided by the main consultants for each project. The Danish Association of Architects presents the credits according to the information received.

Graphic design / layout

Lene Sørensen Rose / www.roseogrose.dk

Printed in DK by Dystan & Rosenberg Aps. Paper: Munken Lynx 200g, 100g

Leave No One Behind
PREFACE . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 6 INTRODUCTION . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 10 ARCHITECTURE’S CONTRIBUTION TO THE UN SUSTAINABLE DEVELOPMENT GOALS . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 14 NORTHERN JUTLAND . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 36 EASTERN JUTLAND 56 WESTERN JUTLAND . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 92 SOUTHERN JUTLAND . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 110 ZEALAND, FUNEN AND ISLANDS . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 128 GREATER COPENHAGEN . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 154 BORNHOLM . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 194 ACKNOWLEDGEMENTS . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 212 REFERENCES . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 214 CONTENT

When we were children, most of us dreamed that we as adults would be rich and famous and that we somehow would change the world. With age, reality set in and most of us now realize we will never be rich or famous. We do, however, still have the potential to change the world!

As our societies go from crisis to crisis – be it a financial crisis, a pandemic, a war, or an energy crisis – we become so embroiled in addressing the immediate effects of the crisis in focus that we fail to recognize that all of these crises are connected, and that they all spring from our own habits and behavior. These habits and behaviors are changeable!

We have had photos of the Earth from space for a half century now – beautiful and spellbinding photos. The most striking feature of those photos, however, is that they clearly show that the Earth has no umbilical cord. The missing umbilical cord tells us that the Earth’s resources are finite. Once we have used what is here, there is no more. We depend on these resources for our welfare and societal development. Thus, they are the ultimate currency with which we build our societies.

Despite our knowing from these photos that the resources upon which we depend are limited, it was not until the adoption of the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) in 2015 that society got an international political agreement acknowledging the finite nature of the Earth’s resources. The SDGs, then, are a vision for how we want to share these limited resources not only among people, but also in relation to non-human life on Earth.


Considerable progress has been and is being made in relation to achieving many of the goals that pertain to the human condition. For the goals that relate to preserving and protecting the Earth’s resources, however, the trend is negative. In other words, we are every day getting further and further away from achieving these goals.

We all know that you can party even as the balance on your bank account is falling, but also that the party cannot continue indefinitely. This is the situation humanity has brought upon itself. The balance on the account that registers our natural capital, i.e., the Earth’s finite resources, is falling. The “party” of societal development can, therefore, not continue into the future unless we stop the negative trend in the SDGs that pertain to the Earth’s resources, specifically SDG 13 (Climate), SDG 14 (Life under water), and SDG 15 (Life on land).

Architects have the potential to change the way in which we use the Earth’s limited resources in both built and natural infrastructure. Those who specialize in built infrastructure must focus on reducing the ecological footprint of the materials used and eliminating waste. Landscape architects must strive to create environments that not only meet the demands of human societies, but also support and restore biodiversity.

Sustainable development is not a place or a condition. It is a journey or a process, whereby we continually focus on maximizing the societal benefits of using the Earth’s resources, while simultaneously reducing the associated environmental and social costs. Reducing environmental costs includes more efficient use of land, reduction


or elimination of waste and use of environmentally-friendly components. The social component of sustainable development relates to how we share the Earth’s limited resources. Architecture in all its forms can contribute to a more equitable distribution of resources.

Thus, architects have the power to change habits and behaviors when it comes to our built infrastructure and approach to the nature that surrounds us. Doing so can bring society on a more sustainable development trajectory. This volume charts where architects are on this journey. It is my hope that these contributions will inspire you to make an even greater change in the world!

March, 2023

Photo: Spektrum Arkitekter
The project Cold Hawaii Inland offers inclusive and accessible public spaces and integrates protective measures against high tides and storm surges .


This book presents a selection of 60 contemporary architectural projects that each contribute to the ambition of working towards a sustainable society.

The intention is to provide an architecture guide to projects across scales and geographies in Denmark that, when seen together, provide a picture of current contributions towards new sustainable practices in the built environment. The 60 projects span buildings, urban spaces, landscape, infrastructure and planning initiatives as well as place-making strategies.

The viewpoint of this book is proudly local. The sustainability crisis, environmentally as well as socially, crosses borders, and engulfs all corners of the planet. To be able to act and contribute to the global sustainability agenda, we must share knowledge across borders and understand shared emergencies. But an architectural intervention must necessarily be an integral part of the society in which it is located, i.e., its geography, its cultural context and the users it serves must be the core of the chosen architectural solution.

This viewpoint is reflected in the selection of cases: they are selected on the grounds of their contribution to a specific local community. As a result, local mobilization through architecture runs as a fine thread through this book, tracing architectural efforts to support communities across Denmark.

The book opens with a chapter presenting an overview of how architecture interacts with each of the UN 17 Sustainable Development Goals. This is then followed by the 60 selected cases structured in seven regional chapters. Each chapter opens with a short introduction to the region, its landscape, development and building culture.






The book is published on the occasion of the UIA World Congress of Architects 2023 by the Danish Association of Architects and has been collected and curated by members of the Association. The cases are presented in seven chapters corresponding to the seven local chapters of the Association itself: Copenhagen, the Islands, Bornholm, Southern Jutland, Western Jutland, Eastern Jutland and Northern Jutland.


Each chapter gives examples of realized projects that illustrate how architecture can contribute to the realization of the Goals. Our hope is that the cases will form a basis from which to continue a conversation about how the built environment can move towards social and environmental sustainability.

The short descriptions do not explore the projects in their full complexity but are meant to serve as an introduction to the projects and an invitation to discuss how architecture locally relates to the Goals and can be a part of society’s response to the global challenges.

We hope that this book will inspire visits to the presented projects, and that it can be used as inspiration to reflect upon how the built environment can contribute to a more sustainable world.


The Danish Association of Architects – Arkitektforeningen – is a professional community and the only independent association of architects in Denmark. The purpose of the association is to support and promote the working conditions of individual architects while at the same time striving to ensure the architectural quality of our cities, buildings, landscapes and environments to the benefit of society as a whole.


Architecture’s contribution to the UN Sustainable Development Goals

The Sustainable Development Goals represent the aspiration of the people of the United Nations for a sustainable future. The Goals define the challenges we need to face and address together in order to achieve a better and more sustainable future for all. The global agendas addressed by the goals include poverty, inequality, climate, environmental degradation, prosperity, health, peace and justice.

The built environment, planning, architecture and design interact with every Goal. And crucially: not just on an aspirational level or as future potential, but through actual buildings, settlements and cities all over the world. Architectural solutions are already there, everywhere, contributing to sustainable communities and quality of life. However, the built environment is also part of current challenges – a major consumer of energy and natural resources, and a producer of waste. Furthermore, how we build can exacerbate inequalities and affect health.

This chapter describes how the built environment interacts with the Goals and is structured Goal-by-Goal, with an overarching outline of how each Goal interacts with the built environment. First, though, comes a short introduction to the overarching value of the UN Sustainable Development Goals; “Leave No One Behind”.


Leave No One Behind

As we embark on this great collective journey, we pledge that no one will be left behind. Recognizing that the dignity of the human person is fundamental, we wish to see the goals and targets met for all nations and peoples and for all segments of society. And we will endeavour to reach those furthest behind first.¹

The pledge to “Leave No One Behind” is an overarching value of the Sustainable Development Goals, and it is deeply relevant to all parts of the built environment. At its core, it means that all architecture, buildings, settlements, public spaces and infrastructure must be designed and constructed to include all people with specific focus on those at risk of exclusion. All architecture must contribute to inclusion, and this will require new approaches to how we design and build. We must strive to reach those furthest behind first; to include people living in poverty and other vulnerable situations, and to include, on equal terms, people with disabilities, people living with illness, the needs of children, youth and older persons, indigenous peoples, ethnic minorities, refugees and internally displaced persons and migrants.

In an architectural context this can mean that the main entry to a school must be designed using Universal Design principles so that people with physical disabilities can enter on equal terms alongside classmates; that public bathrooms are designed to be safe and accessible to all genders; that public spaces and parks are designed as a resource equally to people living in poverty; and that public institutions are designed to be safe and inviting to all people regardless of ethnicity and religion.

Sustainable development is not possible without adhering to the core values of the human rights declaration; the right to equal treatment


and non-discrimination for all. In the built environment, this means that each time we build, each time we renovate or develop an element of the built environment, we must ask ourselves: who are the furthest behind here? And we must take it upon ourselves to reach those people first, to make sure that what we build will promote their inclusion, rather than allowing what we build to limit the participation in society of vulnerable people.

1 Extract from the UN publication: “Transforming Our World: The 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development”



End poverty in all its forms everywhere

Poverty is more than the lack of income and resources to ensure a sustainable livelihood. Its manifestations include hunger and malnutrition, limited access to education and other basic services, social discrimination and exclusion as well as the lack of participation in decision-making.²

Architecture cannot lift people out of poverty, but the built environment can affect the impact of poverty on people’s lives by providing access to affordable housing, sanitation, educational institutions, health facilities and spaces for recreation.

Through building design and planning, architects can develop buildings and settlements that are low cost, safe and healthy. Examples of this can be found in social housing schemes, co-ops and projects for urban upgrading.

The overarching principle of architecture’s contribution to the goal of no poverty is that buildings and public spaces must help provide services that are affordable and accessible for marginalized and poor citizens. This requires new architectural solutions emphasizing low-cost construction principles, natural light and ventilation, use of local materials and increased reuse of available materials. Buildings must be designed using products and materials that do not compromise the environment, while maintaining the affordability of the solutions. Furthermore, architecture, landscape design and planning must adapt built environment to local climatic, geographical and cultural contexts, working with the surrounding environment and not against it, to increase quality of life while helping inhabitants save on electricity and maintenance. As part of this, architects working on development projects must strive to employ local workers and students and engage local communities in the development, and through that seek to help marginalized and poor citizens gain ownership of the built environment of which they are a part.

2 Extract from UN’s Global Issues, available from https://www.un.org/en/sections/issues-depth/poverty/



End hunger, achieve food security and improved nutrition and promote sustainable agriculture

Right now, our soils, freshwater, oceans, forests and biodiversity are degrading rapidly. Climate change is putting even more pressure on the resources we depend on, increasing risks associated with disasters, such as droughts and floods. Many rural women and men can no longer make ends meet on their land, forcing them to migrate to cities in search of opportunities.³

The built environment contributes to securing food supplies through planning, landscape and building designs that protect existing ecosystems and prioritize the preservation and expansion of areas for food production. Creating conditions to support sustainable farming must be an integral part of building development, especially where fertile land is scarce due to urban density, harsh climatic conditions or restricted access. Planning, landscape and building design can contribute by developing built environments that favour land use for food production in many scales. Examples of this can be found in urban farming projects, micro-gardening initiatives for refugees, production cooperatives and regenerative landscape design. Furthermore, the built environment can help to maintain and rebuild species diversity in open land as well as in suburban settlements and even in dense urban areas. This requires working with local geography, climatic conditions and locally adapted crops in the design of areas for food production.

The design of areas for food production on a micro scale as well as on a larger scale must be robust and geared to cope with climatic changes, such as more extreme weather, drought and floods. Also, a local production ecosystem can co-exist between the production of building materials, like timber or bricks, and food, making it important to consider how the food production interacts with the production of building materials. Finally, building and landscape design must involve end users when designing areas for food production to ensure the relevance and longevity of the production.

3 Extract from UN’s Sustainability Goals, available from https://www.un.org/sustainabledevelopment/hunger/



Ensure healthy lives and promote well being for all at all ages

Ensuring healthy lives and promoting well-being for all at all ages is important to building prosperous societies. Yet, despite great strides in improving people’s health and well-being in recent years, inequalities in health care access still persist.⁴

Architecture plays a crucial part in creating a built environment that supports good health and well-being. Access to health systems, sanitation and hygiene plays a major role in a healthy life and in reducing the spread of diseases, as does spatial planning that for example allows social distancing in public spaces and at work. Furthermore, most people spend the majority of their lives indoors, making indoor climate an influential factor of health. Building design must thus enable a healthy indoor climate concerning light, acoustics, air quality and exposure to radiation and degassing. Building design must further avoid the use of hazardous materials and substances. Most transmission of diseases and illnesses happens within the built environment. Building design and the layout of settlements and urban areas are thus a crucial tool to curb the spread of diseases and limit citizens exposure to bacteria and viruses, such as the COVID-19. Furthermore, infrastructure, health institutions and the design of urban areas affect citizens’ access to exercise. Buildings, settlements and urban areas must, therefore, be planned so that they allow and encourage safe physical activity. Urban layout also influences the risk of accidents, for example in traffic, and this too can be addressed through design.

Architecture interacts with health in multiple ways, and examples can be found within all scales and in many different contexts, for example in housing that reduces the risk of infection with malaria, in in-patient-community buildings and in the design of public spaces.

4 Extract from UN report WHY IT MATTERS – Good Health and well-being – PDF Extract from UN’s Sustainability Goals, available from https://www.un.org/sustainabledevelopment/health/



Ensure inclusive and equitable quality education and promote lifelong learning opportunities for all

Obtaining quality education is the foundation for creating sustainable development. In addition to improving quality of life, access to inclusive education can help equip locals with the tools required to develop innovative solutions to the world’s greatest problems.⁵

Schools and educational spaces are a crucial part of our investment in the future. Whether in a refugee camp, in informal settlements or in rural communities, access to schools and education defines the future of our children, just as the knowledge and skills of new generations is crucial to the future of the planet. Schools, universities and other educational institutions all require architectural design that enables a productive learning environment. However, architecture also has a key role to play in creating affordable, accessible and inclusive educational solutions for children who are marginalized or have special needs, and for communities with limited resources to maintain conventional school buildings or limited access to an existing school system. Children from poor or marginalized communities, who are female or have disabilities, must not be left behind, and this requires architectural solutions that are accessible and address the needs of all students. Examples of this can be found in school facilities for minorities or marginalized groups, in schools that enable children to stay in their local community while studying, and in schools for children with special needs.

Furthermore, the built environment can provide training opportunities regarding the sustainable performance of buildings, settlements and urban areas for both users and craftsmen. In development, as well as in use, buildings and communal facilities can interact with and promote a sustainable culture of usage.

On the level of primary education, an increased focus on knowledge regarding sustainable design and crafts will be key in building our future sustainable development.

5 Extract from UN’s Sustainability Goals, available from https://www.un.org/sustainabledevelopment/education/


Achieve gender equality and empower all women and girls 5


Gender equality is not only a fundamental human right, but a necessary foundation for a peaceful, prosperous and sustainable world.⁶

To support a movement towards gender equality, the design of buildings, settlements and urban areas must be inclusive to all citizens regardless of gender. The organization of public spaces, institutions and services must prioritize the security of girls, women and LGBT+ citizens and help minimize the risk of abuse. The ability to move safely in public spaces, in public institutions and at the workplace is essential to the inclusion of women and girls in civil society and for women to be able to uphold a job outside their home which is key to being self-supporting. Also needed are affordable and secure buildings to provide health services, basic sanitary services and meeting places for women and LGBT+ citizens. Examples of this includes maternity clinics, community centres, safe houses or secure public bathrooms. Design of playgrounds, public parks and sports facilities must offer girls, women and LGBT+ citizens equal access to leisure and physical activities and create conditions that encourage use by all.

The building industry itself must work towards equal pay, promote diversity and work to oppose sexual harassment. As part of this, the industry must support women’s ability to handle heavy construction processes that are otherwise reserved for men, for example by the introduction of lifting technologies. From design through construction, the industry must avoid a narrowly gendered work culture in order to promote diversity and co-ownership so that more women and LGBT+ professionals are able to join the industry at all levels.

6 Extract from UN’s Sustainability Goals, available from https://www.un.org/sustainabledevelopment/gender-equality/



Ensure availability and sustainable management of water and sanitation for all

Access to water, sanitation and hygiene is a human right, yet billions are still faced with the daily challenges of accessing even the most basic of services. Clean, accessible water for all is an essential part of the world we want to live in, and there is sufficient fresh water on the planet to achieve this. However, due to bad economics or poor infrastructure, millions of people including children die every year from diseases associated with inadequate water supply, sanitation and hygiene.⁷

Adequate treatment and disposal of sewage, access to clean drinking water and access to handwashing and cleaning are crucial to human health and to stopping the spread of bacteria and viruses, such as Schistosomiasis. Buildings and public spaces must be designed so that access to handwashing and cleaning is accessible to all citizens. Furthermore, to take advantage of rainfall where clean water is scarce, buildings must be designed so that rainwater can be collected, purified and used as drinking water. In areas where rainwater does not need to be collected for drinking or other uses, buildings and urban areas must be designed so that rainwater can enter the groundwater without being mixed with wastewater or being polluted in other ways. As for sanitation, the buildings, services, sewage systems and infrastructure must be planned and designed to keep bacteria and contaminated water separate from clean water and out of contact with citizens. A key part of this is to ensure access to toilet facilities that are designed to handle the waste produced. Building materials that do not contribute to groundwater contamination should be chosen, whether during extraction, construction or in use.

Furthermore, urban areas, settlements and buildings must be designed to withstand climate change related to water, such as more extreme precipitation, drought and floods. Landscape architecture and urban planning must protect freshwater resources through conservation projects and the design of recreational areas that protect, collect and handle water. Examples of this are found in water-handling features at building level, in climate adaptation projects on an urban scale, and in communal toilets and washing facilities.

7 Extract from UN’s Sustainability Goals, available from https://www.un.org/sustainabledevelopment/water-and-sanitation/



Ensure access to affordable, reliable, sustainable and modern energy for all

Our everyday lives depend on reliable and affordable energy services to function smoothly and to develop equitably. Focusing on universal access to energy, increased energy efficiency and the increased use of renewable energy through new economic and job opportunities is crucial to creating more sustainable and inclusive communities and resilience to environmental issues like climate change.⁸

The built environment is a major source of energy consumption throughout the life cycle of buildings and structures; from the extraction of raw materials and production of components over the construction of buildings and structures to the energy consumed throughout a building or structure’s lifetime to energy used in disassembly and finally disposal or reuse. Buildings must be designed both to limit energy consumption in use, for example by using materials and layouts that minimize overheating, and to produce and recycle energy, for example by storing excess heat during the day and employing it at night. This means designing and constructing buildings, settlements and urban areas that employ appropriate energy technology under the given geographical, climatic and cultural conditions. Examples of this includes the use of daylight, natural ventilation or a choice of materials that support heating or cooling, such as heavy exterior walls in a hot and dry climate. Solutions that would consume a high level of energy in use in a given context must be avoided, such as exposed all-glass facades in a hot climate. The built environment can also contribute through the development of solutions that employ innovative sources of renewable energy. Building and planning must be approached with a focus on total energy consumption through the whole life cycle. As part of this, energy-intensive materials and materials produced with non-clean energy, such as coal-fired bricks, must be phased out or find new forms.

8 Extract from UN’s Sustainability Goals, available from https://www.un.org/sustainabledevelopment/energy/




Promote sustained, inclusive and sustainable economic growth, full and productive employment and decent work for all

Today, roughly half the world’s population still lives on the equivalent of about US$2 a day with global unemployment rates of 5.7%, and having a job does not guarantee the ability to escape from poverty in many places.⁹ Sustainable economic growth requires societies to create conditions that allow people to have quality jobs that stimulate the economy while not harming the environment. Job opportunities and decent working conditions are also required for the whole working age population.

The built environment interacts with decent work and economic growth on both a planning and a building level. Safe public spaces and affordable transit routes to the workplace are crucial for finding employment. The ability to move from home to a workplace and the time spent in transit determines what jobs are available, making healthy and safe public space and transportation systems key to citizens’ access to work. Cities and settlements must also be planned and designed so that poor and marginalized citizens have access to a business outlet, such as a marketplace, where local produce, handicrafts and other services can be bought and sold. Workplaces must be designed so that they support healthy, accessible and productive work environments for all employees, including access to sanitation and a spatial organization that makes social distancing possible when needed. Investing in an architecture that supports good working conditions, backs a company’s economic growth through higher productivity and fewer sick days.

In the building industry, focus is needed on decent working conditions and safety for workers. This entails the use of materials extracted and produced in safe and clean working environments as well as secure and controlled working conditions on building sites and in demolition processes. Furthermore, by emphasizing investment in human resources, the industry can develop towards more sustainable economic growth by using increased skills and knowledge to reduce the amount of raw materials and energy needed while at the same time improving productivity. Examples can be found in planning projects for informal settlements, in state-of-the-art office buildings and in capacity-building initiatives.

9 Extract from UN’s Sustainability Goals, available from https://www.un.org/sustainabledevelopment/economic-growth/



Build resilient infrastructure, promote inclusive and sustainable industrialization and foster innovation

Economic growth, social development and climate action are heavily dependent on investments in infrastructure, sustainable industrial development and technological progress. In the face of a rapidly changing global economic landscape and increasing inequalities, sustained growth must therefore include industrialization that first of all makes opportunities accessible to all people, and secondly, is supported by innovation and resilient infrastructure.10

The building industry produces massive amounts of waste and consumes large amounts of natural resources and energy. In addition, the transportation and production of building components globally rather than locally carry environmental as well as humane costs. Advancing sustainability in the built environment requires a development of industry and industrial infrastructure away from current practice and towards new ways of producing and assembling.

The industry, its services, products and transportation systems must be developed to pollute less, bind less energy, produce less waste and provide solutions that are safer and healthier than current standards. The building industry is by nature site specific, and we must aim at utilizing local industries and advancing the development of sustainable products locally in all countries. This requires the development of both physical and digital infrastructures to promote more sustainable trade and coexistence, including much more focus on the industry’s use of local materials and resources. Where advanced industry is available, the focus is on the development of products that improve existing standards and raise the level of sustainability, for example by moving from a focus on no waste in production to a focus on no waste in a life-cycle perspective. This requires training and the development of new competences at all levels in the building industry as well as research and prototypes for testing the potential of new tools, processes, and solutions. The resulting innovations in industry must continuously be measured against a culturally and climatically site-specific impact on sustainability.



Reduce inequality within and among countries

Inequalities based on income, sex, age, disability, sexual orientation, race, class, ethnicity, religion and opportunity continue to persist across the world within and among countries. Inequality threatens long-term social and economic development, harms poverty reduction and destroys people’s sense of fulfilment and self-worth. This, in turn, can breed crime, disease and environmental degradation.¹¹

The built environment can act as an amplifier and enforcer of inequalities. To reduce inequalities, planning and building must prioritize design that ensures inclusion and accessibility for all, including citizens that are marginalized, at risk or living with a disability. Citizens with disabilities risk being restricted to their homes or unable to hold a job, because stairs, steps, information systems, acoustics and other design features can make streets, transportation systems and institutions inaccessible. Religious and ethnic minorities, LGBT+ citizens and women experience being confined to designated areas or secluded from educational institutions and leisure facilities. Landscape qualities like a beach or a view can be closed to the public through design and planning that make them accessible only to owners or customers. To reduce inequalities, architecture must be designed and executed so that it is socially responsible, inclusive and takes into consideration the needs of all members of society leaving no one behind. Buildings, settlements, and urban areas must be designed with accessibility as a core functionality; from ensuring even surfaces, lifts, ramps and wayfinding features to giving attention to doorways and the height of utilities. It also means that social responsibility and inclusiveness must guide the programming, planning and design of buildings and urban areas so that they support and allow use by all with respect for local culture and needs. Examples span from state-of-the-art institutions adhering to universal design over initiatives supporting specific at-need groups to communities designed to include and prioritize marginalized citizens.



Make cities and human settlements inclusive, safe, resilient and sustainable

With the number of people living within cities projected to rise to 5 billion people – 60% of the world’s population – by 2030, it is important that efficient urban planning and management practices are in place to deal with the challenges brought by urbanisation.¹² Many challenges exist to maintaining cities in a way that continues to create jobs and prosperity without straining land and resources. Common urban challenges include congestion, lack of funds to provide basic services, a shortage of adequate housing, declining infrastructure and rising air pollution within cities.

The built environment is crucial to the development of sustainable cities and communities. Architecture, design and planning contribute in multiple ways to making cities and settlements inclusive, safe, healthy, resilient and environmentally sustainable. Among key contributions are design and planning that secure affordable, accessible and healthy housing, access to sanitation, as well as buildings, public spaces and infrastructure that help to reduce the spread of diseases. Furthermore, public infrastructure can enhance mobility and accessibility both between parts of a city and its surroundings, and can contribute to the reduction of pollution from transportation by enabling walking and biking.

Urban design can contribute to including all citizens by spatial organization and designs that reduce risks of intimidation and crimes, such as assault. Consideration of the needs of marginalized and disenfranchised citizens should be included from the early stages of planning, and all levels of stakeholders should be involved in the process. Urban design should also help reduce and counteract the environmental impacts of overuse, traffic, waste, noise and light pollution in urban areas. Individual buildings, as well as building complexes and settlements, must be developed to increase resilience and robustness in the face of climate change and include vegetation and green areas to help counteract the loss of vegetation and biodiversity caused by urban growth. Examples of this span broadly and can be found in urban renewal projects, in climate adaptation plans, in the transformation and reuse of outdated buildings and structures and in public spaces providing inclusion and support of marginalized citizens.

12 Extract from UN’s Sustainability Goals, available from https://www.un.org/sustainabledevelopment/cities/




Ensure sustainable consumption and production patterns

Worldwide material consumption has expanded rapidly as has material footprint per capita seriously jeopardizing the achievement of Sustainable Development Goal 12 and the Goals more broadly. Urgent action is needed to ensure that current material needs do not lead to the overextraction of resources or to the degradation of environmental resources, and should include policies that improve resource efficiency, reduce waste and mainstream sustainability practices across all sectors of the economy.¹³

The building industry is a major consumer of natural resources and contributor to waste. When buildings are demolished, most of the value of existing materials and components are lost. The same applies to renovations which transform vast amounts of already extracted and treated materials into waste. Even the process of constructing new buildings is producing waste: from cut-off bits of gypsum board over discarded formwork and the wrapping that components are delivered in, to materials damaged by weather or mistreatment. Designing for long lifetime, steady maintenance and keeping what we already have, by careful adaptation of existing buildings are key to sustainable consumption in the built environment. Design considerations for durability and life cycles can reduce the value loss and waste production in the building industry and in individual components, buildings and structures. Ideally, the design of buildings allows them to transform into different uses over time so that the materials and other resources invested in the structure retain their value even when a given use changes or becomes obsolete. Additionally, individual components and materials should be designed and employed so that they can be recycled and upcycled. Design and construction of new buildings must give priority to reducing the amount of material resources employed and waste produced. New architectural solutions and components must be developed that significantly reduce the use of resources overall, significantly limit the use of non-renewable natural resources and emphasize the use and reuse of local materials.

13 Extract from UN’s Sustainability Goals, available from https://sustainabledevelopment.un.org/sdg12



Take urgent action to combat climate change and its impacts

Climate change is now affecting every country on every continent. It is disrupting national economies and affecting lives, costing people, communities, and countries dearly today and even more tomorrow. Weather patterns are changing, sea levels are rising, weather events are becoming more extreme and greenhouse gas emissions are now at their highest levels in history. Without action, the world’s average surface temperature is likely to surpass a 3-degree centigrade increase this century. The poorest and most vulnerable people are affected the most.¹⁴

The CO₂ impact of buildings, settlements and cities must be reduced imminently, and at the same time, how we build must be adapted to the changing climate. We can achieve reductions in the CO₂ impact of buildings through energy renovations, by integrating renewable energy production in buildings, by expanding sustainable transportation infrastructures, by reducing transport of building materials, and by emphasizing the use of local and renewable materials. Furthermore, the design of new buildings can optimize climatic comfort with a minimum of energy consumption for heating, cooling and lighting. This requires consideration of the local climate and design that incorporates natural light, natural ventilation and the thermal properties of building structures.

At the same time, climate change is already happening, and existing buildings and settlements must be adapted to the changing conditions, including more extreme rainfalls, floods, hurricanes, drought and heatwaves. This requires new design solutions that are resilient to the changing conditions and sensitive to local culture as well as local topographic and climatic conditions. The number of adaptations and new infrastructure needed is huge and costly and will affect settlements and cities significantly over the years ahead. Architecture, planning and design have a special responsibility in developing climate adaptation solutions with co-benefits, such as overflow basins for extreme rainfall doubling as a recreational area between rainfalls.

14 Extract from UN’s Sustainability Goals, available from https://www.un.org/sustainabledevelopment/climate-change/



Conserve and sustainably use the oceans, seas and marine resources for sustainable development

The world’s oceans – their temperature, chemistry, currents and life – drive global systems that make the Earth habitable for humankind. Our rainwater, drinking water, weather, climate, coastlines, much of our food, and even the oxygen in the air we breathe are all ultimately provided and regulated by the sea. Careful management of this essential global resource is a key feature of a sustainable future. However, at present, there is a continuous deterioration of coastal waters owing to pollution, and ocean acidification is having an adversarial effect on the functioning of ecosystems and biodiversity.¹⁵

Most of the built environment is situated on land, but buildings, settlements and infrastructure, as well as the production and construction of built structures, nevertheless affect the oceans. The building industry affects the oceans through transport of building materials at sea while existing buildings, settlements and cities discharge wastewater and other waste into the oceans. To help preserve life under water, we must reduce transport of building materials and components over long distances by sea through the development of local industries and production facilities. Furthermore, we must abolish one-use plastic wrapping of materials and components to reduce the sources of nondegradable waste that ends up in the oceans. Landscape design and urban planning must ensure that pollutants like pesticides, nitrogen and human waste are handled on site and do not reach the groundwater or the oceans. This means that sewer systems, overflow basins and wastewater treatment facilities are central parts of the built environment’s relationship with the oceans. Through architecture, planning and design, we can develop solutions that reduce cost and add co-benefits to water-managing infrastructure. Furthermore, landscape design can ensure regenerative processes on polluted land close to the sea or where life below water is depleted. Caution must be exercised when buildings or settlements are placed on the coast or in fragile coastal ecosystems; on the other hand, carefully placed research and learning facilities in fragile coastal ecosystems can generate new knowledge and help increase public protection and awareness.

15 Extract from UN’s Sustainability Goals, available from https://www.un.org/sustainabledevelopment/oceans/



Protect, restore and promote sustainable use of terrestrial ecosystems, sustainably manage forests, combat desertification, and halt and reverse land degradation and halt biodiversity loss

Forests cover 30.7% of the Earth’s surface and, in addition to providing food security and shelter, they are key to combating climate change, protecting biodiversity and the homes of the indigenous population. At this moment in time, 13 million hectares of forest are being lost every year while the persistent degradation of drylands has led to the desertification of 3.6 billion hectares.¹⁶

The amount of built structures, buildings, settlements and cities taking up land is rapidly growing. Ecosystems and biodiversity are under intense pressure due to growing cities and settlements, farming, mining and the changing climate. To protect, restore and support ecosystems and biodiversity, buildings and settlements must include habitats for plants, insects, and animals. This means that green-field developments should be kept to a minimum and that planning, and development of all new settlements must ensure sustainable conditions for local ecosystems, flora and fauna. Nature networks that allow plant life should be developed in existing settlements and urban areas so that insects and other animals can co-exist with the built environment. Examples are found at all scales; from pocket parks and insect hotels to large-scale planning projects establishing or re-establishing nature networks and biodiversity in both big cities, suburbia and farmland.

Furthermore, the building industry can help promote sustainable forestry and combat deforestation by procuring wood only from sustainable sources and by generally using materials that are renewable and sustainably produced and that do not compromise biodiversity and natural habitats. Local flora and fauna must form the basis of landscape design in buildings and settlements, including lawns and interior greenery, so that the plants interact with and support local ecosystems.

16 Extract from UN’s Sustainability Goals, available from https://www.un.org/sustainabledevelopment/biodiversity/



Promote peaceful and inclusive societies for sustainable development, provide access to justice for all and build effective, accountable and inclusive institutions at all levels

Peaceful, just and inclusive societies are necessary to achieve the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs). People everywhere need to be free of fear of all forms of violence and feel safe as they go about their lives whatever their ethnicity, faith or sexual orientation.¹⁷

Architecture can help provide effective and inclusive public institutions. Parliaments, courthouses, as well as civic institutions like public libraries are cornerstones in a just and peaceful society while local community centres, places of worship and memorials can represent citizens’ commitment to social change and to an inclusive and compassionate society. Architecture does not make an institution just, but the effort and values put into a building can represent society’s commitment to justice, democracy and inclusiveness. Examples of this span from prestigious public buildings to NGO-funded memorials and community centres.

The built environment evolves continuously as new buildings, monuments and structures are added and older ones are developed or replaced. In this process, representation of equal justice for all citizens must find an architectural expression shaped through the inclusion of, and in dialogue with, all stakeholders. To support society’s expression of its values through buildings and public space, architecture and planning must ensure that public spaces and institutions are inclusive, welcoming, secure and nondiscriminatory. As part of this, public health measures and terror protection should be developed that are inclusive and inviting to all citizens and users. The design of libraries, community centres, memorials and places of worship must ensure safety, inclusiveness and affordability.

The building industry itself must pay close attention to procurement and construction processes in order to discourage theft, corruption, bribery and all other forms of organized crime. The building industry must also ensure that the extraction, production and handling of building materials do not rely on abuse, exploitation, human trafficking or child labor.


Strengthen the means of implementation and revitalize the global partnership for sustainable development 17


A successful sustainable development agenda requires partnerships between governments, the private sector and civil society. These inclusive partnerships built upon principles and values, a shared vision, and shared goals that place people and the planet at the centre are needed at global, regional, national and local level.¹⁸

Every home, building and settlement is built by many hands, and the development of a sustainable future similarly requires that we work together in partnership. No single stakeholder can reach the UN 17 Sustainable Development Goals alone. The challenge of achieving the goals requires the involvement of all – from governments and institutional actors to researchers, businesses and citizens. Architects, designers and planners can contribute by sharing knowledge, promoting sustainable solutions and engaging in collaborations with research and institutional partners to develop and implement sustainable solutions.

Examples span from non-profit partnerships providing homes for the displaced, to commercial partnerships developing new sustainable products and services to the building industry. Key to the partnerships is a willingness to include new knowledge, test new practices, engage with local climate, culture and resources and work with end users to ensure commitment and ownership in a life-cycle perspective. Partnerships for the goals also include associations and networks of professionals who have committed to working with the goals. From the International Union of Architects (UIA), which brings together architectural associations from all over the world and represent 3.2 million architects, to local study groups sharing know-how of green roofing systems.

18 Extract from UN’s Sustainability Goals, available from https://www.un.org/sustainabledevelopment/globalpartnerships/



The challenges addressed by the Goals are global; to achieve them we must work together across professional fields and national borders. Architecture interacts with each of the goals, and for each goal we must partner with other professionals, authorities, citizens and researchers to move towards more sustainable solutions everywhere.

While the challenges are great, each architectural project holds the potential to contribute towards new and more sustainable practices no matter the project’s location, scale or economy. Maybe a given building project can be produced with less materials, and those employed can be predominately local and renewable. Maybe a public space can be developed to accommodate better marginalized or vulnerable users and to increase nature networks in an urban context. No individual architectural contribution is too small, but all projects can and should contribute towards the new practices we need.

To find out more

To find out more about Leave No One Behind, visit:


To find out more about the Sustainable Development Goals, visit:




A windswept region

Strong western winds are an ever-present companion to architecture and urban development in Northern Jutland where the many agricultural buildings nestle into the landscape for shelter. Northern Jutland is characterized by flat terrain and wide-open land. The sky is high, especially near Skagen and Denmark’s northernmost point, Grenen, the spit where the Skagerrak and Kattegat straits meet in a demonstration of the eternal and powerful force of nature. The region is home to unique sceneries and picturesque coastal towns, from the harmonious yellow-washed market town of Skagen to the more recently established surfer’s paradise in Klitmøller, nicknamed Cold Hawaii.

Further south, the Limfjord strait slices through the region from east to west. On its shores, we find the city of Aalborg and further along the coasts and on the hillsides a wide network of markets towns, ports and villages.

The landscape around the smooth waters of the Limfjord remind us of the crucial role of waterways for historic settlements. The imposing historical ring fortresses near Løgstør and Hobro and the burial ground at Lindholm Høje in the town of Nørresundby are reminders of the region’s Viking past.

From seaweed roofs to big box buildings

In the open land, the main architectural structures are humble farm buildings along with a few manor houses, monasteries and abbeys. Børglum Abbey in Vendsyssel occupies a prominent and unusual location on top of a long ridge. The island of Læsø is home to a unique building type: long whitewashed half-timbered buildings with so-called seaweed roofs thatched with a layer of eelgrass that can be up to several metres thick.


Most towns in Northern Jutland were founded centuries ago and almost all have well-preserved historical town centres. However, Hirtshals and Hanstholm are quite new towns founded during the 20th century. Hirtshals is the result of Denmark’s largest urban planning competition which encompassed the entire town and was held in 1919. During the 1960s, Hanstholm was Denmark’s most modern town it terms of its urban plan. From the 1960s, the Danish welfare society manifested itself in large suburbs surrounding the cities, high-quality social housing developments, distinctive school architecture and town halls and charmless big box buildings along the approach roads to cities and major towns. In this region scenic coastal enclaves were taken over by discreet holiday homes which in many places are beautifully incorporated into the sparse and windswept dune landscape.

A city of smoking chimneys

Aalborg is the region’s main city. In the soil around the city, rich deposits of lime are found close to the surface, and many large cement factories have left behind wide, white lime quarries which scar the landscape.

Today, the ‘city of smoking chimneys’, as Aalborg traditionally was known, has been transformed into a city of knowledge and culture. The harbour front now features recreational areas, student housing, the House of Music, a university campus and the Utzon Centre, which celebrates the world-renowned architect and fellow-townsman Jørn Utzon. The city also boasts Denmark’s only building by the Finnish architect Alvar Aalto, the grand Kunsten Museum of Modern Art situated in a park-like setting. Today, the cement company, Aalborg Portland, is the only plant from the city’s industrial past that is still in operation. Many of the former production halls and warehouses on the harbour front, such as the former electricity generating station Nordkraft, have been transformed into housing or cultural facilities. The facilities build on local history and help preserve the original industrial character of the place.

Wild and powerful nature

Today, the waterways that used to be a source of life and livelihoods threaten to flood the buildings on the waterfront. This challenge is heightened by more frequent and intense rain events and storms and a need


for planning and construction to address climate change through coastal protection and raised quays.

In addition to the long stretches of coast, North Jutland has the benefit of expansive nature areas: Thy National Park, the high bogs Store Vildmose and Lille Vildmose, the Rold Forest, dune landscapes and the island of Fur with its characteristic mo-clay landscape. These fascinating, virtually deserted nature areas provide important habitats for plants and animals. In the future, they will also accommodate energy landscapes with wind turbines and large solar farms. Values and land are at stake in the efforts to protect biodiversity, the climate and cultural heritage.

Kornets Hus Hjørring

GOAL no. 2, 4, 11

At Kornets Hus visitors can cultivate, learn about, bake and taste the most important foodstuff in history: grain.

Every day agriculture becomes increasingly specialized and automated, and farms reduce their number of farm hands. This exacerbates depopulation in rural areas, which are also struggling with other challenges, such as changing demographics, i.e., a more elderly population and fewer young families. Tourism has the potential to create new types of jobs in rural areas and contribute to social and cultural development.

The education and communication centre promotes the region’s rich food and farming culture and tradition. Located on the land of an existing organic farm and bakery, Aurion, Kornets Hus offers visitors and employees a facility for activity-based learning – all centred around the importance of grain to Jutland and to human civilization at large. The idea was fostered by Jørn Ussing Larsen, co-founder of Aurion, who helped bring historical cereals back into Danish kitchens.

Based on research into the region’s rich landscape, folk culture and agricultural heritage, the architecture is defined by the two brick-clad light wells, which are a reinterpretation of bakers’ ovens. The interior opens up to the vast expanse of wheat fields to the South West, framing exterior views and opening onto a terrace. Public spaces are centred around a large bread oven, while teaching and exhibition spaces are defined by natural lighting and large skylights. The project is based on the concept of ‘design for disassembly’ and environmentally well-documented ‘material passports’. The building is heated by excess heat from its ovens and the Aurion production facility.

This project demonstrates how architecture can help develop new types of jobs in rural areas and create a reason to visit them. The project also spreads awareness and knowledge of traditional cereals, agriculture and culinary culture.


Project details

Where: Guldagervej 501, 9800 Hjørring

Completed: 2020

Client: Ejendomsfonden Kornets Hus

(The real estate foundation House of Grain)

Architects and advisors: Reiulf Ramstad Arkitekter, COWI (engineer)

Photos: Rasmus Hjortshøj, COAST

Vrå Children and Culture Centre


GOAL no. 3, 4, 11, 12, 17

The combined school, children’s and culture building in Vrå is an active meeting place for locals of all ages.

Many rural municipalities are facing population decline, and families with children are particularly difficult to attract. This makes it difficult to maintain schools and everyday life in small towns and villages.

Hjørring Municipality has been losing inhabitants for years and has had to close several small schools. However, the small town of Vrå has built a new, contemporary school that also houses a day-care facility, a play area for private registered child-minders, a music school, a continuation school, and a sports hall. Thus, the building offers a coherent setting for children from infancy to the last day of lower secondary school. The building, which has woodland on all sides, also contains a library and a municipal service centre and is thus an asset to the entire local community.

The school consists of clusters placed around a common ‘heart’. The architecture is inspired by the different levels of a forest: forest floor, tree trunks, tree crowns. Indoors and outdoors flow into one, and tree trunks become columns inside the ‘heart’, while the crowns form the roof structure. Timber elements in the exterior walls and roof form a connection with the nearby woodland and contribute to reduce the building’s carbon footprint.

The building was designed as a setting for learning, culture, movement, leisure and socializing with fluid boundaries among the activities. However, the nursery, kindergarten and school have their own separate entrances to provide calm, safe transitions between the children’s ‘home base’ and the communal areas.

This project demonstrates how a wide range of activities can be placed under one roof with an emphasis on children’s development, play and learning. By gathering essential daily and weekly activities under one roof, a strong meeting place has been created, thus supporting local life.


Project details

Where: Idræts Alle 1, 9760 Vrå

Completed: 2021

Client: Hjørring Municipality Architects: AART (main), JAJA Architects (subconsultant and landscape)

Søren Jensen Rådgivende Ingeniørfirma (engineer)

Photos: Rasmus Hjortshøj, , COAST

Grindsted School Vodskov

GOAL no. 3, 4, 5, 11, 12

Less classroom education and more dens, nooks and niches turned one of Denmark’s oldest school buildings into an inclusive, active and varied learning environment.

Many schools were built fifty or a hundred years ago, and their layout and interiors no longer match contemporary educational principles and learning approaches or accommodate the diversity of their students.

The school in Grindsted abandoned traditional classrooms in favour of an interior where pupils can switch between surfaces, niches, seating stairs and lofts as well as tables and chairs at different heights. This environment is conducive to all children, including children with special needs, who have had far fewer sick days since the renovation and expansion of the buildings.

The main buildings, dating from 1868 and 1910, have been remodelled. With the addition of the new-build, the school is now a complex of six wings with gable end walls visible from the street and two interior courtyards – like a village. The gable end walls and the village theme were inspired by local farmhouses built around a quadrangle.

The extension is categorized as low-energy building class 2020. Existing buildings have undergone energy improvements and had rooftop solar cells installed. The project uses natural, durable materials, such as brick and timber, and acoustic regulation, ventilation and added daylight apertures ensure a good indoor climate.

The new learning environments were developed with input from the users, including staff, management, parents’ representatives and, not least, the children, who virtually all called for variation and room for immersion in thought. These requests are met by the new, differentiated learning environment filled with dens, nooks and soft furniture which gives each student the opportunity to learn in the way that suits him or her best.

This project demonstrates how older school buildings can be transformed and supplemented with new spaces that appeal to a diverse student body, promote learning and well-being and make the school a more welcoming space.


Project details

Where: Uggerhalnevej 4, 9310


Completed: 2017

Client: Aalborg Municipality

Architects: Pluskontoret Arkitekter

Photos: Jesper Balleby


Aalborg and Nørresundby

GOAL no. 3, 9, 10, 11

A new bridge attached to the side of an existing railway bridge makes it easier for pedestrians and cyclists to cross the Limfjord. The bridge helps connect the cities of Aalborg and Nørresundby and provides a new landscape experience.

For green transition to succeed, cycling or walking need to be easier options than driving. However, many rural areas lack safe and attractive infrastructure for cyclists and pedestrians.

The new Kulturbroen makes it simpler and more rewarding to cross the Limfjord on foot or bicycle. A 403-metre-long bridge for cyclists and pedestrians has been mounted onto the side of the existing hinged railway bridge that connects Aalborg West and Nørresundby. The bridge lets pedestrians and cyclists cross safely, sheltered from the railway traffic, and offers new nature experiences for locals and tourists alike.

The red cyclist and pedestrian bridge has a lightweight construction designed with due respect for the distinctive steel railway bridge from 1928. It only sporadically rests on the railway bridge and is otherwise attached with a system of struts and a vibration dampening wire construction. The bridge construction is made of a strong lightweight composite consisting of plastic and fibres, and the elements are easy to remove and reinstall when the railway bridge is painted and rustproofed.

Energy-efficient LED lights form a luminous line in the handrails, guiding pedestrians and cyclists in the dark and making the bridge a visible element in the landscape.

Paid for in part by local fundraising, the bridge is a much-needed alternative for pedestrians and cyclists to the busy Limfjords bridge, which lies closer to the city centre.

This project demonstrates that infrastructure can be approached with innovative solutions. A simple and flexible addition to an existing infrastructure element has significantly improved conditions for cyclists and pedestrians and enhanced the connection between city and harbour front.


Project details

Where: Across the Limfjord, from Nørresundby to Aalborg

Completed: 2017

Client: Aalborg Municipality’s Technical and Environmental Administration

Architects: C.F. Møller Architects

Photos: Martin Schubert Photo: Martin Schubert

Karolinelund Kindergarten


GOAL no. 3, 4, 7, 8, 11, 12, 13, 15

A climate-friendly facility for preschool children looks like a small hill in a park.

Many nursery schools are established in old, adapted buildings, and the result is often a poor indoor climate, suboptimal spaces and high energy costs. Moreover, the green transition of our society requires that the youngest generations develop a close relationship with nature from an early age and a better understanding of the human impact on nature.

The new-build Karolinelund Kindergarten is located in the user-driven people’s park called Karolinelund, where it looks like a gentle, green hill. As the first DGNB Platinum-certified children’s facility in Denmark, the project’s sustainability credentials are in order – platinum is the highest level of this internationally acknowledged sustainability certification scheme.

Timber-built and with a green roof, the building blends naturally into its setting. Lush outdoor areas provide new habitats for wildlife and insects as well as varied play options for the children, including digging with a spade or sawing and whittling in the outdoor workshop.

Inside, nature, architecture, education, play and learning flow seamlessly together. The diverse spaces offer rich encouragement to play as well as room for quiet times and activities. The centrally situated common room offers selected peeks of structural features so the children can see and learn how the building was constructed. The design also focuses on good working conditions for the staff.

The kindergarten is designed according to the Passive House principles with low energy consumption and a good indoor climate. The children can take part in waste sorting, and their parents can drop off and pick up used things on a swap shelf set up by the staff.

This project demonstrates how architecture designed for children can both meet their needs for play and development and provide opportunities for a more direct engagement with the relationship between humanity and nature.


Project details

Where: Karolinelundsvej 50, 9000 Aalborg

Completed: 2017

Client: Aalborg Municipality

Architects and advisors: BJERG Arkitektur, BY+LAND (landscape), MOE (today: Artelia – engineer), RUM til BØRN (consultant), Lund & Staun (contractor)

Photos: Jonas Krebs

Aalborg East Aalborg

GOAL no. 3, 8, 10, 11, 17

In a ten-year turnaround, a worn down and uninviting housing development plagued by social problems was transformed into a safe and diverse neighbourhood with new functions and improved public spaces.

Most cities have distressed residential areas characterized by monofunctional planning, closed areas and a lack of good urban spaces coupled with social and public health challenges. Many of these problems exacerbate each other, forming a negative cycle.

A series of development initiatives resulted in improved public health, job creation, a more diverse mix in housing and urban life in Aalborg East. Extensive cooperation among the housing association, municipality, region and local businesses led to a more diverse urban area, a densified city centre and a strengthened community.

One of the earliest strategic initiatives was the establishment of a primary healthcare centre to address the lack of access to healthcare in the area and improve public health. In a vote, the residents supported demolishing three housing blocks to make room for the centre. Since 2012, the new Health and Neighbourhood Centre has created 200 jobs and continues to bring many daily visitors into the area. It houses several clinics – general practice, psychology, dermatology and physiotherapy – a pharmacy, a café and a fitness centre.

Another key initiative is the transformation of a dark, narrow tunnel into a bright, spacious underpass with new urban spaces on either side. This ties together two previously divided residential areas. Other changes include preschool facilities, additional housing, cafés and restaurants. About 2,000 social housing units were renovated, and 500 new high-quality private and social housing units were built.

This project demonstrates how a negative cycle can be broken and living conditions can be improved for a large group of people in an urban area when multiple actors work together. The turnaround was not just based on demolishing buildings, but also on adding new functions and improving public spaces and housing standards.


Project details

Where: 9220 Aalborg Ø

Completed: 2011-2021

Client: Himmerland Boligforening (Himmerland Housing Association) and Aalborg Municipality

Architects: C.F. Møller, Link Arkitektur, KPF Arkitekter, Norconsult, Pluskontoret Arkitekter, EFFEKT, Rosseels Tegnestue ApS, Marianne Levinsen Landskab, Tegnestuen Vandkunsten

Photos: Claus Bjørn Larsen and Realdania Photo: Claus Bjørn Larsen and Realdania


The settling of Ice Age landscapes

The hilly moraine landscape of Eastern Jutland was created after the ice age. Melt water from the ice carved out rivers and inlets that flow into Kattegat on the east side of Jutland thus creating natural harbours which provided a basis for human settlement. Jutland’s largest city, Aarhus emerged as a Viking Age settlement at the mouth of a river – the city’s first port.

The Djursland peninsula is home to Denmark’s first national park, Mols Bjerge (the Mols Mountains), where large areas have now been designated for rewilding in order to promote native biodiversity. The characteristic moraine landscape is also home to eco communities such as Friland and Grobund which aim to develop more sustainable ways of living and building.

Skønvirke and non-profit housing in Aarhus

The medieval town centre of Aarhus is still visible in old street networks and in the few remaining original half-timbered merchant houses. The cathedral – the longest church in Denmark – was initially built in the 12th century as a Romanesque structure and is still a central feature of the town; over the centuries it has undergone several expansions.

Around 1900, Aarhus was flourishing, and the city’s development accelerated. Architect Hack Kampmann’s buildings from this period are significant features in the present-day city: Aarhus Theatre, Erhvervsarkivet (the Business Archive), Toldboden (the Custom House), Marselisborg Palace and Villa Kampen. These buildings were all built in the Skønvirke style, the Danish interpretation of Art Nouveau.

Aarhus University was built as a result of a project competition in 1931 won by architects Kay Fisker, Poul Stegmann and C. F. Møller with C. Th. Sørensen as landscape architect. The landscaped character of the campus has been maintained for close to a century now, despite many subsequent expansions. The modernist Aarhus City Hall is the result of another important competition won by architects Arne Jacobsen and Erik Møller in 1942. The building’s tower has become an icon of the city, despite initial objections and resistance to the modern architecture.


Numerous non-profit housing developments were constructed in Aarhus just before, during, and after World War II, and are continuing to be expanded through a democratic process involving users. By the end of the 1960’s, major non-profit housing estates were established and became urban districts in their own right, including the areas Gellerupparken and Rosenhøj. These monofunctional housing areas are currently undergoing renovation and transformation to increase social and environmental sustainability, and also as part of a political project to change the demographic composition of the areas.

Exchange of containers, technology and culture

Today, Aarhus is the largest container port in Northern Europe, with import and export connections all over the world. Previously, port activities and large-scale industry were Eastern Jutland’s main business areas. However, in recent years, Aarhus and the rest of Eastern Jutland have gradually become an internationally oriented knowledge region with many educational institutions – not least Aarhus University, with about 50,000 students and scholars from around the world.

Eastern Jutland is also a centre for high-tech companies, including the fields of IT systems and solutions for the green transition, such as wind turbines, heat recovery from wastewater, development of geothermal systems and sustainable solutions for agriculture and food production.

Several small and large theaters, a large concert hall, and numerous smaller music venues promote culture in the region. Additionally, Aarhus boasts one of Denmark’s largest art museums, AROS, and Moesgaard Museum, which presents prehistory in a stunning architectural setting. The experimental art museum Museum Jorn is located in the town of Silkeborg.

Picking up the pace

The Eastern Jutland motorway links the towns and cities on Jutland’s east coast together and contributes to concentrating development in this part of Jutland, also known as the Eastern Jutland Million City. The region is connected through a public transport system. By train, the travel time between Eastern Jutland and Copenhagen is just three hours.


Cars have long been the favoured mode of transportation, but today, cycling is gaining in popularity. Large towns and cities are improving conditions for cyclists, and a growing network of ‘cycle highways’ connects towns and cities throughout the region.

Aarhus has about 350,000 inhabitants and an annual net gain of about 4,000 residents, many from abroad. This population growth has led to a building boom and a process of urban densification that is now sparking local protests against the many tall new buildings. It is necessary to develop towns in the surrounding area as an alternative to continued settlement in the main city and to develop new housing types as an alternative to detached single-family houses – a type of housing that occupies large amounts of space without adding qualities to the original village structures.

Port, woods and seaside

Towns and cities along Jutland’s east coast are currently seeking to improve access to the seaside. Harbour promenades are being established, and harbour-front areas are being used for recreational purposes. In Aarhus, the library and culture centre DOKK1 on the harbour promenade acts as a meeting place for large-scale cultural events near the water. Both sides of Aarhus have easy access to woods and beach from the city centre via footpaths or cycle routes.

The proximity to sea and green space is a characteristic of many of the region’s seaside towns and cities. Thus, they all face the challenge of rising sea levels and are active in engaging in floodwater protection efforts. In the town of Ebeltoft on Djursland, the strategic development project Klimarobust Kystkultur (Climate-Resilient Coast Culture) aims to create a green vibrant harbour area that draws nature into the town and uses climate protection measures to secure good connections between port and town. This is just one example of the coordinated approach to climate resilience and urban development.


Maltfabrikken Ebeltoft

GOAL no. 10, 11, 12, 17

The characteristic red malt factory in the town of Ebeltoft was rescued by local citizens and transformed. In its new incarnation, the building is a gathering place for all, locals as well as tourists, and an even more striking architectural landmark for the town.

Many small towns were built around a single industry that provided local jobs and shaped local identity. The large industrial plants have a dominating presence in the cityscape and were often seen as landmarks of the towns. When they fall out of use, they often decay until they are eventually demolished, and we lose an important part of our industrial cultural heritage.

For many years, Ebeltoft was known for its production of malt. The town’s characteristic red factory from 1861 continued to produce malt right up until its closure in 1998, when it went into hibernation. Local activists joined forces to preserve and transform the former factory, and in the summer of 2020, the building reopened – now as the ‘people’s factory’.

Today, Maltfabrikken is a cultural and creative powerhouse open to all. Among the many new facilities are a culture centre, a library, play areas, a museum, an archive, a youth culture scene, artist residencies, workshops, a design shop, a concert venue, a restaurant and a micro-brewery. Outside, there are charming courtyards, a skate track and a rooftop viewing platform.

Maltfabrikken is well-suited to accommodating this mix of functions, because it is a multi-building complex that was formed in stages. The transformation expanded and tied the individual buildings together through a simple yet distinctive colour scheme with black plinths and red plastered exterior walls. New and old complement each other in this complex, where the architects preserved some of the old machinery and the graffiti.

This project demonstrates how an obsolete industrial plant can be revived as a local meeting place, an incubator for innovation, art and entrepreneurship and a tourist attraction in a transformation that also preserves an important cultural heritage.


Project details

Where: Maltvej 4–12, 8400 Ebeltoft

Completed: 2020

Client: Fonden Maltfabrikken

Architects: Praksis Arkitekter, Kristine Jensens

Tegnestue (landscape)

Photos: Jens Markus Lindhe

Feldballe School Feldballe

GOAL no. 3, 9, 11, 12, 13

The extension of Feldballe School is free from harmful chemicals and is designed to absorb more CO2 than it emits.

Climate and resource concerns underscore the need to find alternatives to chemicals, concrete and steel in construction.

In the small rural village of Feldballe, the local school totally redefines the standards for sustainable construction. Feldballe School was bought by local citizens for the purpose of preserving their school from closure. The decision was made to build an extension primarily of locally bio-based materials. The aim was for the extension to absorb more CO2 than it emits and to be free from chemicals.

With the roof made solely of certified timber, and a ventilation system filter made of seagrass, the school extension is built almost entirely of locally sourced, natural, and bio-based materials. The walls are made of compressed straw in wooden cassettes plastered with clay – a traditional method, but in this case, the straw components were made to measure based on a 3D model. All the components can be disassembled.

The natural materials lend the extension a warm, welcoming expression, and because there is no need for large ventilation ducts or suspended ceilings, rooms are spacious and high-ceilinged.

Straw is a leftover agricultural product that is normally composed or incinerated. When used in construction, it binds CO2 in the building. In addition, straw is free from chemicals with no off-gassing into the indoor climate, and it can be produced virtually anywhere in the world.

The new school building is an ambitious example of sustainable construction for the future and supports the school’s goal of preparing students for a future that calls for innovative regenerative solutions. This project demonstrates that it is possible to construct a radically different building using bio-based materials with a positive climate profile and a healthy indoor climate. It also shows that local enthusiasts can lead the way.


Project details

Where: Ebeltoftvej 56, 8410 Rønde

Completed: 2021

Client: Feldballe Friskole & Børnehus

Architects: Henning Larsen, straw components produced by EcoCocon

Photos: Rasmus Hjortshøj, COAST

Nye – nature-driven urban development


GOAL no. 3, 6, 7, 8, 9, 10, 11, 13, 15, 17

A brand-new urban district north of Aarhus gives its inhabitants access to both nature and city. With solutions that make room for nature, community and biodiversity, it sets new standards for future sustainable urban communities.

In many places, urban development is happening rapidly, but this approach has far-reaching consequences for nature and climate.

With the city as its front garden and nature as its back garden, the Nye district celebrates the growing trend of people wanting to live in or close to a city while at the same time having easy access to nature. The new district, which is still under development, is a visionary collaboration between a private player, the municipality and a utility company.

Nye is located 10 kilometres north of Aarhus adjacent to the new light rail track, which means residents can reach Aarhus city centre in 30 minutes by public transport. It is a dense development with housing constructed mainly from sustainable materials, and available under a variety of ownership schemes. The district will also feature shops and public services.

Wild green roadside verges and medians and open water trenches are part of the landscape design and biodiversity strategy. Rainwater is managed on the terrain and gathered from the entire area to be purified and used for flushing and laundry in the new homes.

Community is a key aspect of Nye where car sharing, shared office spaces, communal evening meals and strategically placed communal areas in different scales and with different programmes form the basis of strong neighbourly relations and sustainable solutions.

The project demonstrates the future of urban development in a set-up where multiple players work together to build dense, varied developments with an emphasis on community-building, sharing economy and nature conservation.


Project details

Where: Nye, 8200 Aarhus N

Completed: Ongoing

Developer and project owner: Tækker Group Architects and advisors: CEBRA (architect and urban planner), LABLAND (landscape), Territorium (planning consultant), COWI (water and mobility)

Photos: Tækker Group

Lisbjerg Recycling Station Aarhus

GOAL no. 8, 9, 12

In Aarhus, people can drop off and pick up used building materials for free at the new recycling station in Lisbjerg, which is partially constructed from local waste. The circular facility, which is set in a scenic area, places recycling and resource awareness centre stage.

Danes produce vast amounts of waste: 845 kilos of household waste per capita per year. That is a European record which puts both climate and nature under pressure and raises the need to address how we consume, dispose of and recycle our resources. Construction waste has a high climate impact. In Denmark, it accounts for about 35 per cent of all waste or about four million tons of waste a year.

The new recycling station in Lisbjerg near Aarhus is partially constructed from waste. Many of the materials come from other local recycling stations, including timber, doors, windows, gravel and concrete. The foundation of the new building is made of crushed and recycled concrete waste. Here and there, fragments of writing on the building’s recycled timber reveal its former use.

The circular building makes it easier for people to drop off waste, as the shape eliminates the need to reverse your car with a trailer attached to it. In addition to this practical aspect, the architecture also underlines a circular mindset.

In a hall containing used building materials, private individuals, builders and local companies can drop off and pick up materials free of charge, including timber battens, doors, plywood sheets, aerated concrete blocks, bricks, tiles, roofing paper and fittings.

In the hilly landscape around the recycling station, visitors can go for a walk along the Nature Path, which combines recycling with storytelling and recreation.

This project demonstrates how awareness of consumption and recycling can be raised by building more attractive and functional recycling stations and using recycled materials and waste in construction.


Project details

Where: Ølstedvej 70, 8200 Aarhus N

Completed: 2022

Client: Kredsløb

Architects and advisors: LOOP Architects, Schønherr (landscape), Sweco (engineer)

Photos: Ib Sørensen Photo: Ib Sørensen

Made in Aarhus Aarhus

GOAL no. 1, 3, 7, 8, 12, 15

In a world of limited resources and far-reaching future climate changes, construction too has to limit its use of resources and reduce carbon emissions. Made in Aarhus aims to create an urban development where affordable and sustainable solutions go hand in hand.

Almost one in four inhabitants in Danish cities uses more than 40 per cent of their disposable income on rent or mortgage payments. Low-income groups, such as students or pensioners, are particularly sensitive to rent increases and other changes to their budget. This increases the risk of our main cities increasingly becoming the exclusive reserve of high-income groups.

The vision for Lisbjerg is a diverse urban district with an emphasis on affordable housing, varied architecture, sustainable solutions and circular construction. The housing development Made in Aarhus consists of 215 dwellings and is a mix of owner-occupied dwellings and affordable housing for rent.

Lisbjerg is the first urban district in Denmark to have a municipal detailed plan that requires at least 20 per cent of upcycled material in exterior walls and facades. Exterior walls are made of reusable and upcycled materials: brick, slate, painted metal sheets and timber. Recycling and green solutions are consistent features throughout. In accordance with the project’s ambition of using recycled materials from Aarhus and environs, three of the 12 building clusters are clad with red pantiles from a building in the nearby town of Skanderborg. By using timber constructions, the imbedded CO2-footprint of the building materials (calculated for a lifetime of 50 years) was lowered to 4.3 kg CO2 eq. per m2/year.

Solar panels provide the project with renewable energy. Biodiversity is another focus of the project: By combining 8,830 m2 green roofs with 10,800 m2 of natural grass areas, bush and tree plantations it was possible to increase the bio factor of the site in comparison to its former agricultural use.

The project demonstrates that a limited budget is not a contradiction to sustainable urban development.


Project details

Where: Lisbjerg Bygade, 8200 Aarhus N

Completed: 2022

Client: NREP

Architects and advisors: Lendager (architecture and landscape), MOE (today: Artelia – engineer)

Photos: Giedre Skucaite and Lendager

Lisbjerg Hill Aarhus

GOAL no. 1, 3, 12

West of Aarhus lies a modern mountain village built in untreated spruce using a hybrid construction method. The settlement is one of the first four-storey timber projects in Denmark.

In many cities, the lack of affordable housing makes it difficult to sustain a diverse population that includes low-income groups. In addition, climate and resource concerns underline the need to find alternatives to concrete and steel in construction.

In the hills 10 km west of Aarhus city centre, a small development has emerged consisting of three to four-storey timber buildings placed around two small squares and along a main street. The multi-storey timber buildings, which are rare in Denmark, spark associations to an Alpine village. In addition to the wide galleries on the outside of the houses, which serve as communal patios, the residents also encounter each other in the community building, in the squares and in the gardens.

The buildings are designed for disassembly based on a hybrid building method and a column-beam construction in laminated timber. Concrete and steel are used where it is meaningful for constructive and practical reasons. In some places, steel girders have been used instead of wooden beams to preserve the proportions of the building system. Concrete has been used for stairs and lift cores to meet the strict noise requirements for multi-storey housing.

The untreated spruce exterior is replaced on a continuous basis instead of being painted and is protected by oversized eaves and drip flashing. Inside, the wooden walls provide excellent humidity regulation, softer acoustics and a neutral temperature – and thus a healthy indoor climate. Due to the shape of the roof and the construction principle, the top-floor flats have extra-high ceilings. Large windows provide good daylight influx and views of the surrounding landscape.

This project demonstrates the use of timber to build modern, sustainable and affordable housing that forms a setting for social encounters and informal communities.


Project details

Where: Lisbjerg Bakke, 8200 Aarhus N

Completed: 2018

Client: AL2bolig

Architects: Tegnestuen Vandkunsten

Photo: Helene Høyer Mikkelsen Photo: Søren Nielsen

Royal Danish Library Aarhus Aarhus

GOAL no. 3, 4, 7, 12, 13, 16

The transformation of the Royal Danish Library Aarhus redefines the library as a public space that can be used for focused work, team processes or a break with table tennis, boxing or gaming.

A growing number of young people are struggling with loneliness, exam anxiety and mental distress. Many do not feel included in their student community, a problem that two years of Covid lockdowns has exacerbated. Libraries can be important social and cultural meeting places, but in many cases, their layout needs rethinking.

Rising visitor numbers at the Royal Danish Library in Aarhus and a need to relocate the large server room led to a decision to renovate and reorganize the building and create a new public space. Today, the library has become the public gathering place of the Universitetsparken (the University Park).

The library’s new heart is the green oasis on the first floor: the Library Garden. This double-height loggia is home to 4–6-metre-tall trees, a variety of other plants and running water that improves the indoor climate. An almost 7-metre-tall bookcase with built-in seating niches visually ties the four floors together. The former server room now houses a student kitchen with a dining space, meeting room and ‘Tænkepausen’ (Pause for Thought), a room where a curving oak floor defines zones with different facilities. A glass wall shields against external noise, and three thick wool curtains define circular spaces for mindfulness, massage and gaming.

Other adaptations, including incorporating the basement and rethinking the design of the reading room, have allowed new activities. The heat output from the server is used for heating space and water, new solar cells on the roof contribute to the power supply, and switching to LED lighting has reduced energy consumption.

This project demonstrates how a library can be transformed into sustainable, contemporary and varied settings for research, inspiration, recreation, socializing and learning without resulting in added resource consumption.


Project details

Where: Victor Albecks Vej 1, 8000 Aarhus C

Completed: 2020

Client: Det Kgl. Bibliotek (Royal Danish Library)

Architects and advisors: Arkitema Architects, MOE (today: Artelia – engineer)

Photos: Niels Nygaard Photos: Niels Nygaard

Æbeløen – residential park Aarhus

GOAL no. 10, 11, 13, 15

Urban densification emphasizing sustainability and a good life for tenants, insects and flowers.

The constant population increase in our major cities often leads to the demolition of existing buildings to make room for larger, taller and more standardized building volumes that prioritize cars and car parks over human well-being. These urban areas often seem anodyne, and the perceived urban quality is usually a far cry from the qualities that characterize the original historical city.

Æbeløen has a plot ratio of 200 per cent, compared to 185 per cent in the existing neighbourhood that it extends. The increase was achieved using architectural features that are familiar in a Danish context, including sloping roofs, brick exteriors, skylights and green courtyards, interpreted in a contemporary expression. Materials were carefully selected with an eye to aesthetics, quality and long-term durability.

Æbeløen was also designed to be an active part of the city. The houses are arranged around a new, public street that connects the area to the nearby Botanical Gardens. New courtyards are designed to invite outdoor life. For example, most of the stoops double as seats, and the flats have small front gardens that offer a pleasant outdoor living space. The combination of rental and owner-occupied units ensures a diverse demographic mix with students, families and seniors contributing to local life at different times of day.

The courtyard design includes integrated rainwater management features in the form of visible recreational elements, such as small rainwater plant beds. In combination with ‘wild’ plant beds and green exterior walls, this will over time make the area a haven for animals and plants. Vegetation is carefully selected to create optimal conditions for insects and birds.

This project exemplifies that we can achieve urban development by building on tradition while at the same time addressing climate and biodiversity challenges.


Project details

Where: The area between Saltholmsgade and Møllevejen, 8000 Aarhus C

Completed: 2020

Client: A private group of investors

Architects and advisors: CEBRA (architecture, landscape), MBYland (landscape), OJ Rådgivende Ingeniører (engineer), Raundahl & Moesby (contractor)

Photo: Mikkel Frost Photo: Kasper Hornbæk

Youth culture centre and housing – UKH and UKHome


GOAL no. 1, 3, 10

A youth culture centre combined with housing for students and at-risk young people helps combat homelessness and leads to new creative communities.

There are about 5,800 homeless people in Denmark, and almost a third are between the ages of 18 and 29. Many have mental health issues or addiction to alcohol or drugs, and the mortality among the homeless is 14 to 20 times higher than among the same age group in the general population.

The purpose of the youth culture centre UKHome is to prevent and reduce homelessness among young people in Aarhus. The project provides 24 dwellings for 18-30-year-olds in a converted patient hotel attached to the former Aarhus County Hospital. Half the dwellings are allocated to at-risk young people without accommodation, the other half to students. The dwellings are placed in connection with a youth culture centre which contributes to a lively, creative environment based on art, culture and community. The shared areas are mainly furnished with second-hand furniture.

The interior design also reflects the aim of offering young people a way out of homelessness by encouraging various degrees of co-living. Every flat has a kitchenette and bathroom, but residents can also cook and eat together in the communal kitchen or visit the youth culture centre in the basement which is open to a wider target audience and offers activities such as music, dancing, creative workshops or communal meals. The building has a social caretaker whose job it is to promote community-building through shared activities.

This project demonstrates how the combination of youth housing and a youth culture centre can help counteract loneliness and isolation and prevent homelessness among young people. It is part of a general development plan for the former hospital site and reuses a building from 1898 that is worthy of preservation.


Project details

Where: Tage-Hansens Gade 8B, 8000 Aarhus C

Completed: 2020

Client: City of Aarhus, Department of Social Affairs and Employment, Ungdomskulturhuset – UKH (Youth Culture House) under City of Aarhus – Department of Culture and Citizens’ Services

Architects: Klara Lyshøj, Niras, Ungdomskulturhuset – UKH (Youth Culture Centre)

Photos: Aidin Esmeali Photos: Aidin Esmeali


Viby, Aarhus

GOAL no. 3, 4, 11, 12

Is it possible to build affordable, community-oriented housing for students while preserving a special historic environment? This project accomplishes both.

Loneliness is a growing problem, not least for students, since embarking on further education is often a difficult life transition. The consequences of loneliness are significant, both at a personal level and for the national economy and may lead to somatic or mental illness. Moreover, many university towns struggle to offer their student population good, affordable housing. This project addresses both issues and brings new use into a historic environment worth preserving.

Studielandsbyen is a transformation and extension of the Søgaarden, an 18th-century half-timbered farmhouse built round a courtyard and located in Viby near Aarhus. Originally a cattle farm, the Søgaarden was gradually swallowed up by the growing city, and today, it is an idyllic rural oasis surrounded by highways and shopping centres. In this project, the remaining farm buildings were restored and transformed, and seven new buildings were added. The development contains 56 student dwellings in addition to communal facilities and grounds. The rent is affordable for students.

The project preserved the original character of the Søgaarden. In form, materials and construction, the new buildings appear as contemporary interpretations of the original ones. The historical buildings now have additional insulation and new roofs, and their timber frames have been restored.

The space between the buildings forms an intimate social network of informal meeting places, streets, passages and squares, where new and old stand side by side. Thus, the village combines easy access to communal settings with room for privacy.

The project’s community-oriented structure is based on the village model and aims to combat loneliness among the residents. In addition, it preserves and revives a special cultural environment that is rapidly disappearing from Danish cities.


Project details

Where: Damagervej 6–10, 8260 Viby

Size: 1,190 m2

Completed: 2017

Client: Studielandsbyen ApS

Architects: pihlmann architects in collaboration with Office Kim Lenschow

Photos: Hampus Berndtson

From stable to family dwelling


GOAL no. 6, 7, 11, 12

In Mårslet, a village close to the city of Aarhus, lies a stable that was built for farm animals in 1970 but now serves as a contemporary family home. In addition to reusing the building, the project features reused furnishings and energy and water-saving solutions while preserving the original rustic expression of the original stable.

Rural Denmark has thousands of vacant buildings made obsolete by urbanization and new agricultural practices. Due to the cost of demolition, the disused buildings often fall into ruin, becoming a blight on the landscape and contributing to a general sense of decline. Unless they are put to new use, their cultural and material value will be lost, and both people and jobs will disappear from the countryside.

This project transformed a disused stable in a village near Aarhus into a contemporary family home. The building’s exterior walls in aerated concrete and load-bearing timber construction were preserved along with the original wooden ceilings. Indoors, aerated concrete was used for additional internal walls and insulation, while milk paint with chalk was chosen for its breathability and light reflection.

The 17-metre feed aisle running through the stable was also preserved. The kitchen, living room and home office are placed as open spaces along this axis, forming a combined living space. Variations in wooden and concrete flooring mark the different spaces and functions. In two of these rooms, reused oak parquet floors from 1939 and 1960 bring additional character to the 170-m2 dwelling. Bathroom elements are reused, as is the kitchen furniture which was made in 1970 and simply updated with repainted doors. Solar cells and rainwater collection help reduce electricity and water consumption.

The project gives new life to a disused building and shows that it can be transformed using existing building elements and materials combined with reused elements from other projects. It also produces clean energy and reduces water consumption.


Project details

Where: Obstrupvej 25, 8320 Mårslet

Completed: 2015

Clients and architects: Lea Aviaja Frost and Esben Dannemand Frost

Photos: Helene Høyer Mikkelsen

Ry Market Hall Ry

GOAL no. 8, 11, 12, 17

Commerce, culture and urban life in the town of Ry have resurged after local residents created a multi-purpose market hall and a local meeting place on the site of the former post office.

Shuttered shops are a growing problem in small towns. Commercial life and shops are an important aspect of the quality and attraction of a town, and when that aspect is missing or reduced, it affects people’s perception of the place.

When Ry Post Office closed in 2005, local residents launched an initiative to transform the centrally located site near the station. Today, the new market hall is the setting for regular weekly market days, local festivals, concerts, events and a café as well as a quiet place to seek shelter from the elements.

The hall has a modular construction with components in sawn Douglas fir bolted together. The open, sculptural and slightly asymmetrical timber construction is clearly visible through the glazed exterior walls, which are only partially covered with battens. The large glass doors at both ends of the building can be opened or shut as needed. After dark, the building is illuminated and emanates warmth to the urban space around it.

The roof of the unheated building is insulated with paper wool. The building components are easy to disassemble and reuse. At one end of the hall, there is a small tea salon with seating inside the open hall and under the large parasols on the square in front of the building. The owner of the salon is also the caretaker of the hall.

With its simple yet distinct architecture and flexible all-year use, the hall has helped turn the tide for local shops and businesses and regenerated urban life and commerce in Ry.

This project demonstrates how a simple meeting place and recreational space in a small town can help boost urban life and local social cohesion.


Project details

Where: Klostervej 1, 8680 Ry

Completed: 2020

Client: Skanderborg Municipality

Architects: DANØ ARKITEKTUR (architecture, landscape), GUSTIN LANDSKAB (the urban square)

Photo: Jesper Danø Photo: Thomas Mølvig Photo: Jesper Danø

Friluftshuset Silkeborg

GOAL no. 3, 4, 12, 13

The Nature and Outdoor Life programme at the folk high school, the Silkeborg Højskole, has a new building with a timber exterior and interior. The building is entirely built of natural materials with inspiration from ancient techniques. The result is a low environmental impact and a healthy indoor climate.

Poor indoor climate is a major problem in many educational buildings, old and new. According to research, this has a significant negative impact on students’ well-being and learning. Characterized by a single-use mindset, today’s construction industry consumes huge amounts of carbon-heavy materials and solutions that cannot be recycled.

Friluftshuset is located in the transitional zone between an open lawn and dense woodland and forms the setting of the Nature and Outdoor Life programme at the Silkeborg Højskole.

Wood is used for interior wall boards, exterior cladding, insulation and construction which ensures a minimal carbon footprint and a healthy indoor climate. The wood also creates an atmosphere and an expression that makes the building seem like an extension of the woodland space and supports indoor learning activities. The large panorama windows and round portholes provide varied views and a connection to the woods.

The building’s construction was inspired by the old Danish bole barn, a timber construction that has been in use since the Viking Age. The ventilation windows in the building are also based on a centuries-old concept that takes advantage of naturally preheated air.

The screw pile foundation contains no concrete and adapts the building to a high groundwater level and varying amounts of surface water. The screw pile foundation and the building’s bolted constructions and exteriors are designed for disassembly to facilitate maintenance or reuse. Its wood-fibre-based materials are also recyclable.

This project demonstrates how a building can be constructed using allnatural materials with a low carbon footprint, a healthy indoor climate and excellent technical and aesthetic qualities.


Project details

Where: Platanvej 12, 8600 Silkeborg

Completed: 2021

Client: Silkeborg Højskole Architects: ReVærk

Photo: Anders Rajendiram Photo: Martin Gravgaard Photo: Martin Gravgaard


Moraine landscape shaped by ice

During the last ice age, a glacier ground to a halt along a line that runs north-south down the middle of Jutland. At the town of Viborg, the ice turned west and continued deep into what is now the North Sea. West and south of the ice front, the landscape was shaped by moraine hills from the previous ice age. When the ice melted, gravel and sand poured into the valleys, filling them and flowing into the landscape to form wide plains. As a result, Western Jutland is a region of both light sandy soil and rich moraine soil.

Shipping and cattle trading

This vast area was settled by poor freeholders. Settlement was scattered, and there were no manors or landed estates. The few medieval towns in Western Jutland are situated along the waterways, i.e., near rivers and inlets: Lemvig, Holstebro, Ringkøbing and Varde. These towns are oriented towards the west and based their livelihood on shipping.

Along the west coast, cattle trading was for hundreds of years the main source of income. The area offered optimal grazing conditions, and local village churches in Husby, Staby, Stadil og Hee reflect the general wealth of the area.

Viborg stands out by being located east of the ice front. It has historically served as a gathering place, a seat of power and a spiritual centre of western Denmark. It has always been a wealthy town, and it is home to one of the two Viking Age thingsteads in Denmark.

Self-made wealth

The construction of the railway network from the 1860s led to the establishment of several new towns. Farmers were poor but free and rich in initiative and enterprise and a large textile industry emerged, especially around the new town of Herning. After WWII, some of the local smithies grew into factories, and during the 1970s, local initiative led to the establishment of several wind turbine factories and many associated subcontractors. Over time, there were a number of factory mergers, and today, Western Jutland is home to two large wind turbine companies, both global market leaders.


The textile industry underwent a similar development. Later, manufacturing moved to Eastern Europe or the Far East, while innovation and sales departments remained in the region. Several large fashion brands are still based in West Jutland.

A 45-degree roof pitch

The original architecture of Western Jutland was characterized by frugality. The traditional house in towns as well as in the country is a long building with a roof pitch of 45 degrees. The roofing materials were tiles or thatch although thatched roofs were later replaced with tiled roofs due to the fire hazard.

Viborg is an exception from the more toned-down architecture in the rest of the region. Here, the houses are either entirely brick-built or half-timbered with oak frames, which is rare in western Denmark. Many of the buildings are rich in detail.

From around 1050, churches in Western Jutland were built of hewn stones from the fields. They have steep saddle roofs and gables that are constructed and positioned to stand up to rough weather and the prevailing western wind.

Recent years have seen a number of architectural gems being built in Western Jutland, including ‘The White Town’ in Herning, Musikteatret (the Music Theatre) in Holstebro and the Court House in Viborg.

Denser and higher

For the past four decades, urban development in western Denmark has been dominated by single-family houses. Relatively low land prices (compared to eastern Denmark), low interest rates and a general increase in affluence have given young families the opportunity to realize their dream of owning a detached house. The average house size is 180 m2 with a plot of 800 m2. This results in considerable sprawl, albeit controlled by the national Planning Act and municipal planning.

In recent years, there has been a general policy to increase urban densification. More low-rise, high-density developments are being established,


including many senior housing communities. This is reducing the demand for new single-family houses, as the fastest-growing group today is the 60+ age group looking to move to smaller dwellings with a close-knit community.

Town centres are being densified with the construction of taller buildings. The former cityscape of two-storey housing is changing to four or five storey buildings in most big towns and cities.

Managing wind, sun and rain

The world’s largest test centre for wind power is located near the town of Thisted close to the west coast. Here, wind turbine factories from Denmark and abroad can test their newest prototypes. The wind turbine structures are up to 280 metres tall, and a single wind turbine of this size can power about 20.000 households. Thus, most of the year, the region is self-sufficient with electricity and even produces enough to export to other parts of the country.

The many wind farms in the region enjoy widespread popular and political support. A public policy of supporting fossil-free energy is also fuelling the establishment of solar farms and solar cell innovation. Among these new developments, solar farms will be placed on scaffolding to be raised far enough above the terrain so that the land underneath can be cultivated.

Sewer systems are being renovated to enable the separation of wastewater and rainwater. Through infiltration, rainwater is led into naturally formed pools that are part of public recreational areas. Meanwhile, single-family houses are being retrofitted with rainwater infiltration systems which further reduces the pressure on rainwater management systems.

In summary, when it comes to industry, Western and Central Jutland are innovative participants in the transition to sustainability, while the regions’ architecture is more modest and traditional.


Herning Library Herning

GOAL no. 10, 11, 13, 15

A department store from 1968 forms the unpolished setting for the city of Herning’s new library and informal meeting place. With its design and location, the library connects the pedestrian street, the bus terminal and the train station, creating a lively urban setting.

Most of the energy that goes into constructing a building is embedded in its structural elements, and the production of concrete has a particularly large carbon footprint. Thus, the widespread demolition of concrete buildings from the 1960s and 1970s just a few decades after their completion has a heavy climate impact.

Moreover, due to the high cost of land in many cities coupled with intensive urban growth, there are few places where people can go for free and socialize indoors. This exacerbates social divides.

In Herning, a former supermarket from 1968 has been transformed into a new library that serves as an indoor extension of the city’s central pedestrian street while also establishing a direct link to the bus terminal and the train station. Previously, Herning’s library was located on the edge of the town. The new building and its central location have tripled the number of visitors to the municipal library and boosted life in the city centre.

The concrete shell remains behind the new panels of Corten steel and handmade bricks. The original constructions have been stripped back to their raw surfaces and are complimented by exposed technical installations across the ceiling. Apertures have been cut into the deck to let in rays of light, and an open staircase connects the basement and ground level. These solutions create well-lit work, study, and recreational spaces.

The building has LED lighting and heat recovery ventilation, and windows as well as exterior walls have undergone energy renovation.

This project demonstrates how a concrete construction can be reused in a way that brings added architectural value. It also shows how a well-located publicly accessible indoor space can bring people together across social divides.


Project details

Where: Østergade 8, 7400 Herning

Completed: 2014

Client: Herning Municipality

Architects: GPP Arkitekter (main), Kristian H. Nielsen Arkitekter

Photos: Asbjørn Haslov

sØnæs Viborg

GOAL no. 3, 6, 13, 17

sØnæs is a visionary climate project in which the concern for the environment, water purification, climate adaptation, recreation and nature go hand in hand in a waterscape designed as a city park.

Changing climate conditions imply heavier rainfall in Denmark putting growing pressure on wastewater treatment and sewer systems. Paved surfaces in urban areas prevent infiltration into the ground of rainwater, which therefore flows into the limited capacity sewer system. This results in overflow and outlet into lakes and harbours with the risk of contaminating vital natural habitats. Rainwater from urban areas is not clean and should never be discharged directly into lakes, streams or the sea.

The municipality of Viborg decided to expand the wastewater treatment facilities of the urban area by creating a multifunctional park which was given the name of sØnæs (a play on words). A pond purifies runoff from rooftops and roads, which is led through separate sewer systems in Viborg before it is discharged into Søndersø lake.

Parts of the park have a permanent water surface, while other parts are designed to be resistant to flooding. The purification process is carried out by means of sedimentation. The water in the large pond is almost stagnant, which causes sand, particles and impurities to sink. This purifies the water, which can then be discharged into the lake. In case of extreme rain, the water will flow from the treatment basin into several overflow basins, ensuring that the water is always clean before it reaches the lake.

Just as important, the area facilitates water-related sports and playgrounds and shows the public how various water treatment methods, water circulation and natural resources work.

This project combines the need for climate adaptation, wastewater treatment, recreational facilities, climate change education and improvement of nature and environment.


Project details

Where: sØnæs Park, 8800 Viborg

Opening year: 2016

Client: Viborg Municipality and Energi

Viborg Spildevand

Architects and advisors: LYTT, WSP

Photos: Carsten Ingemann

GAME StreetMekka Viborg

GOAL no. 3, 5, 10, 12, 16, 17

In a generic industrial building from the late 1960s and 70s in the city of Viborg, StreetMekka provides a setting for street culture, art and sports.

Physical inactivity in children and young people can lead to lifestyle diseases and obesity, as well as negative social consequences. This development may be countered by doing sports or other physical activities that increase fitness and create opportunities to meet people, socialize and build communities.

The process of converting a former industrial area close to Viborg’s city centre into a natural extension of the centre and an independent urban district included a special effort to build the identity of the new area. To promote this initiative, Viborg Municipality offered a disused industrial building to GAME, a non-profit organization that promotes social change through street culture and physical activity. The organization teaches young people to become ‘playmakers’ – trainers who act as role models in their own urban communities.

The building has now been transformed into a centre for street sports, culture and arts. Here, locals can engage in art forms such as graffiti, street sculpture, installation art, animation, videos, music, DJ’ing, rapping, light and sound.

The original building is a generic factory building from the late 1960s and 70s constructed from prefabricated concrete panels. The architect stripped the factory of all secondary walls and installations to create a huge open space with high ceilings perfect for high-flying skateboard tricks. Full-width industrial windows at each end open the building to the surrounding landscape and create a fluent experience of the inner and outer playgrounds and sports fields.

This project demonstrates how a disused industrial building can be activated and act as a catalyst for urban development, sports, art and culture.


Project details

Where: Nellikevej 2, 8800 Viborg

Opening year: 2018

Client: GAME, Viborg Municipality, in collaboration with the philanthropic association Realdania, The Danish Foundation for Culture and Sports Facilities, TrygFonden, and The Nordea Foundation.

Architects and advisors: EFFEKT (main), BOGL (landscape), Beaver Concrete, Jonathan Linde (Parkour), Bjørn Iisager (Bouldering), Lars Pedersen (Street Art) and Nørlum (Digital Art & Animation), Thomas Andersen A/S (contractor) and Rambøll (engineer)

Photos: Rasmus Hjortshøj, COAST

Kulturlandskab Oddesund

Oddesund North, Thyholm and Venø Harbour

GOAL no. 11, 14, 17

Cultural and military history and the natural landscape of the Limfjord embodied in four small-scale projects initiated by local residents on the Thyholm peninsula and the island of Venø.

Danish islands face depopulation at a faster rate than rural areas on the mainland. In an effort to survive, some islands are enhancing and highlighting their cultural heritage and nature experiences with dedicated locals playing a crucial role.

Oddesund is a narrow strait with a strategic location on the Limfjord. The surrounding area is characterized by natural landscapes and a rich history of everyday life, fishing and times of war and crisis. Together, four projects dedicated to each of these aspects, offer a coherent perspective on site-specific development under the joint title Kulturlandskab Oddesund (Cultural Landscape Oddesund).

The four projects in brief: 1) Two bunkers from WWII transformed into Regelbau 411, an art centre dedicated to experimental audio, light and video art. The concrete architecture produces characteristic acoustics and a sensory experience with distinct contrasts. 2) Oddesund Tower, a viewing tower with a focus on local nature and history. The tower is a popular destination and serves as a landmark for UNESCO Global Geopark West Jutland. 3) Restoration and renovation of one of the oldest buildings in the areas, ‘Garnhuset’ (the Net House) from the mid-19th century. The house is open to visitors and tells the story of local fishing practices. The site where the fishermen tarred their cotton fishing nets to keep them from rotting has also been conserved. 4) Denmark’s oldest wooden car ferry still in operation, Venøsund, from 1931. The ferry previously connected the island of Venø to the mainland, but is now used as a sailing cultural platform, including educational trips.

Together, these four projects demonstrate how small-scale local initiatives can build on local identity and cultural heritage to strengthen and promote communities in sparsely populated areas.


Project details

Where: Oddesund Nord, 7790 Thyholm and Venø Harbour (the Venøsund culture ferry)

Completed/transformed: Art centre Regelbau 411, transformed 2018; Oddesund Tower, completed 2018; Garnhuset/Tjærestedet (Net House/Tarring Site), restored 2022; Venøsund, transformed and renovated 2011

Client and initiators: Struer Municipality, Struer Museum, Culture Landscape Oddesund, Oddesund Nord Beboerforening, Geopark West Jutland, Venøsund Færgelaug, Garnhuset: restoration by Struer Kommune

Architects and advisors: LABLAND (Master Plan Oddesund); MNT Arkitekter (Oddesund Tower); Per Yde and Oddesund Beboerforening (restoration of Garnhuset); COLORCLOUDSTUDIO (transformation of Venøsund)

Photo: Mikkel Kaldal Photo: Jørgen Lindholm Pedersen Photo: Jan Bendix

Studio and private home Agger

GOAL no. 3, 11, 12

A two-century-old fisherman’s cottage is being restored with inspiration from local building customs supplemented by a new-build in local natural materials.

Vacant houses are a blight in many rural towns and villages. Municipal administrators often opt for demolition. This is not only a loss of cultural heritage, which is crucial to attracting tourists and new residents, but also a waste of useful materials. In addition, renovation and construction are often carried out without regard for local building customs using new materials that may contain harmful chemicals.

A young architect couple moved from Copenhagen to Agger, where they are currently restoring a fisherman’s cottage from 1827. Next to the cottage, the architects have added a new building to serve as their joint studio and home.

In the cottage, they are restoring the original wall made of beach boulders set in clay mortar, a traditional local building method that is all but lost. Many of the worm-eaten posts and beams with carvings made by previous inhabitants retain sufficient load-bearing capacity to be reused.

In the new-build, reused materials from local demolition projects and nontoxic local materials were used, including seashells, wood wool insulation, wood, sand, lime and clay. In their basic composition, these materials are similar to traditional ones and fully applicable in contemporary construction. The construction is autoclaved aerated concrete, which contains no chemicals and can be crushed and recycled. The window frames are locally made with a linseed oil finish. The ceiling is lined with cheap pinewood planks from the local building supply centre, and the floor is made of ordinary bricks set in sand. The front door and many of the furnishings and interior elements are made of left-over wood from the construction.

This project demonstrates the feasibility of challenging building conventions and using a much larger share of local and natural materials in newbuilds. It is also an example of building and restoring with respect for local building traditions.


Project details

Where: Vesterhavsvej 3, Agger, 7770 Vestervig

Opening year: 2021

Client: Caroline Hahn and Ebbe Lavsen

Architects: Hahn Lavsen

Photos: Hahn Lavsen Photos: Hahn Lavsen

Cold Hawaii Inland Thy

GOAL no. 3, 5, 10, 11, 13, 17

Floating shelters, sea baths and saunas are among the group of new ‘hot spots’ along the shallow Limfjord designed to promote water sports and outdoor living and improve access to the sea for everyone.

Coastal areas are popular destinations, and there is a growing interest in recreational activities on or near the water. However, many sites along the coast are difficult to access for locals and tourists alike, especially for persons with disabilities.

For centuries, the sea and fjord have defined and shaped everyday life in the district of Thy in north-western Jutland. Recent decades have seen the water being used increasingly for recreational purposes. The surfing area in so-called Cold Hawaii on the North Sea is a huge success. Now, local pioneers in Thy aim to introduce similar activities in the calmer waters on the north-western side of the Limfjord and in the nearby lakes.

Cold Hawaii Inland consists of about a dozen different projects that promote water sports and outdoor activities, including a wakeboard track, four floating shelters, sea baths, saunas, a kayaking hotel, panoramic viewing spots and outdoor barbecues.

The projects promote social communities and offer inclusive and accessible public spaces for all, including persons with physical or mental challenges or disabilities. Some of the projects also integrate protective measures against high tides and storm surges.

The coastal development projects were initiated by locals and have become a part of the municipality’s strategic efforts to attract new inhabitants.

Cold Hawaii Inland demonstrates how the coast can be designed to have a more positive impact on people’s mental and physical health and, through this, on settlement and tourism in a rural district.


Project details

Where: Thy, Northern Jutland

Opening year: From 2021 onwards

Client: Thisted Municipality

Architects and advisors: Spektrum Arkitekter (main)

NORRØN Architects, A1 consult and A&I Engineers

Photos: Spektrum Arkitekter


Flat, open land, deep inlets

Human settlements in Southern Jutland lean east. Here, the varied moraine formations from the most recent ice age have created a landscape characterized by fertile soil, soft rolling hills and deep inlets –attractive and fascinating. The land is heavily settled and cultivated but retains green and blue features in the form of woods, lakes and sea.

To the west lies the Wadden Sea and flat, open terrain. A vast, level landscape with dikes to protect it from the sometimes intense weather. Innovative architectural structures at the Wadden Sea Centre and Tirpitz Museum provide insight into these unique natural landscapes and history. The latter museum is based on the historical Tirpitz bunker from WWII. Today, it stands as an important historical monument for the Atlantic Wall and the tragedies of the war. This sparsely built-up landscape is also home to Denmark’s oldest urban settlement, Ribe.

Kings, merchants and Moravian Brethren

Ever since the eighth century, Ribe in the western part of Southern Jutland has been a port for ships from the North Sea and hence an important trading centre. During the 10th century, the earliest Christian monarchy in Denmark was based in the town of Jelling on the Jutland ridge, now a UNESCO World Heritage Site. Subsequent kings built castles and fortresses in the Southern Jutland towns of Kolding, Sønderborg and Haderslev.

The market towns in Southern Jutland emerged after the 13th century as bay-side towns with ease of access from the sea connected to landbased trade routes that crossed the inlets. The town of Fredericia founded in 1650 stands out by being established as a fortified town; one of the best-preserved in all of Northern Europe.

Christiansfeld was founded during the 1770s as a model town by the Moravian Brethren, a Protestant reform movement. The town centre is exceptionally well-preserved and has been declared a UNESCO World Heritage Site.


The area of North Schleswig south of Kolding was ruled by Prussia from 1864 to 1920. Several towns in this region flourished due to their significance as border towns and many of the buildings are in a German style.

During the industrial era, towns such as Esbjerg, Billund and Vojens emerged around or closely associated with enterprises that played a key role in the development of the local area. LEGO built its own airport in Billund in the early 1960s; today, this airport is the main international air hub for western Denmark.

A central hub

As a central region of Denmark and as a gateway to Europe, Southern Jutland has an extensive traffic and transport network. From the 1850s, the railway tied towns and cities together. Later, highways and even later motorways were built which now serve as the main arteries for the exchange of goods and labour in the region. One prominent central hub is the so-called Triangle Region defined by the towns of Vejle, Kolding and Fredericia. All traffic between Jutland and Funen and Zealand passes through this area, near the Little Belt Bridge.

The airports in Billund, Esbjerg and Sønderborg are also significant to the region, along with the ports in Esbjerg, Fredericia and Aabenraa.

Urban transformation

Agriculture dominates the experience of the landscape in South Jutland with farms scattered throughout the scenery. Historical urban centres are surrounded by housing areas with single-family homes as the dominant form. Large industrial and commercial areas often dominated by logistics enterprises are also emerging on the outskirts of towns and along the approach roads, blurring the impression of a coherent urban unit.

In coastal towns, the original harbour areas are undergoing extensive transformation. In some cases, the industrial ports are growing in significance, including Aabenraa, Fredericia and Esbjerg, while others give way to new, exclusive housing developments, as in Sønderborg, Haderslev, Fredericia, Vejle and Horsens. The proximity to Jutland’s main city, Aarhus, also influences the role and growth potential for some towns, including Horsens.


The market towns are home to local administration and public sector buildings dedicated to education and health, often in buildings of high architectural quality. Good examples include the distinctive university architecture in Kolding and Sønderborg.

A recent trend is that urban centres are being densified through the addition of tall buildings with the aim of profiling the towns and providing a wide view and outlook. In particular, Vejle with Fjordenhus and Bølgen (The Wave), Billund with LEGO House and Sønderborg with Hotel Alsik have implemented a deliberate policy to incorporate art and architecture in their efforts to create a unique local profile.

More nature

In Southern Jutland, coherent nature areas are sparse due to intensive cultivation. Hence, the establishment of green space close to urban areas, and the designation of national parks are a priority in both planning and legislation efforts.

In recent centuries, major wetlands have been drained and converted to farmland. Ecological restoration projects, such as those at Slivsø, Solkær Enge and Filsø are now leading the water back to these areas to the benefit of new nature areas and biodiversity. Other related initiatives include afforestation and the setting aside of marginal farmland, all with the purpose of giving nature a more prominent role in Southern Jutland.


FLUGT – Refugee Museum of Denmark

Oksbøl GOAL no. 10, 16

The largest refugee camp in Danish history, located in a small town in western Jutland, has been transformed into a museum that tells both historical and contemporary refugee stories.

The world currently has an unprecedented number of refugees. Right now, an estimated 100 million people all over the world are forcibly displaced, fleeing war and persecution. Future climate change is expected to exacerbate the problem. In the media, we encounter refugees in dramatic images and numbers that can be difficult to grasp and relate to.

The Oksbøl Camp was the largest refugee camp in Denmark. At the end of WWII, as the Red Army advanced into Germany, many civilians fled to Denmark, and at its peak, the camp was home to about 35,000 German refugees. The camp formed a community with its own theatre, hospital, shops and workplaces.

The FLUGT museum (the name literally means ‘to escape’) tells the story of the refugee camp as well as present-day international refugee stories. It is housed in a building formed by two former hospital wings linked by a new, curved building clad in Corten steel. The new structure forms a bright and spacious breathing space in between the two sombre exhibitions. In the woodland around the museum, visitors can take an audio walk along the camp’s original paths and streets and visit the old refugee cemetery.

The principal figures in the exhibition are the more recent refugees stemming from Russia, Germany, Hungary, Vietnam, Chile, Lebanon, Iran, Bosnia, Syria, Afghanistan, Ukraine and other countries. The presentation puts faces on the refugee crisis and offers insights into individual refugees’ thoughts and reflections – from their decision to flee to their arrival in a new country, adaptation to a new homeland and hopes for the future.

This project demonstrates how architecture can bring past and present together and promote reflection and understanding of a difficult and urgent issue.


Project details

Where: Præstegårdsvej 21, 6840 Oksbøl

Completed: 2022

Client: Varde Municipality/Vardemuseerne

Architects and advisors: BIG – Bjarke Ingels Group, Ingeniør’ne (engineer), Tinker Imagineers (exhibition design), BIG Landscape, BIG Ideas, Gade & Mortensen Akustik (acoustics), HB Trapper

Photos: Rasmus Hjortshøj, COAST

The Wadden Sea Centre

Vester Vedsted

GOAL no. 11, 12, 14, 15

Denmark’s largest, flattest and wettest national park covers a magnificent but also sometimes dangerous and fragile natural landscape. The Wadden Sea Centre inspires visitors to explore, appreciate and protect the delicate marshlands.

The global rise in tourism puts pressure on nature and thus on fragile landscapes. Many visitors lack knowledge about how they can best help preserve the natural landscapes they have come to experience. This is also true of the 500-kilometre-long coastal landscape known as the Wadden Sea. The area is now Denmark’s largest national park and a UNESCO World Heritage Site.

The Wadden Sea Centre tells the story about the natural qualities of the national park and hosts exhibitions as well as education and research activities. This project extended and transformed the existing Wadden Sea Centre into a one-of-a-kind building which nestles into the flat landscape in a celebration of the region’s natural characteristics and local architecture. The roof and exterior walls are thatched, demonstrating the qualities and resilience of local materials and traditional crafts. The salt in the air naturally impregnates the straw, making the use of chemicals unnecessary. The same applies to the Robinia timber used for the exterior walls.

The Wadden Sea is home to a fragile ecosystem and a habitat and breeding ground for migrating birds. The unique marshlands shaped by tidal movements over millions of years provide habitats for wildlife and plants but can also sometimes create dangerous conditions for people. At the new visitors’ centre and on guided nature walks, visitors learn about the unique landscape and how they can safely and respectfully tour the dramatic marshlands.

Since the reopening of the Wadden Sea Centre it has become an iconic attraction in its own right, and the number of visitors has been tripled. This project demonstrates how architecture can attract visitors to an important natural area and inspire them to explore, appreciate and protect nature.


Project details

Where: Okholmvej 5, Vester Vedsted, 6760 Ribe

Opening year: 2017 (phase 1) and 2021 (phase 2)

Client: Esbjerg Municipality

Architects and advisors: Dorte Mandrup, Marianne Levinsen Landskab (landscape), Steensen & Varming and Anders Christensen ApS (engineer), JAC Studios with Jason Bruges and No Parking (exhibition design), Fortheloveofflight (lighting design), Kim Andersen ApS in corporation with Arne Klüwer and Hemmed Tækkefirma (thatching)

Photos: Adam Mørk Photo: Adam Mørk

Højer – gateway to Tøndermarsken Højer

GOAL no. 6, 9, 11, 17

Lanes and squares in the town of Højer were paved with 8,700 m2 of deep red tiles in a project that combines climate adaptation with urban development and aims to attract tourists and new inhabitants to the ‘town behind the dike’.

With water coming from both the sea and the sky, coastal settlements are at an increased risk of flooding. Coastal towns are often far from other towns and surrounded by beautiful open landscapes. Despite their scenic setting – and, in many cases, a valuable built heritage – they often struggle to attract new inhabitants, investments and tourists.

Højer is a historical marshland town on the edge of Tøndermarsken on the Wadden Sea. For centuries, it has defended itself against water coming in from the marshes and the sea. Over the years, the terrain in and around the town has undergone many modifications, including stone walls along property boundaries in town and drainage canals in the marshes.

The town’s recent urban renewal also had climate adaptation as a key priority. A large basin and custom-designed grates were introduced to separate rainwater from wastewater in a solution that is a subtle celebration of rain.

Højer is known for its dense, crooked streets and unique architecture with traces of Danish and German building customs. In this renewal, the historical houses were restored, and streets and urban spaces were given new surfacing that highlights the density of the old town. The cobblestones were asphalted over during the 20th century when small-scale industry blossomed in the area, and the population grew. Today, streets and lanes are covered with cobblestones, asphalt and an 8,700-m2 carpet of tiles in a deep shade of red that matches the city’s identity and history.

The renewal has enhanced Højer’s appeal as a tourist destination and as the gateway to the UNESCO-listed landscape of Tøndermarsken. This project demonstrates how climate adaptation and urban renewal can be combined with respect for a unique cultural environment and local building traditions.


Project details

Where: Højer, 6280 Højer

Completed: 2023

Client: Tøndermarsk Initiative – a partnership between the philanthropic association Realdania, A.P. Møller and Chastine

Mc-Kinney Møller Foundation, the Nordea Foundation and Tønder Municipality aimed at developing Tøndermarsken to make the area an even more attractive place to visit, live and work.

Architects and advisors: ERIK BRANDT DAM arkitekter, NIRAS (engineer), Light Bureau (lighting), Urban Creators (mobility)

Photo: Erik Brandt Dam Photo: Niels Nygaard and Realdania

Erlev School Erlev

GOAL no. 3, 4, 11

Erlev School is one of the first schools in Denmark built almost entirely in wood. The school also stands out due to the layout of its interior, which promotes new principles for learning, play and physical activity and accommodates individual needs.

Learning and education are conditions for sustainable long-term development, but the layout of the interior and design of most schools are not compatible with the newest educational principles and their focus on innovation, communication and collaboration – so-called 21st-century skills. In addition, new research shows that a good indoor climate leads to happier, cleverer, healthier children.

Erlev School offers activity-based learning with a focus on play, activities, health and nature. Instead of traditional classrooms, the approx. 500 students aged 5-12 are divided into age groups and taught in so-called activity zones.

The new-built 5,000-m2 school contains a children’s universe, a junior universe, an educational workshop, teaching kitchens, a gym and a staff room. The year group areas are designed as learning landscapes with a great differentiation of learning opportunities. From a large common room in the center to open and closed zones with caves, stairs, niches, variety of different types of furniture - hard and soft - that support the students’ different learning styles.

Erlev School is one of the first in Denmark to be constructed in wood. This material was chosen to create a healthy indoor climate and sensory experiences. The exterior construction was made from Accoya timber, which is durable, impervious to micro-organisms and certified as sustainable. Window frames are made of Kebony, and the building has an extra layer of fire-resistant laminated timber.

This project demonstrates how innovative school architecture can provide a flexible setting for contemporary and future learning and promote the health and well-being of children and young people.


Project details

Where: Gl. Hørregårdsvej 29, 6100 Haderslev

Completed: 2021

Client: Haderslev Municipality

Architects and advisors: Arkitema, Pluskontoret, Arkitema Urban (landscape), Sloth Møller (engineer)

Photos: Niels Nygaard

Campus Kolding – University of Southern Denmark


GOAL no. 3, 4, 9

The five-storey atrium is the heart of the Kolding Campus of the University of Southern Denmark. The building promotes knowledge sharing and communal feeling and comes with significant energy savings.

A building’s operational carbon – i.e., greenhouse gasses emitted while the building is in use – accounts for 28 % of the building and construction sector’s global CO2 footprint. So, in large buildings every energy-saving solution makes a difference. Educational architecture must also be innovative to inspire new principles for learning and promote well-being among students, who increasingly struggle with loneliness and stress.

Campus Kolding was designed to have minimal energy needs for lighting, heating, cooling and ventilation. As a result, it has an energy consumption of 20–25 % compared with similar facilities and is classified as Energy Class 1. This makes it one of the world’s first low-energy universities.

The geometry and facade design are central elements in the sustainability strategy designed to lower the building’s operational carbon emissions and improve the indoor environment. As daylight changes, the facade moves to provide students and faculty with optimal daylight conditions and a comfortable indoor climate. The facade is a dynamic solar shading system fitted with sensors that continuously measure light and heat levels and regulate the shutters mechanically. The system consists of approx. 1,600 triangular, perforated shutters mounted on the façade which allows them to adjust to the changing daylight. Indoors, an atrium spanning all five floors forms the building’s meeting place.

The building turns the traditional educational organization inside out. Learning has moved from traditional, long corridors and closed classrooms into the heart of the building. Each floor was designed to facilitate encounters while also offering calm spaces for concentrated work.

The project demonstrates how a large educational facility can be designed for maximum resource efficiency while providing a comfortable and inspiring learning environment.


Project details

Where: Universitetsparken 2, 6000 Kolding

Completed: 2014

Client: Bygningsstyrelsen (Danish Building and Property Agency)

Architects: Henning Larsen, Kristine Jensens Tegnestue (landscape), Orbicon (engineer)

Photos: Hufton+Crow Photos: Hufton+Crow


The island landscapes of southern Denmark

In addition to Zealand, Møn, Lolland-Falster, Funen and Langeland, which are linked together by bridges, this region includes many small scenic islands mainly in the southern-most part of Denmark. The region accounts for a large share of Denmark’s territory and includes a wide variety of landscape types, including the South Funen Archipelago with its unique geology and the characteristic cliff landscapes at Stevns and Møns Klint.

North Zealand is characterized by large wooded areas, lakes and inlets as well as smaller towns, market towns and several royal palaces with impressive parks. The rest of the region includes a network of market towns, numerous villages, large swaths of farmland, manor houses, landed estates and palaces. The coastal areas are dominated by beach and holiday home developments, some of them having evolved around small fishing hamlets.

From single-family houses to eco community

Over the past five decades, the single-family house has remained the preferred housing type. Suburbs with single-family houses have developed around the existing cities. With local supermarkets and big box stores, they are independent of the city centres, many of which are struggling with vacant shops. Køge is a good example of a town that has preserved its city core by placing new shops centrally rather than near the large approach roads.

Settlement patterns vary throughout the region, but one of the main trends is a move from the country and small towns into the larger towns and cities. Urban growth is mainly concentrated in the transport corridor between Copenhagen, Odense and Jutland. As a result, rural areas, in particular, are struggling with a growing number of vacant properties.

In a separate trend, a growing number of people are choosing to leave the cities. Some settle in the most attractive market towns nearby, such as Svendborg and Roskilde. Others choose new paths entirely. The eco-village Dyssekilde near the village of Torup has been around for more than 30 years, while the co-housing community Skråningen in Lejre was established just a few years ago. Permatopia near Karise is another recent


example, where a group of singles, couples and families aim to build a sustainable living and working community with an emphasis on self-reliance.

Hiking trails and art

In much of the region, the landscape was shaped by landed estates, and on Funen, Langeland and Ærø, a 660 km bike route takes tourists and local visitors on a tour passing 123 castles and manor houses. In the south of Funen, former fishing cottages along Øhavsstien (the Archipelago Trail) have been transformed into shelters, offering basic accommodation throughout most of southern Funen.

Camønoen (the Camøno Trail), ‘the friendliest hiking trail in the kingdom’, includes the scenic islands of Møn, Nyord and Bogø. The trail is 175 km long and based on the notion of sustainable hiking tourism which is continually developed to the benefit of hikers and local islanders alike.

The region also features several art museums, including Faaborg Museum, Fuglsang Museum on Lolland, the Johannes Larsen Museum in Kerteminde, Arken in Ishøj and the internationally acclaimed Louisiana Museum of Modern Art in Humlebæk. Some museums are specifically dedicated to local nature and cultural heritage, including Øhavsmuseet, housed in a former seed store on Faaborg’s harbour-front, and the Stevns Klint Experience on the edge of the limestone quarry, Boesdal Kalkbrud.


Creativity and entrepreneurship flourish many places in and outside the cities and large towns. In places that lack the economic or population growth to drive development, dedicated local individuals and associations play a key role, typically in cooperation with the municipality. There are numerous examples of recreational, association and culture centres run by volunteers in disused buildings. Møn, in particular, has flourished in recent years. A network of small enterprises in the hospitality industry have shot up based on the Camøno Trail and the scenic landscape, especially at Møns Klint.

Lolland is preparing for the opening of the Fehmarnbelt Fixed Link to Germany and is planning new holiday centres and homes and a new


cultural institution aiming to bring in art installations to revive the island’s impressive architectural heritage.

Odense, located on the island of Funen, has transformed its city centre with a new light rail system and a bold decision to eliminate the main traffic artery that has split the city in two since the 1960s. This transformation shows the way for a sustainable approach to urban development which no longer allows cars to dominate the city. In the town of Årslev, the ‘suburb of the future’ is taking shape, with a disused factory as the venue of leisure activities, entrepreneurial endeavours, community building and a brand-new residential area based on community and proximity to nature. Farthest to the west, the town of Middelfart is putting climate at the top of the agenda with an annual climate festival, among other initiatives.

The smaller islands, too, have a strong entrepreneurial culture, for example at the former engine works Motorfabrikken (the Engine Factory) in Marstal on the island of Ærø, which has been transformed into a modern culture centre with entrepreneurial activities and an exhibition on the area’s industrial and maritime history.

Climate measures and quality of life

Climate is also on the agenda on the islands, especially with regard to the risk of rising sea levels. Many of the market towns are located close to the coast. Hence, they have a strong emphasis on coastal protection and engage in a range of initiatives. In Roskilde, climate measures aimed at protecting the areas around Roskilde’s inner harbour and Jyllinge Nordmark against flooding include integrated recreational solutions that take advantage of the proximity to the many qualities offered by the inlet. In the centre of Korsør, high-water protection is planned to create recreational spaces that encourage the use of urban spaces near the coast and tell the history of Korsør. At Svendborg’s Søndre Havn (South Harbour), there are plans to prevent future flooding from the sea with a high-water protection installation that serves as a long-desired public path across the water.

A common feature of these projects is that in addition to being practical and technical installations intended to keep the water out, they also include concerns for local development and quality of life.




GOAL no. 3, 10, 11, 13

Intelligent solutions for rainwater management are combined with settings for play and activity – all on the same budget. The project invited and incorporated input and local knowledge from the community.

The climate is changing, and the future is going to bring more rain and more extreme weather. This creates problems around the world, especially in low-lying coastal areas. To rise to this challenge, we need to develop new solutions capable of handling more extreme weather while also providing added value in the form of improved urban spaces, activity settings, meeting places and green growth.

The activity and climate management area the Aktivitetsskoven (the Activity Woods) is part of the town of Middelfart’s climate programme, KlimaByen Middelfart (Climate City Middelfart) – a visionary project that addresses the consequences of climate change by connecting life in public spaces, urban development and rainwater management.

Middelfart is built in a hilly coastal area, and in the project KlimaByen, climate adaptation is a visible potential and asset. The general plan for the area is based on three distinct types of urban settings, each addressed through site-specific rainwater solutions. The plan ranges from a large developmental scale to specific detailing of the individual urban spaces where blue and green solutions are linked with urban life, new activities and visible climate adaptation. One of the projects is Aktivitetsskoven, an urban activity and landscape park designed to activate all ages and open to everyone round the clock. Facilities for physical activity, a fitness area, running tracks and so forth combine with features designed to handle rainwater runoff. For example, some of the activities are situated on bridges over rainwater basins. In a community-building process, the project actively involved local citizens.

By creating visible added value for the local community, Aktivitetsskoven is a good example of tangible climate management that makes a positive contribution to local urban life.


Project details

Where: Stadionvej, 5500 Middelfart

Completed: 2018

Client: Middelfart Municipality, Middelfart Spildevand

Architects: LYTT and ADEPT

Photos: Carsten Ingemann

Thomas B. Thriges Gade – from street to city


GOAL no. 3, 11, 13, 17

For years, the four-lane street Thomas B. Thriges Gade split the city of Odense’s historical centre in two. Today, the area has been transformed into a dense, lively and green urban space that pulls the city back together.

From the mid-20th century, cities around the world began to build new infrastructure that benefited cars but created internal barriers, incompatible with current and future needs for more cohesive and sustainable cities.

This project is a transformation on a historical scale in Odense, Denmark’s third-largest city. The four-lane thoroughfare Thomas B. Thriges Gade was a noisy slash in the labyrinthine fabric of the medieval city centre. Through a comprehensive plan and focus on high architectural quality, this project has removed cars from the city centre and converted the former street area into a living, active, car-free neighbourhood that restores the heart of Odense.

The new district has mixed functions that are woven together into a coherent whole, including housing, a hotel, offices and shops, an underground car park, a new museum dedicated to world-famous author Hans Christian Andersen as well as Odeon, a cultural hub. The human scale, materials and variation of the new area provide a harmonious transition into the existing town, adding nine green, accessible squares and a park. Socially vulnerable citizens contributed to the project with their ideas and knowledge of the area. The project also includes new rainwater management solutions.

The neighbourhood is tied together by squares, a bicycle lane and a new electric tram system. With 26 stations, the tram makes it possible for locals and commuters to leave their cars outside the city centre, thus reducing congestion and air pollution. Together, the new neighbourhood and the tram system represent a qualified and modern way of restoring the mixed city and increasing urban density. The transformation exemplifies the importance of applying a holistic approach when implementing green transition.


Project details

Where: The streets Albani Torv, Fisketorvet, Torvegade, Bangs Boder, Hans Jensens Stræde, H.C. Andersen Haven, Carl Nielsens Kvarter, Odeons Kvarter, Vestergade, Overgade, Skomagerstræde and Adelgade, 5000 Odense C

Completed: 2022

Client: City of Odense in collaboration with the philanthropic association Realdania; the client for the tramrail system is Odense Letbane. Client for the Hans Christian Andersen´s House is Museum Odense. Architects and advisors: entasis (main) and Sweco (engineer and landscape)

Photo: Jonas Legarth, Odense Kommune Photo: Odense Letbane Hans Christian Andersen’s House by the Japanese architect Kengo Kuma & Associates in collaboration with Cornelius Vöge, C & W Arkitekter and MASU Planning (landscape) . Photo: VisitOdense

Ultra-Fast Charging Stations for Electric Cars

Odense, Køge and other locations across Denmark

GOAL no. 9, 11, 12

With more electric cars on the roads, we need more and faster charging stations. However, a charging station can also be a place to recharge mentally.

The impact of electrified mobility will change how our cities look, feel and organize themselves. In a Danish context, electric vehicles are considered close to 100 per cent clean. An estimated 70 per cent of the energy production in Denmark is based on renewable sources, with 40 per cent from wind alone.

The traditional petrol station is dominated by hardscape asphalt surfaces. The clean charging technology offers an unprecedented potential for a much cleaner environment, as there are no toxic fumes or oil leaking onto the paving. Cobe and Clever have developed an ultra-fast charging station modular kit, including structural components and surface and landscape elements scalable for different contexts and conditions. The canopy is constructed for future disassembly to enable reuse and upcycling of materials.

The charging station is the first of its kind. So far, it has been installed at ten locations in Denmark, and multiple stations are being equipped. The long-term plan is the development of a Scandinavian network. The charging stations minimize charging time and offer a refreshing break for drivers and passengers.

Constructed primarily of FSC-certified wood with solar cells on top, the charging station consists of several structural ‘trees’ forming a ‘crown’. The large roof consists of open and closed panels and filter light and offer shade as ‘trees’ while the car battery recharges. The stations are surrounded by plant and tree species selected in cooperation with the Danish Society for Nature Conservation to promote local biodiversity.

This project demonstrates that it is possible to create a charging station that provides a meaningful break for EV drivers while also making a positive contribution to the environment and biodiversity.


Project details

Where: 11 locations in Denmark; Odense, Knudshoved, Køge, Frederiksberg, København, Esbjerg, Fredericia, Vejle, Århus, Thisted and Nørresundby

see: cobe.dk/place/ultra-fast-charging-stations-for-electrical-cars

Completed: the first charging station was constructed in 2019

Client: Clever

Architects and advisors: Cobe, Arup (engineer) and AB Clausen (engineer)

Photos: Rasmus Hjortshøj, COAST

Polymeren Årslev

GOAL no. 11, 12, 15, 17

A new urban area is based on social communities, sustainable materials and access to nature. An important source of inspiration was a transformed factory – now a vibrant local meeting place.

Depopulation and a demographic shift towards more elderly people and fewer children and young people are jeopardizing the economic viability of villages and small towns the world over.

In Denmark, more than half the population now live in suburbs which have light and air but need greater density, climate adaptation, mixed functions, meeting places and access to nature in order to be more sustainable and stay attractive.

Polymeren is a former factory in the heart of the new town that has emerged through the gradual fusion of the villages of Årslev and Sdr. Nærå and functions today as a suburb of Odense. The factory closed in 2010, but was revitalized when the Faaborg-Midtfyn Municipality took it over to turn it into a user-driven cultural melting pot. The factory halls were transformed into a public space with room for sports, concerts, communal meals, office space, a café and other facilities.

Polymeren also inspired a planned future urban development in Årslev, i.e., the project ‘Suburb of the Future’: a new district defined by community-building, climate solutions and sustainability with the reused polymer factory as a landmark.

The project includes a new urban centre that will pull the area together and high-density housing placed as clusters in the landscape separated by wedges of green space. In certain sub-projects ‘Suburb of the Future’ will focus on upcycled and recycled materials. The clusters will be designed to have an identity that reflects the landscape they are in: Bakken (The Hill), Åen (The River) and Skoven (The Woods). Constructed with lanes and a small square, each cluster will appear as a unit, reminiscent of the region’s old country estates. Rainwater is collected in lakes that serve as a shared recreational element.

This project demonstrates how a building stripped of its original purpose can be revitalized as an identity marker and a generator of a new urban area.


Project details

Where: Stationsvej 69, 5792 Årslev

Client: Faaborg-Midtfyn


Architects and advisors: Vandkunsten (master plan), Holscher Nordberg (new urban center), Raw Mobility (infrastructure), DEM & Esbensen (engineers)

Photos: Trine Hedegård Jensen

Faber’s Factories Ryslinge

GOAL no. 11, 12, 15, 17

A former factory in the small town of Ryslinge now contains four affordable dwellings built using an all-wood modular system. The house-in-house method is a new housing typology that makes it economically viable to reuse the cultural heritage in rural areas.

Due to their unusual diverse volumes and crooked angles historical buildings can be difficult to renovate. Everything must be adapted and custom made, which leads to high labour costs. Cities typically have buyers for these special dwellings, while rural areas lack a similar customer base. As a result, we risk losing these buildings and the cultural heritage they represent.

For many years, the curtain and blinds factory Faber’s Factories in Ryslinge was a major local employer. Today, the building houses four flats, a fitness centre, several entrepreneurial businesses and a café.

The old building had crooked walls, nooks and corners. Hence, the first step in the transformation was to create a 3D model of the building’s interior with a 3D scanner that used laser beams to document distances and colours. Based on this model, the architects developed an all-wood modular system that made it possible to create a ‘house in house’ solution independent of the original building. The housing modules are compact and energy-efficient and have a good indoor climate.

The rugged factory halls remain and are an unheated versatile space around the flats to be used for communal meals, studio space or an indoor playground, depending on the season. Basing the modules on an accurate digital model minimizes production waste. The unheated space has low operational costs, and the modular structure is simple to modify, maintain and reuse.

This project demonstrates that new building methods can make it economically viable and sustainable to transform cultural heritage in rural areas and create attractive and affordable housing.


Project details

Where: Hestehavevej 22, 5856 Ryslinge

Completed: 2020

Client: Faaborg-Midtfyn Municipality. Funded by the Danish Transport, Construction and Housing Authority (Trafik-, Bygge- og Boligstyrelsen).

Building owner: Skibsted Ejendomme

Architects and advisors: Arcgency in collaboration with Ekolab (engineer) and Aarhus School of Architecture

Photos: Rasmus Hjortshøj, COAST

The Danish Country House


GOAL no. 11, 12, 15

The Danish Country House is the transformation of an abandoned house in the country into a family home. The project breathes new life into a building type that needs to redefine its purpose.

The number of vacant buildings in the Danish countryside is growing. According to estimates, rural districts have some 10,000–22,000 vacant houses suitable for year-round occupancy, and with urbanization expected to continue, this number will surely rise. Many of these buildings are found in scenic locations which means they have potential as second homes for city dwellers.

In the rolling hills on the Jungshoved peninsula lies The Danish Country House. The building has an apple orchard on the one side and a string of small lakes on the other. From outside, the whitewashed exterior and umber green roof profile subtly reinterprets regional barns – an architectural reinterpretation of rural architecture made possible by new legislation as part of a national effort to convert vacant rural buildings into holiday homes.

The building, which began as a brick-built fruit barn, is now divided into different ‘climate zones’: The renovated ground level is unheated and is mainly used in summer as a workshop or a place to gather family and friends. It features exposed, whitewashed brick walls and concrete floors, resulting in a rough, unpolished expression. In addition, a new heated roof construction serves as the year-round living quarters and offers views of the surrounding landscape.

By reusing the main components of the building, the project has minimized construction waste. Timber is the primary material throughout, with paper wool and wood fibre used for insulation. The actual construction was done without a vapour barrier.

This project shows that it is worthwhile reusing existing buildings, even if they appear suitable for demolition. They can be architecturally transformed and revived as new, attractive holiday homes that contribute to local life and economy.


Project details

Where: Roneklintvej 7, 4720 Præstø

Completed: 2020

Client: Private Architects and advisors: NORRØN, Regnestuen (engineer) and KØ Entreprise (contractor).

Photos: Hampus Berndtson

Køge Waterworks Køge

GOAL no. 4, 6, 9, 13

‘The Story of Water’ was the working title for the new test centre and waterworks in the town of Køge. The plant combines the future supply of clean drinking water with research, learning and play.

Globally, water is rapidly becoming a scarce resource. Moreover, most people have little insight into the cycle of water from rainwater to safe, clean drinking water. Waterworks and other critical facilities are often closed, mysterious non-places that the citizens need to move around.

The new water centre in Køge makes a virtue of opening this critical infrastructure to the outside world. The plant combines water purification with a test centre for researchers and companies and is designed to optimize drinking water security in case of extreme rain events.

The building is transparent and perched at the highest point on the site, making all functions visible from the outside. A large, slightly sloping roof conducts rainwater to the lower-lying areas of the site. A lake has been enlarged to serve as a rainwater reservoir capable of receiving surface runoff from the surrounding terrain in case of torrential rain. Thus, every step in the cycle of water is visible: the rainwater lands on the roof, pours over the edge and falls into the long basins. The water infiltrates the lake and becomes groundwater. It is then pumped and returned to the waterworks where it is treated and becomes clean drinking water.

The general public from kindergarten to research level is invited to get close to the water processes both inside and outside the facility. The result is an outward-facing facility which aims to generate attractive jobs and create value for the local community. It will contribute to the research on future water treatment and engage visitors by telling them the story of the cycle of water.

This project demonstrates how critical infrastructure can be located and designed to encourage curiosity and learning about the planet’s crucial resources while also adding a recreational space.


Project details

Where: Vasebækvej 40, 4600 Køge

Completed: 2018

Client: KLAR Forsyning

Architects and advisors: Gottlieb Paludan Architects A/S (architecture and landscape), Krüger A/S (process engineering), EKJ A/S (construction engineering), LM Byg A/S (contractor)

Photos: Lars Rolfsted Mortensen

The Braunstein Taphouse


GOAL no. 7, 9, 12, 13

The Braunstein Taphouse is both a visitor’s centre for a local microbrewery and a generator of urban life in the urban development area Køge Coast. The building is located on the edge of the harbour but constructed to be disassembled and relocated if sea levels rise.

We do not know the future, but we know that our needs vary over time, that climate change will affect the way we live and that we need to reduce our consumption of the planet’s resources. To address these changes, new-builds have to be both resilient and flexible, so that building components and materials can be repurposed in the future.

The Braunstein Taphouse is located in the emerging urban development area Køge Coast. The building is a visitor’s centre for the local Braunstein brewery and distillery which also houses a café and restaurant and serves as a local meeting place.

The taphouse lies on the pier which may become part of the city’s climate adaptation strategy. Hence, the building is designed for disassembly, meaning that it can be reconstructed somewhere else or provide materials for other projects if the location proves untenable.

The building was constructed with a limited range of materials which are largely unmixed. This has reduced waste in comparison to typical construction projects. The building utilizes simple tectonic principles and is assembled exclusively by mechanical means. All primary wall surfaces are without paint or joints, and flooring is leftover wood from a local floor manufacturer. The large roof surfaces are made of polycarbonate click panels. Certified Accoya was used for the timber exteriors. The taphouse is partially self-sufficient in electricity from solar panels, and natural ventilation reduces the need for mechanical ventilation.

This project demonstrates how resource awareness with a focus on a building’s future reuse potential can make a positive contribution to a place. When new needs arise, the building can be re-used either in whole or as a source of materials.


Project details

Where: Carlsensvej, 4600 Køge

Opening Year: 2020

Client: Bryggeriet Braunstein

Architects and advisors: ADEPT, HPH Totalbyg (contractor), Give Steel (structural)

Photo: Rasmus Hjortshøj, COAST Photo: Morten Krogh

Odsherred Theatre

Nykøbing Sjælland

GOAL no. 11, 15, 16

How can half-empty city centres be revitalized? In the town of Nykøbing Sjælland, the local theatre has moved into the former supermarket on the main street. This has given urban life a visible and palpable boost.

Half-empty streets, shuttered shops and defunct train stations. That is the result when key functions in society move out of the town centre and into the larger cities, and commerce moves online or into shopping malls. However, it is possible to boost the town centre and make it a catalyst of regional development.

Odsherred Municipality is just over an hour’s drive from Copenhagen and is known for its many holiday homes, villages and small towns close to nature. The area is also struggling with depopulation and an aging population.

In an effort to kickstart a positive development, Odsherred Municipality bought the former supermarket on the main street in the largest town and turned it into the new venue of the regional theatre. The transformed building contains a café and a small auditorium in addition to a new-built auditorium towards the back. The extension houses a 1,000 m² black-box auditorium with an audience capacity of 230 as well as a workshop, wardrobes, a meeting room, offices and a lounge.

The architectural inspiration came from a spotlight’s matt black exterior and golden, reflecting interior. The glass facade offers tiny glimpses of the illuminated interior space. Outside, a small, furnished square forms a setting for happenings and improvised events that vitalize the public space.

The architecture visually connects the theatre with the surroundings and helps to cement its role as a local cultural beacon – a living building that brings life to the city centre the year round. The project demonstrates that investments in the city centre and local cultural activities can help make an area more attractive and kickstart local development.


Project details

Where: Algade 36, 4500 Nykøbing Sjælland

Completed: 2021

Client: Odsherred Theatre and Odsherred Municipality Architects and advisors: Christensen & Co Architects, Primus Architects, STED by og landskab (landscape), Oluf Jørgensen A/S (engineer), Sweco (acoustics), COWI (fire safety and strategy)

Photos: Niels Nygaard

Poplen Youth Club Jyllinge

GOAL no. 3, 9, 12

A plain boxy building has been transformed into a club house for children and young people in the small town of Jyllinge.

Sparsely populated areas risk entering a negative cycle where depopulation results in the closure of facilities for children and young people making it even harder to encourage people to stay. Vacant buildings contribute to a sense of decay, and often demolition seems the only or obvious choice. In addition, demolition is costly and usually wasteful, as materials are reduced to rubble.

Poplen Youth Club is an active meeting place for older children and young people in a small town, created through the transformation and expansion of a former day-care institution. In architectural terms, the bright red building is an interpretation of the traditional barns and fishermen’s houses in the old part of Jyllinge. The original pitched roof has been continued over an extension to the west. New covered spaces and bays have been carved out in the structure, drawing light into the existing building and adding intimate nooks and corners both indoors and outdoors. A multipurpose hall with a climbing wall and room for ball games is one of the most popular spaces.

Many of the original building components were reused or recycled, and the architects aimed to optimize energy use, lighting and the influx of daylight to provide great indoor experiences and minimize energy consumption.

The young users were involved in the design phase, and the youth club is now experiencing a growing number of visitors.

This project demonstrates how existing building stock in rural areas can be transformed with inspiration from local architecture to provide sound, sustainable and fun activity settings for children and young people.


Project details

Where: Møllevej 10, 4040 Jyllinge

Completed: 2012

Client: Roskilde Municipality

Architects and advisors: Cornelius Vöge Atelier for Arkitektur, E. Troelsgård (engineer)

Photos: Søren Harder Nielsen

Royal city on the sea

Throughout its history, Copenhagen, the capital city of Denmark, has repeatedly expanded through land reclamation. Much of the city is built on infill consisting of waste, rubble and soil. Its proximity to maritime trade routes was key in the shaping of the city. From the outset, Copenhagen was centrally situated on the sea route into the Baltic Sea in the centre of the Danish realm that once included large parts of southern Sweden. Today, the Øresund Bridge links Copenhagen to the Swedish city of Malmö. Together, the two cities form the centre of the Øresund Region: Scandinavia’s largest and most populous urban region with about four million inhabitants.

Although the area has been settled since prehistoric times, Bishop Absalon is generally credited with founding Copenhagen in the 12th century. He built a fortress and a city wall, and under his governance the city grew in size and reputation. Subsequent bishops continued this development and towards the end of the 14th century, the city had become the largest in the country. The king took ownership of Copenhagen in the early 15th century, and ever since it has been the royal residence city.

Absalon’s original city wall soon became a stifling limit to the city’s growth, and around 1650, during the reign of Christian IV, the city’s fortifications were moved outwards. Over the next two centuries, they too became too restrictive of Copenhagen’s growth, compelling the city to expand into the sea.

The city expands

Fires, wars and disease left significant marks on the city in the coming centuries. The classicist city that we see today inside the old fortification lines was built during the early decades of the 19th century after devastating destruction.

When the city’s embankments were dismantled in 1856, it was able to expand beyond Christian IV’s fortifications. The embankments and moats were transformed into recreational areas and are visible today in the Tivoli Gardens, the H.C. Ørsteds Park, the Botanical Gardens and the Østre Anlæg park. Outside the former embankments, the districts


of Østerbro, Vesterbro and Nørrebro were established, dominated by five-storey perimeter blocks in a historicist style.

Copenhagen continued to grow concentrically, and in the first half of the 20th century, it swallowed up several neighbouring municipalities, including Sundbyerne, Valby, Vanløse, Brønshøj and Emdrup. Modernist urban architecture in yellow brick went up, for example in the Bispebjerg district. From 1947, the city’s explosive growth was guided by the principles in the ‘Finger Plan’, in which the City of Copenhagen forms the palm of a hand, while development in the environs is clustered along public transport ‘fingers’ extending into the wider area of Zealand, separated by green space and recreational areas. Urban growth continued along the fingers; from the 1960s mainly as prefab housing blocks and developments with single-family houses in the suburbs of Greater Copenhagen.

Today, Copenhagen and the surrounding suburban municipalities have fused into a single urban agglomeration, and the green space between the fingers is under pressure from constant population growth in the Copenhagen region. Most of the urban development takes place in former industrial areas that are transformed into residential areas with mixed functions. A planned light rail line along Motor Ring 3, linking the suburbs of Lyngby to the north and Ishøj to the south, aims to boost development.

The impact of the Metro

Copenhagen is known as a cycling city, and more than half of the city’s inhabitants commute daily by bicycle. The many cyclists are a significant feature in the streets and general image of Copenhagen. Yet, the form of transportation that has left the biggest imprint on present-day Copenhagen is the Metro.

During the 1990s, Copenhagen was a poor city which many inhabitants left when they had the opportunity. This trend was turned around with huge investments in the city. The development of the new Ørestad district on Amager Fælled and the Øresund Bridge aimed to bring Copenhagen into the 21st century, and the sale of building plots in Ørestad financed the construction of the Metro. The continued expansion of the Metro has enabled the CPH City & Port Development, jointly owned by the City


of Copenhagen and the Danish State, to sell and develop new areas in Copenhagen, mainly former docklands.

From working-class city to modern metropolis

Cleaning the harbour water was another key investment in Copenhagen’s transformation from run-down, gritty working-class city into a modern metropolis. Since 2000, public swimming baths have been established in Copenhagen’s harbour transforming its image and use. Today, the harbour is a popular, recreational urban area for locals and visitors alike.

As industrial harbour activities have ceased or relocated, the inner harbour areas have turned into recreational spaces with modern cultural institutions, office buildings and sought-after housing, in part with the intention of attracting and retaining well-educated labour.

Other former industrial areas have also been integrated into the city’s everyday life, including the former brewery site Carlsberg Byen in Frederiksberg and the old vegetable market Grønttorvet in Valby. Since the 1980s, the neighbourhoods outside the former embankments, especially Vesterbro and Nørrebro, have undergone comprehensive urban renewal, which improved both housing and urban spaces and resulted in extensive gentrification. Copenhagen is no longer a working-class city. Affordable housing is in short supply, which makes it difficult to maintain social diversity.

New island to protect the city from flooding

The sea continues to shape Copenhagen. A major rain event in 2011 made it clear that extreme weather and rising sea levels due to the climate crisis pose a real and growing threat. The municipalities in the Capital Region cooperate on flood protection, and Copenhagen continues to expand on the sea: in 2021, Parliament approved the development of Lynetteholmen, an artificial 275-hectare island north of Refshaleøen island designed to provide flood protection and potentially containing dwellings for 35,000 people. Despite good intentions, the ambitious project has been criticized for its scale and its impact on the environment and climate.


Ballerup Boulevard Skovlunde

GOAL no. 3, 9, 13, 15

A former traffic corridor that divided two urban areas has been transformed into an inviting green urban space. The space available for vehicle traffic has been significantly reduced in favour of cyclists and pedestrians, who can now move more freely through the area.

Most modernistic suburbs were laid out as functionally divided urban areas with large bypass roads that formed solid barriers between adjacent districts. The result was urban spaces and infrastructure that felt unsafe to non-vehicle traffic and today they remain as intended: transport corridors for cars going 50+ km/h.

With the transformation of Ballerup Boulevard the number of lanes has been halved from four to two and been upgraded into a verdant park strip. Passages across the boulevard connect the two urban areas which were previously divided, due to heavy traffic between the nearby station square and the urban centres.

The new boulevard design features simple geometric shapes, lines and gravelled zones with trees, perennials, and ornamental grasses. New climate protection measures flank the pavements and bicycle paths thus pre-empting stormwater and extreme rain events.

The transformation of Ballerup Boulevard is part of a major strategic urban planning project in the suburb of Skovlunde. Surrounding traffic has been significantly reduced after the implementation of the project, and the new urban space is now used by cyclists as well as dog walkers and other pedestrians.

This project demonstrates how oversized, car-oriented roads can be transformed into attractive green spaces while establishing connection between districts benefitting both cyclists, pedestrians, and local residents.


Project details

Where: Ballerup Boulevard, 2740 Skovlunde

Completed: 2018

Clients: Ballerup Municipality, Novafos

Architects and advisors: Marianne Levinsen Landskab (architect), Jesper Kongshaug (lightning design), NIRAS A/S (engineer)

Photos: Torben Eskerod

Steno Diabetes Center Copenhagen Herlev

GOAL no. 3, 4, 15

The landscape reflects into the new hospital building in Herlev, which is designed to be a welcoming place for patients, relatives, staff and researchers alike.

The growing number of diabetes patients worldwide raises the importance of providing improved research environments focusing on both treatment and prevention. It is well-documented that a green, pleasant environment can promote people’s mental and social well-being and aid their recovery.

Steno Diabetes Center Copenhagen located at Herlev Hospital is Northern Europe’s largest hospital dedicated to the prevention and treatment of diabetes. It sees up to 13,000 patients a year, children as well as adults.

The two-storey building is organized around a large garden comprising four small, lush courtyard gardens and a publicly accessible rooftop garden with varied vegetation making it a biodiversity hub.

The green spaces and large glazed sections in the exterior walls offer views of nature throughout and break down the boundary between building and landscape. Inside, wooden floors and ceilings give off a warm, homely feel. All communal spaces and waiting areas are organized around small ‘squares’ that encourage physical activity and promote recovery and education.

Denmark is known for its diabetes treatment and research, and the Steno Diabetes Center supports the ambitious goals of halting the global growth in type-2 diabetes, finding a cure against type-1 diabetes, increasing patients’ lifespan and making living with diabetes easier.

This project demonstrates that architecture can be used to redefine the notion of disease, and that combined with nature, architecture can contribute not just to treatment but also to prevention and education –Steno Diabetes Center Copenhagen also supports world-class scientific research.


Project details

Where: Borgmester Ib Juuls Vej 83, 2730 Herlev

Completed: 2021

Client: Capital Region of Denmark and The Novo Nordisk Foundation

Architects and advisors: Vilhelm Lauritzen

Architects, MIKKELSEN ARKITEKTER, STED By og Landskab (landscape), COWI (engineer)

Photo: Rasmus Hjortshøj, COAST Photo: Sjavit MaestroVilhelm Lauritzen Architects

Egedammen Preschool Søborg

GOAL no. 3, 9, 12

Sustainability, history and a healthy, stable indoor climate inspired the architecture of Egedammen Preschool and the neighbouring preschool Grønnegården.

More than 250,000 Danish children under the age of five spend their days at a nursery or kindergarten. In recent years, focus has emerged on the impact on children of the indoor climate and physical environment. Studies show that the indoor climate in day-care facilities is generally poor, which may affect the sleep quality and well-being of the children.

Egedammen Preschool accommodates 132 children divided into seven groups. It is designed as a three-winged farm in connection with the former farmhouse Egegården, an after-school club. The building offers a series of spatial experiences with differing heights, widths, light, acoustics and materials.

Recycled bricks and cement-free lime mortar were used for the construction, matching the character of the single-family houses of the neighbourhood. New elements introduced are reinforced brick lintels, which are carried out as large brick arches, round window holes and brick studs. Walls are made of solid wood (CLT). Both the brick and timber constructions can absorb and release humidity and warmth creating a stable indoor climate.

Roofs are made of painted metal sheets that do not pollute the rainwater which is led through open canals into a newly established trench. Over time, the grounds will take on a wilder expression, offering room for immersive activities and nature experiences. The steep roof pitch helps to mark the main house with the entrance and large high-ceilinged common rooms. ‘Cutting off’ the gable gives an almost flat roof area for south-facing solar cells.

Egedammen Preschool and Grønnegården Preschool were designed by the same architecture firm. Both projects demonstrate that it is possible to design sustainable buildings that highlight the quality of the existing structures and offer optimal conditions for children.


Project details

Where: Klausdalsbrovej 197, 3860 Søborg

Completed: 2022

Client: Gladsaxe Municipality

Architects and advisors: BBP Arkitekter, Thing Brandt Landskab (landscape), Lyngkilde Rådgivende Ingeniører (engineer)

Photo: Mikkel Eye Photo: Jens Lindhe Photo: Jens Markus Lindhe

Stranden Charlottenlund

GOAL no. 3, 10, 13

Flooding due to the rising sea water levels and storm surges requires coastal protection. Stranden (The Beach) establishes high-water protection and improves accessibility to the water regardless of physical abilities.

Beaches are attractive public spaces. However, many beaches are difficult to access for people with physical disabilities. Today, coasts are regularly at risk of flooding due to storm surges, and increased coastal protection is necessary in many places. Often, the solution is to build tall flood walls which further exacerbate accessibility problems.

Stranden combines coastal protection due to extensive storm surge damage with improved accessibility. Originally, the plan was to build a tall flood wall, but instead, the architects suggested drawing the coastal protection instruments deeper into the landscape in order to preserve the view of the sea and give access to people with physical disabilities.

Paths, built into the concrete structure, wind their way through the coastinspired shrubbery, and accessible niches provide shelter and privacy. The ramp leading into the water provides good access to the sea both for wheelchair users and other visitors.

The design ensures free mobility and views of the Øresund strait from both a sitting and standing position. The landscape includes a variety of recreational zones as well as two changing cabins where beachgoers can change and bathe in relative privacy.

This project demonstrates that coastal protection can be introduced with co-benefits and with other means than tall flood walls. It provides new recreational spaces, views and bathing areas for everyone. The design process included a series of workshops with users of the beach.


Project details

Where: Strandvejen 142C, 2920 Charlottenlund

Completed: 2018

Client: Danish Association of the Physically Disabled Architects: Kragh Berglund

Funded by A.P. Møller and Chastine Mc-Kinney Møller Foundation

Photo: Kragh Berglund, DronePixels Photo: Kragh Berglund

Venligbolig Plus Frederiksberg

GOAL no. 4, 11, 12

Venligbolig Plus is a new housing form and concept where students and refugees share a small, affordable housing unit. The concept is designed to promote friendship, education and integration.

Increasing demand for housing in urban areas is driving up housing costs. This makes it a challenge to build good, affordable housing for low-income groups. Moreover, socioeconomic forces are leading to the gentrification and segregation of neighbourhoods, which in turn exacerbates social inequality.

Venligbolig Plus – which roughly translates to Friendly Housing Plus – is a new micro housing type designed to accommodate safe and affordable housing for low-income groups. In 2019, 78 students and refugees moved into the development which consists of 41 units built as three four-storey cubes.

Each of the 41 flats with a gross space of 50 m2 is occupied by two residents. While each person has their own room they share the kitchen, toilet, bathroom and balcony. An important aspect of the project is the so-called buddy scheme in which the students assist the refugees in their daily life. The private areas are small and optimized with elevated beds and integrated cabinet solutions to provide more room for communal areas that can facilitate social interaction and community-building.

The cost of the housing units is kept down by using prefabricated module systems with load-bearing wooden structures. The modules form a sustainable building system that reduces construction time and material waste.

The project is based on the notion that the successful integration of refugees relies on physical and social integration into the community.


Project details

Where: Roskildevej 54B, 2000 Frederiksberg

Opening year: 2019

Client: Municipality of Frederiksberg, FFB/KAB

Architects and advisors: ONV Architects, We Do Democracy, VEGA Landskab (landscape), Øllgaard Rådgivende Ingeniører (engineer), Holte Projekt (today: Kuben Management), BM Bygge Industri

Photo: ONV Architects

Station – student-driven innovation house


GOAL no. 4, 11, 12

Historic buildings must continuously be adapted to meet the needs of new generations. Station is a transformation of the former Frederiksberg Police Station initiated by its users with contemporary values such as inclusion, openness, cooperation and community-centre.

Denmark’s built heritage includes many buildings of architectural and historical value which are worthy of preservation. However, our cultural heritage must be updated and adapted to accommodate current and future needs, so that it remains relevant.

Station is the world’s first student-run innovation centre. The substantial budget needed to transform the former police station was raised by a group of students. Dating from 1920, the historic building was designed by the renowned Danish architect Hack Kampmann.

The students who initiated the transformation process needed large, open spaces with room for interdisciplinary collaboration. This was a challenge in a building with a long, wide corridor on each floor and numerous small rooms, which were able to accommodate, for example, two police officers and a prisoner. In the conversion of the building, many of the interior walls were removed to create large, bright rooms, but the wide corridors were preserved. Today, the innovation house contains new spaces for collaborative projects, workshops, livestreaming and festivals while at the same time preserving visual and spatial traces of the building’s past.

This project demonstrates how cultural heritage can be transformed and reused for contemporary purposes in a carbon-efficient way. It also shows how new user needs can be balanced against the preservation of cultural history and existing architectural qualities.


Project details

Where: Howitzvej 30, 2000 Frederiksberg

Completed: 2020

Client: Station foundation and Copenhagen Business School

Architects and advisors: Bertelsen & Scheving Arkitekter (main), Arcgency and GXN, Jørgen Nielsen Rådgivende Ingeniører (Construction) and Martin Funch Rådgivende Ingeniørfirma (HVAC) (engineer)

Photos: Rasmus Hjortshøj, COAST

Ørsteds Haver Frederiksberg

GOAL no. 3, 12

Concrete buildings from the 1960s and 1970s are in abundance globally but are often in need of substantial renovation. Ørsteds Haver (the Ørsteds Gardens) is a transformed concrete building block from 1969 upgraded through the addition of green balconies with both semiprivate and informal social spaces.

In Denmark (and globally) many of the WW2 post war prefab concrete buildings are now worn out and outdated – architecturally, environmentally, and socially. When these buildings are renovated, focus is often exclusively on energy optimization, but a sustainable development of this building stock requires transformation also with social co-benefits.

Before the renovation, the concrete facade on the H.C. Ørsteds Vej property appeared closed-off, even though it allowed both rain and traffic noise to leak into the open galleries, causing water damage, concrete decay and noise problems for the residents.

In the renovation, the exterior walls and gallery were rethought in a building envelope that not only mediates access to the flats, but also reduces the climate impact and creates vertical gardens. The transformation rethinks the building’s communal spaces by adding a semiprivate exterior space that serves both as a balcony for each individual flat and as a new type of social space for the residents, who meet each other when they use their balconies or cross the gallery going to and from their flats. Horizontal wooden battens on the north side of the oriels support climbing plants and enhance the sense of privacy while maintaining an open and green appearance from the street.

The project demonstrates how a technically necessary renovation can be used to rethink a building’s function and expression. The transformation has added new and valuable environmental, social and architectural qualities both to residents and passers-by.


Project details

Where: H.C. Ørsteds Vej, Frederiksberg

Completed: 2020

Clients: 872 E/F H. C. Ørsteds Vej 25-27 and Salling Group Architects and advisors: Tegnestuen LOKAL, Henneby Nielsen (engineer), COWI (engineer) and Amstrup & Baggesen (contracor)

Photos: Hampus Berndtson Photo: Hampus Berndtson

Enghaveparken Vesterbro, Copenhagen

GOAL no. 9, 11, 13

A Copenhagen park was redesigned, enabling it to contain large amounts of water in case of extreme rainfall. At the same time, the park offers new opportunities for recreation and socializing.

Extreme rainfall events can cause great damage to urban spaces and buildings, pollute freshwater bodies and create health hazards for citizens. However, citizens in urban areas need public spaces for recreation and socializing, while at the same time the pressure on ecosystems requires an extension of nature networks in urban areas. These challenges force us to rethink our urban spaces and build up green and blue infrastructure.

The park was established in 1928 in what was then a growing, workingclass neighbourhood. The 35,000 m2 park follows a stringent, neoclassical model with geometric axes and two pavilions designed by the young architect Arne Jacobsen – his very first project.

The transformation is the largest climate park project in Copenhagen to date. A new underground reservoir takes in roof runoff water from the nearby Carlsberg Byen district. The rainwater is used to water the trees and other plants in the park and is visible in a network of streams and multifunctional retention basins as well as in a central fountain garden for children. The rainwater is also used by the city’s sweeper trucks. The change of water source for the sweeper trucks that previously used drinking quality tab-water, saves millions of litres of drinking water every year.

During extreme rainfall events, the entire park turns into a giant reservoir with a water capacity of 22,600 cubic meters. On most days, however, the parks basins are used for roller hockey, soccer or cultural events. The climate adaptations and technical solutions are designed with respect for the original structure, and Arne Jacobsen’s original pavilions have been reconstructed.

This project demonstrates that climate adaptations can create strong co-benefits and can be incorporated into a dense urban area with respect for architecture, history and local needs.


Project details

Where: Enghavevej, 1761 Copenhagen V

Client: City of Copenhagen, HOFOR – Greater Copenhagen Utility, Områdefornyelsen Vesterbro

(Area Renewal Vesterbro)

Architects and advisors: Tredje Natur, COWI, Platant

Photo: Astrid Maria Busse Rasmussen Photo: Flemming Rafn, Tredje Natur Photos: Flemming Rafn, Tredje Natur

The KAB House

Vesterbro, Copenhagen

GOAL no. 3, 11, 12, 15

With its location and architecture, the non-profit housing association KAB’s new headquarters add a distinct urban quality and identity to an overlooked area in Copenhagen on the border between city and railway yard. The untraditional head office is open to the entire city.

Cities in many countries are under pressure from population growth. As the last remaining vacant plots fill up with new-builds, architecture must use the available land in a way that adds to the city by promoting local identity, recreational spaces and biodiversity.

In more than one sense, the KAB House, lies in a border zone. The building occupies a plot owned by the Danish railway services, DSB, sandwiched between one of the oldest and one of the newest neighbourhoods in the city.

Home to 44 housing developments, all part of the KAB, the new building is the daily workplace for the housing association’s 400 employees. However, it is also open to the people of Copenhagen. Everyone is welcome in the building’s café and on its rooftop patio, which overlooks the railway terrain and the surrounding city. Towards the street Enghavevej, there is a small park with reused sporting equipment from a housing organization.

The red bricks match the nearby perimeter blocks, and the buildings pentagonal form opens to the city all the way round, towards the Vesterbro, Jernbanebyen, Sydhavn and Valby districts. The rational layout has allowed the association to go from 12,500 m2 in its former head office to just 7,400 m2 in the new one. This means fewer resources are required for heating and cleaning.

All installations are energy-efficient, and there are solar cells on the roof. The rooftop patio is designed to increase biodiversity in the area, its planting inspired by the wild flora of the railway yard.

This project demonstrates that it is possible to create new-builds that are both environmentally sustainable and add new value for employees, locals and the city at large.


Project details

Where: Enghavevej 81, 2450 Copenhagen SV

Completed: 2021

Client: KAB

Architects and advisors: Henning Larsen, SLA (landscape), Wissenberg (engineer), NIRAS (engineer), 5e (contractor)

Photo: Poul Christensen Photo: Laura Stamer

The architect’s own house

Sydhavnen, Copenhagen

GOAL no. 12

In the future, our homes and buildings need to take up less room. However, a small house can still contain great qualities.

Danish dwellings are getting bigger. On average, each Dane has 53 m2 at their disposal, compared to 43 m2 in 1981. This development is driven by increased wealth and low interest rates, among other factors, along with a rise in the number of single-person households – an unsustainable trend in a world where a growing population will have to share diminishing resources.

Architect Peter Kjær’s own home is located in Havebyen Mozart (the Mozart Garden Town), a small suburban neighbourhood where small houses are connected by narrow streets and paths, lots of green space and local community. The house, measuring 127 m2, is home to a family of five. The ground plan is T-shaped, with a stem containing four rooms and two bathrooms, a connecting building with the entrance and kitchen and a communal room in a garden pavilion that opens on three sides. The layout has created two intimate gardens.

To use the plot efficiently, the house has a simple hip roof which produces spacious rooms that capture the light at a high point – a key feature during the dark Danish winter months, as the neighbouring houses are quite close. The roof above the living room is topped by a ‘light box’ with glass towards all four corners of the world, while the bedrooms and bathrooms have skylights that open and let the light pour over the walls and ceiling.

The construction and interiors range from noble materials, such as oak used for the rafters, window frames and kitchen cabinet doors, to rugged elements, such as polished concrete slab and concrete garden tiles, and simple elements, such as white-painted PSE wall boards (planks planed on one side only). The exterior walls are kept as thin as possible and clad in Kebony (eco-friendly impregnated pinewood).

The family has about half as much space as the Danish average. Thus, this project demonstrates how it is possible to make top-quality dwellings with less room per person.


Project details

Where: HF Havebyen Mozart 74, 2450 Copenhagen SV

Completed: 2017

Client and architect: Peter Kjær

Photos: Laura Stamer

Kalvebod Fælled School

Ørestad, Copenhagen

GOAL no. 4, 7, 11, 13

Sport and nature are closely incorporated into the architecture of this circular school which is open to the public outside school hours.

The foundation of quality education is laid early in life and forms the basis of quality of life and sustainable development. By inspiring creativity, concentration and physical activity, architecture can promote learning, health and well-being for schoolchildren, teachers and the local community.

The circular school, situated at the boundary between the city and the Kalvebod Fælled nature reserve, invites locals to use both the indoor and outdoor facilities for leisure activities outside school hours. The gym at the heart of the school is visible from all five floors, and the outdoor playground merges with the surrounding green space to form an active landscape open to the entire city.

The dynamic school architecture offers differentiated spatial experiences and room for breaks, the students’ individual needs and varied educational approaches. Putting the gym and the school under one roof turned the two originally planned buildings into one. The circular design optimizes the building volume, reducing the exterior wall surface by one third. The energy-efficient school uses only 38 kWh/m2/year, in part thanks to an integrated energy design based on passive design strategies, optimized window space on the facade, and low energy use for ventilation.

In the landscape design, biodiversity, climate adaptation and accessibility go hand in hand. The project is part of an overall strategy for rainwater management in the urban district. Rainwater runoff is gathered in a rain trench and collected and delayed in a canal along with the rest of the surface water from the area. The planting was inspired by the surrounding nature and includes 520 trees on the school grounds.

This project demonstrates how energy awareness, climate adaptation, biodiversity and accessibility can be combined with an open, robust and inspiring learning environment with physical activity at its heart.


Project details

Where: Else Alfelts Vej 2, 2300 Copenhagen S

Completed: 2018

Client: City of Copenhagen/ Copenhagen Properties

Architects and advisors: Lundgaard & Tranberg Architects, BOGL (landscape), Jørgen Nielsen Rådgivende Ingeniører (construction and fire), Danish Energy Management (DEM), Gade & Mortensen Akustik A/S (acoustics)

Photo: Torben Eskerod Photo: Anders Sune Berg Photo: Anders Sune Berg


Amager, Copenhagen

GOAL no. 10, 11, 13, 15

One of Copenhagen’s most challenged residential areas has a new transformed green park with an alder grove, rainwater runoff solutions and a skate track that attracts visitors from all over the city.

Cities the world over have areas that are avoided and perceived as unsafe, and many cities also face growing social inequality. Moreover, dense cities with impermeable paved surfaces have problems with rainwater that cannot soak into the ground.

The non-profit housing development Urbanplanen in Copenhagen has a green secret. Cherry, plum, hazel and birch grow in between housing blocks, and farm animals thrive on the staffed playground Bonderen (The Farm). The park used to be perceived as an unsafe area, but today, it is pleasant and lively and an attractive destination for the residents and the rest of the city.

The main path adds cohesion and the zigzagging path invite visitors to explore. The newly planted Elleskoven (Alder Grove) with six varieties of alders is located in the low-lying part of the park. The grove adds a new, intimate green space that also serves as a rainwater retention basin. Footbridges and small plateaus make it possible to tour the grove even when it is flooded after heavy rainfall.

The activity landscape features play areas with baby swings, a wading pool, slides, playing fields, a toboggan slope, a skate and scooter track, a climbing sculpture, a minigolf course and an adventure playground. Next to the kitchen garden there are newly planted fruit trees and an outdoor kitchen. A large lawn provides a setting for festivals or other public events.

This project demonstrates that it is possible to transform an uninviting area into a safe, beautiful, green urban space that helps to climate-proof a large area and provides room for new communities, physical activity and nature experiences.


Project details

Where: Peder Lykkes Vej 71, 2300 Copenhagen S

Completed: 2020

Client: Copenhagen Municipality

Architects and advisors: BOGL (landscape), Rambøll (engineering), SNE Architects (skate), Pelcon (concrete consultant), Beatrice Hansson (sculpture) and Victor Ash (mural)

Photos: Rasmus Hjortshøj, COAST

The Amager Centre

Amager, Copenhagen

GOAL no. 11, 15

A factory building from 1940 has been transformed into an open and inviting shopping mall as well as into a lively urban meeting place that generates a sense of identity and pride in its neighbourhood.

Shopping malls are often situated without any connection to historical or original shopping areas in uninviting buildings that turn their back on the surrounding neighbourhood. This may have a negative effect on urban life and local businesses, as the malls suck all life out of an area, leaving the traditional shopping streets and shops half-empty. Furthermore, the closed malls do not appear inviting to passers-by.

All of this was partially true of the Amager Centre until its most recent transformation. Although the Amager Centre had served as an appendix to the shopping area on the street Amagerbrogade since 1975, the former factory building was a closed structure. Even after its conversion into a shopping mall and several exterior makeovers, there had been no attempt to open it up to the outside environment. The building remained oriented towards its own inner life; despite being packaged in more contemporary shopping architecture.

The recent transformation highlights the building’s industrial history. Extensions to the building were constructed in recycled brick, and the renovated mall has Denmark’s largest living wall with plants creating a rope-like pattern that refers to the building’s past function as a ropewalk. The factory was built in 1940 as an introvert structure, typical of its time. Therefore, a key aim of the transformation was to open the former factory to the local area, linking indoors and outdoors and creating a connection with urban life in Amager East.

This project demonstrates how quality and experiential value can be significantly enhanced, and how urban and commercial life can mutually enhance each other.


Project details

Where: Reberbanegade 3, 2300 Copenhagen

Completed: 2020

Clients: DSC Danske Shoppingcentre

Architects and advisors: PLH Arkitekter, Spacelab (design), OPLAND (landscape), DEAS (advisors), COWI (engineer), Hoffmann (contractor)

Photos: Thorbjørn Hansen, Kontraframe

The Social Spine

Amager, Copenhagen

GOAL no. 3, 10, 11, 15

Transforming Scandinavia’s largest student residence from a grey concrete line to a green social spine.

Growing demand for urban land means that Copenhagen has lost 14 per cent of the city’s green space since 2011. In addition, high real estate and housing prices are putting Copenhagen’s diversity under pressure. Moreover, multipurpose solutions, flexibility and shared spaces are important measures for countering a future where people rarely mingle with others outside their own social group.

With 12 concrete blocks and about 1,500 residents, Øresundskollegiet (Øresund Student Residence) is Scandinavia’s largest student housing complex. Until recently, it appeared worn-down and outdated, and social life unfolded separately in the individual blocks. Since 2021, the City of Copenhagen has been assigning housing in the complex to at-risk or marginalized young people. This caused the residents’ council to call for new outdoor spaces to support the efforts to include the new residents in the community.

Today, a complete overhaul of the place is underway. The first stage of the project has been completed and consists of a transformation of the 1,470-m2 linear rooftop terrace. The new Social Spine creates a lush natural framework for even more social activities, where old and new residents can meet.

The terrace features greenhouses, study and lunch spaces, a lawn and more than 350 new and re-planted trees, shrubs and creepers. The planting was chosen to provide a lush and species-rich expression and offers habitats and food sources for animals and insects. As a modern tribute to the brutalist concrete identity, the materials of the existing roof terrace were reused and upcycled into new tiles with recycled material from the original concrete stones.

The project shows that the value of green transformation does not depend on a large budget – only on values. It also showcases how green roofs can incorporate climatic, sustainable, biodiverse and social values on every scale.


Project details

Where: Dalslandsgade 8, 2300 Copenhagen S

Completed: 2022

Client: Øresundskollegiet / PAB / FA09

Architects and advisors: SLA, arki lab, AB Clausen (engineer) and Optimus (contractor)

Photo: SLA


Amager, Copenhagen

GOAL no. 3, 11, 12

The spools of film are gone, and new residents have moved into the former warehouse on the island of Amager. Clever utilization of every square metre provides both individual and communal living spaces.

Major cities are running out of room to grow, and students are among the population groups most affected by immediate housing shortages. An added urgent social issue is the prevalence of loneliness.

For many years, the Danish Film Institute stored film in this 1930s warehouse. Today, the transformed building contains 37 compact living spaces for young people with nine additional flats in the new adjacent building linked to it by an elevated walkway two stories up. The building shows its industrial heritage throughout, for example in the preserved concrete girders. The ceiling is lined with acoustic plaster and features four new skylights.

Community was a key focus in the design of this co-living complex. The design of the compact student flats, each 33–44 m2, and the other flats leaves room for communal areas on every floor: living rooms, three kitchens, a laundry facility, a cinema, a rooftop patio with a herb garden and a large, green courtyard. The spacious communal kitchen and the student flats have bed lofts and often neglected spaces such as stairwells, lifts and passages feature small niches, seating and aesthetically inviting materials.

Spatial optimization allows many and varied rooms and spaces. The colours of the rooms extend into the window frames on the white exterior walls. For example, the sunny communal study and living space has red concrete flooring, yellow window frames and a built-in seating element with yellow upholstery.

This project demonstrates that colours and unique elements can tie new and old together and that rethinking and optimizing spaces can create a varied setting for communal living. With diverse flat options allowing for different lifestyles, there is room for people to expand their lives and develop a strong community.


Project details

Where: Strandlodsvej 3 + 5, 2300

Completed: 2021

Client: Mitco Ejendomme

Architects: Spacon & X

Copenhagen S

Photos: Spacon & X


A green rock in the sea

Denmark’s most easterly island, Bornholm, is located in the Baltic Sea, geographically close to the south of Sweden which shares many of its natural and geological features. In contrast to the rest of Denmark, much of the island consists of rock. However, its southern coast is characterized by long, white sandy beaches.

Bornholm is just under 600 km2 with a coastline of 158 km. The main town, Rønne, which is located on the island’s west coast, is the gateway to the island with a ferry port and an airport. Due east from Rønne, on the opposite coast, is the second-largest town, Nexø, which has the island’s largest fishing port. Apart from the town of Åkirkeby, which is centrally located between these two towns, the main population centres are in the north of the island where a string of small towns dot the coast. From 1900 to 1968, there was a rail link between Rønne and Nexø; for part of this period, the railway also extended to some of the towns on the north coast. Later, cars took over, and today, large sections of the tracks have been converted into bicycle routes to the benefit of the many cycling tourists who come to the island every year. In the heart of Bornholm is Almindingen, the oldest and most beautiful part of the large forest that covers much of the centre of the island.

There have been kings and prefects on Bornholm but never squires. Hence, the largest buildings on Bornholm are fortresses and churches. The island has three medieval fortresses: Gamleborg, Lilleborg and Hammershus, the latter being the largest fortification in Northern Europe. Hammershus is close to the northern tip of Bornholm with views in every direction and well protected by steep, unscalable escarpments and only a single entrance. The four round churches in the towns of Nylars, Nyker, Olsker and Østerlars also date back to the early Middle Ages when they served both as houses of worship and as defensive structures and stores. Inside, the round churches are decorated with some of the island’s oldest murals.

Exquisite half-timbered houses

Old, preserved neighbourhoods in the towns contain both large former farmhouses and small, modest fishermen’s cottages. Until the 1950s, the


ideal was that every family, no matter how poor, should own their own home.

Until the 20th century, many of the houses on the island were based on a particular traditional model, a sort of early modular timber frame construction. This standardization produced harmonious buildings and streets. Due to the lack of timber at the time, Bornholm timber frames developed into one of the most simplified forms known. The gap between the timbers is quite wide, about two metres, and there is hardly any use of diagonal braces. Around 1800, the use of horizontal beams on top of the stone sill was abandoned, and in a further simplification, the oak timbers were now mounted directly on the sill.

Bomb houses

While the rest of Denmark was celebrating the advent of peace and freedom at the conclusion of WWII, the towns of Rønne and Nexø were under heavy Russian bombardment on 7 and 8 May 1945. The result was widespread devastation. Many houses were reduced to rubble, many more were badly damaged, and about one third of the two towns’ combined population of 14,000 people were homeless.

Thomas Havning, then chairman of the Danish Association of Architects, was quick to act. Just a few days later, on 12 May 1945, he initiated the establishment of Arkitekthjælpen (Architects’ Aid) with local Bornholm architect Willy Hansen at the helm. With free consultation from Arkitekthjælpen, the destroyed cities were rebuilt in a beautiful symbiosis between surviving buildings and new-builds. The so-called bomb houses were beautifully planned and designed and remain highly sought-after to this day.

Shortly after the bombardments, the Swedish state sent Denmark the generous gift of 300 timber houses complete with supplies for the installation of gas, water, electricity, sanitary facilities and heating. The timber houses came in three types, all equipped to the highest Swedish standards at the time with central heating, hot running water, modern kitchens with stainless steel sinks, bathrooms with WCs and windows with coupled frames. These houses, too, remain in high demand.


Tourists and depopulation

Population numbers have been shrinking since 1965, and today the total population of Bornholm is about 40,000. However, in recent years, the island has seen an influx of young families, newcomers as well as natives of Bornholm who return to raise a family. The municipality aims to increase the population and is currently undertaking a programme to create 1,200 new dwellings.

The commercial sector is also seeing significant growth, and unemployment is at an all-time low. In fact, the island lacks skilled and specialist labour, not least because many young people still leave in order to seek education elsewhere. To counteract this, there is an active ongoing effort to build attractive local communities and general and vocational upper secondary education.

Tourism and local food production are Bornholm’s main business sectors. The island is Denmark’s third most popular municipality for coastal holidays and welcomes about 650,000 tourists annually. There are ongoing efforts to expand the tourist season in order to bring more life to the island year-round. In addition to the unique landscape features and natural settings, the island is also known for gastronomy, its many independent craft makers and its tradition for ceramics and glass art.

Green island

Bornholm is investing in green energy and has been pursuing the Bright Green Island strategy since 2007. The vision for the island is to be fully sustainable and carbon-neutral by 2025. The Bright Green Island vision helps attract new companies and business-promoting activities and aims to make Bornholm the world’s first ‘energy island’, making it possible to establish large wind farms at sea far from the coast.


Green Solution House


GOAL no. 6, 7, 9, 12, 13

Tourism is a large contributor to climate change and resource scarcity. Green Solution House is a hotel with an ambitious approach to sustainable construction, design and hotel operation.

Tourism accounts for 8 percent of the world’s CO2-emissions with a huge environmental footprint in terms of waste, water and energy. Some of these emissions come from the construction and maintenance of hotels and resorts. New solutions are needed to develop sustainable and responsible tourism that benefits local communities.

Green Solution House is a hotel and conference venue that consists of an old hotel complex and new additions, the latest a residential wing from 2022. The hotel’s ambition is to develop, demonstrate and continuously revisit green solutions. The building and landscape are inspired by circular design and use recycled materials. Materials and products comply with strict requirements in terms of certification and environmental labels, recycling potential, social responsibility, resource use, material health and energy use. The hotel has barrier-free access.

Solutions include glass paved paths and bathroom tiles made from recycled glass by a local glass designer. Hotel furniture is made from timber offcuts from the hotel construction itself, and an expansive landscape around the hotel designed as a lush wetland that supports biodiversity, collects rainwater, protects the coastal site from flooding, and is maintained by grazing sheep.

Sustainability is a key priority in the operation of the hotel: kitchen waste is converted into biogas, and water from the showers is purified and used for flushing. The restaurant uses organic and locally sourced ingredients, and the purchase of new products is subject to requirements concerning recycling, environmental certification and energy use in production.

This project shows that it is possible to build and run a hotel based on sustainable principles.


Project details

Where: Strandvejen 79, 3700 Rønne

GSH 1.0 – Completed: 2015

Clients: C.E Mogensens Fond

Architects and advisors: 3XN, SLA (landscape), William McDonough + Partners (cradle to cradle), Rambøll (engineer)

GSH 2.0 – Completed: 2022

Clients: Bornholm Hotels

Architects and advisors: 3XN/GXN (architecture and sustainability), AB Clausen (engineer), PLE (contractor)

Photos: Adam Mørk Green Solution House consists of an older hotel complex and new additions; the latest a residential wing from 2022 (seen to the left) and the conference centre from 2015 (to the right) . Photo: Adam Mørk

Campus Bornholm Rønne

GOAL no. 3, 4, 7, 11, 12

Rural areas often struggle to provide quality education and thus minimize the outflow of young, educated citizens. Campus Bornholm brings the island’s secondary education programmes together under one roof to enhance the learning environment and strengthen the local community.

All over the world, urbanization leads to a concentration of knowledge and education in large cities, while small, local communities face depopulation and a decline in the number of young inhabitants. This is also true for Bornholm. Many of the island’s young people leave to pursue education options elsewhere, and the majority does not return.

Campus Bornholm gathers all youth, adult and vocational education programmes under one roof in one of the island’s largest building projects ever. Located in the main town of Rønne, the 20,000 m2 campus can be reached by public transport from any town on the island within an hour. This makes it possible for young people to pursue upper secondary education in their local community close to their family and friends. The concentration of programmes at the new campus promotes knowledge sharing and collaboration across the programmes and makes it easier for local businesses to recruit qualified local labour.

The shared campus functions are gathered around a large central square while the individual study programmes are organized along small squares and streets. The facade is clad with recycled copper and zinc, the flooring is granite from local quarries and the roofs are covered with sedum. Campus Bornholm covers its heating and cooling needs by reusing geothermal energy in thermo-active slabs. The intelligent geothermal system continually adjusts its output as needed, which contributes to a healthy indoor climate. An active solar system on the industrial roofscape covers the building’s electricity needs.

This project demonstrates how an attractive learning environment can strengthen the local community. The project is also an example of how natural resources can be used to minimize a building’s energy consumption.


Project details

Where: Minervavej 1, 3700 Rønne

Completed: 2018

Client: Campus Bornholm

Architects and advisors: Cubo (main) and Nova5 Arkitekter, Henrik Jørgensen Landskab (landscape), Dominia (engineer), Lars Ørtoft (engineer)

Photos: Martin Schubert

Bornholm Green Wave

From Hammerknuden to Nexø and Dueodde

GOAL no. 3, 9, 11, 15, 17

Forest, rocky valleys and heather hills form an almost continuous nature network through the central Bornholm landscape. Together with a large network of trails weaving through the landscape, the area has positive effects on biodiversity, outdoor life and small communities.

The interest in nature experiences and outdoor activities is growing in Denmark. While some areas periodically have a large influx of visitors, others are overlooked, although they contain significant qualities and potential. In addition, access to many natural areas can be a challenge.

Now, outdoor enthusiasts have an alternative to Bornholm’s popular coastline with easy access to the central parts of the island via Højlyngsstien, a 67-kilometre-long trail. Extending from Hammerknuden on the northern tip of the island to Nexø and Aarsdale on the east coast, the main trail passes through former moorlands on hilly and rocky ground and ties the many local trails into a large network. The area is named the Green Wave and contains natural landscapes, patches of cultivated land, woodlands and ancient monuments.

The Green Wave aims to be a ‘quiet landscape’ offering tranquillity in contrast to the livelier activities on the coast. It also makes room for wild nature and biodiversity in an area partially characterized by agriculture and forestry.

The trail network has signage, shelters and primitive campsites as well as architect-designed viewing platforms at Hammersholm. In Ekkodalen, foresters built a boardwalk that winds its way through the rift valley. Additional features are planned, including a trail centre, more shelters and campsites. The hope is that private actors will add new attractions, making the Wave a destination that draws in new residents, tourists and business opportunities.

This project demonstrates how a coherent narrative, and a few physical elements can enhance access to nature with positive effects on health and quality of life while spreading tourism wider and thus benefitting a large number of small communities.


Project details

Where: Central Bornholm from Hammerknuden in the northwest to the towns of Nexø and Dueodde to the southeast. Initiator: The Regional Municipality of Bornholm in collaboration with the Danish Nature Agency, the Bornholm Agriculture & Food Council, the Danish Society for Nature Conservation, Destination Bornholm, the University of Copenhagen Landscape strategy: In 2023, a landscape strategy is drawn up for Bornholm Green Wave based on dialogue with and involvement of local residents, professional experts, associations and interest groups. The landscape strategy is being prepared by the Regional Municipality of Bornholm in collaboration with the University of Copenhagen. There are no architects attached to the project on a permanent basis.

See more (in Danish): https://bornholm.info/erhverv/projekt-bornholms-groenne-boelge/

Platform by Erik Brandt Dam Arkitekter / Photo: Bjørn Pierri Enevoldsen and Realdania Photo: Stefan Asp

Shared holiday home


GOAL no. 12

With more than 200,000 holiday homes in Denmark, their climate footprint, land use and resource consumption are significant factors in Danish society’s sustainable transition. A holiday home in Storedalen is designed for sharing, built using minimal resources and with respect for the surrounding landscape and community.

Holiday homes are increasingly popular in Denmark where an average dwelling size per person of 53 m2 is the highest amongst European countries. While the construction of financially accessible holiday homes is positive for Danish middle-income families, it also comes with negative consequences such as a large carbon footprint, excessive land use and less desirable architectural, environmental, and social impacts on the local environment.

This holiday home in the Storedalen valley on Bornholm is built and owned by three families who use the house both separately and together. It is built primarily using local materials from the island, such as Douglas fir, to reduce the carbon footprint.

To accommodate the shared use, the house has a range of flexible living spaces indoors and outdoors. The patio has open and covered zones. Sliding glass doors diminish the boundary between the interior and the surrounding landscape. The 148 m2 interior is efficiently planned and contains six bedrooms, two bathrooms and storage space.

The house itself virtually floats above the dramatic rock formations, which until a century ago were an active quarry. The building sits on the edge of a rocky slope on a minimal foundation, cantilevered over the spectacular landscape, with stone steps leading up to the entrance.

The project demonstrates that it is possible to build a holiday home which optimizes space and material use in construction and respects the landscape. The occupants share resources and contribute to the local economy and community throughout the year.


Project details

Where: Storedalen 10, Sandkås, 3770 Allinge

Completed: 2019

Client: Mette Schmidt, Camilla Lilleør, Keld

Pedersen, Pernille Schyum

Poulsen and Michael Christensen

Architects: Pernille Schyum

Poulsen and Michael Christensen

Photos: Adam Mørk

Gaarden – a centre for regional food culture


GOAL no. 4, 12, 17

A regional centre for culinary culture celebrates and reinterprets the culinary history of Bornholm and promotes the island’s strategic focus on locally produced food.

More than 60 per cent of all land in Denmark is farmland, making it one of the most intensively cultivated countries in Europe. Since more than 80 per cent of the farmland is used to grow animal feed or dedicated to pig or cattle farms, Denmark imports large quantities of fruit, vegetables and bread grain. Thus, there is considerable potential in developing more sustainable local systems.

Denmark’s first centre for regional culinary culture is situated in an old garden alongside Melstedgård, a thatched-roof farmstead which is now an open-air agricultural museum.

Production facilities and communal rooms form a setting for activities that promote the island’s strategic focus on local food products. With roots in nature and cultural history Gaarden hosts events and houses a food industry centre, a development centre, a farm shop and a showroom for local food producers.

The shape and size of the new building was inspired by the historical farmstead, but the thatched roof has been replaced by a lightweight, timber clad pitched roof. The timber constructions are reminiscent of half-timbered structures. Large, glazed sections draw the outdoors in while displaying indoor activities to the outside. The culinary centre includes about 25 hectares of land, which are used for experimental cultivation, local fruit varieties and livestock. Some of the land is used by green entrepreneurs.

Organizationally, Gaarden is part of Bornholm Museum, but it is based on a broad partnership including actors from agriculture, tourism, educational institutions and the municipality.

This project demonstrates that a strategic partnership based on food products can set a local agenda and create quality food products attracting tourists from afar. This contributes to the island’s business development.


Project details

Where: Melstedvej 25/25A, 3760 Gudhjem

Completed: 2015

Client: Bornholm Museum

Architects and advisors: entasis, Opland Arkitekter (landscape), rl consult (engineer)

Photo: Helene Høyer Mikkelsen Photo: Jens Markus Lindhe Photo: Jens Markus Lindhe


We extend our heartfelt gratitude to the architects and project owners who graciously allowed us to feature their work in this book. Their detailed descriptions and visual materials provided valuable insights into their innovative and inspirational projects.

We also want to express our appreciation to the 200+ architects and project owners who submitted their projects. Although we could not feature all of them, we value their contributions and efforts in addressing the challenges of sustainable development. Your work is a source of hope and inspiration.

Architects all over Denmark are contributing to a sustainable future. Working on this volume members of the Danish Association of Architects have contributed in numerous ways; as members of the editorial committee, as practicing architects designing the projects submitted, as urban planners, public authority, clients and through the many other roles architects fill, as part of our collective work to reach the Goals. We thank you and look forward to seeing all the next steps towards a truly sustainable built environment.

This book marks a new installment in a series of architectural guides which have UN Sustainable Development Goals as their underlying principle, and its publication coincides with the UIA World Congress of Architects in Copenhagen in 2023. We are indebted to Annette Blegvad, who not only inspired the idea for this book but also served as the managing editor for the foundational “An Architecture Guide to the UN 17 Sustainable Development Goals”, volume 1 and 2.

Our gratitude also extends to the rest of the team who created those two volumes, including Natalie Mossin, Lene Rose Sørensen, Sofie Stilling, Thomas Chevalier Bøjstrup, Vibeke Grupe Larsen, Maja Lotz, Ingeborg Christiane Hau and Christoffer Steensen Møller.

We recognize the crucial role that foundations and organizations play in funding new development and research that paves the way for a more sustainable future. While we were unable to provide information on the funding for each individual project, we extend our gratitude to the foun-


dations whose contributions were essential to the realization of the architecture featured in this book, including the philanthropic association

Realdania, Lokale og Anlægsfonden (The Danish Foundation for Culture and Sports Facilities), TrygFonden, The Nordea Foundation, A.P. Møller and Chastine Mc-Kinney Møller Foundation, The Bevica Foundation, Villum Fonden and many others.

Finally, we would like to thank the Axel Muusfeldts Foundation for their generous financial contribution to this book, which helped bring this project to fruition.






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CEPR (Centre for Economic Policy): “Alone and lonely: The economic cost of solitude”

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Technical University of Denmark, DTU Sustain, Department of Environmental and Resource Engineering: “Indoor Environment”, https://sustain.dtu.dk/en/forskning/indoor-environment, (Accessed, April 2023)



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Realdania: “Ny rapport om detailhandel” (in Danish), https://realdania.dk/nyheder/senestenyt/2017/detailhandelsrappport-310517 (2017)

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Sharing Lab: “Turning indoor public spaces into vibrant third places”, https://medium.com/ we-research-and-expriment-with-how-the-sharing/turning-indoor-public-spaces-into-vibrantthird-places-62084b5287f8 (Accessed, April 2023)

21. sØnæs


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Rios, Fernanda Cruz; Chong, Wai Kiong Oswald; Grau, David: “Design for Disassembly and Deconstruction – Challenges and Opportunities”, https://www.researchgate.net/ publication/283172137_Design_for_Disassembly_and_Deconstruction_-_Challenges_and_ Opportunities (2015)




Realdania: “Ny rapport om detailhandel” (in Danish), https://realdania.dk/nyheder/senestenyt/2017/detailhandelsrappport-310517 (2017)

IMD - International Institute for Management Development: “How high streets and shopping malls face a domino-effect-from-major-store-closures”, https://www.imd.org/research-knowledge/ articles/how-high-streets-and-shopping-malls-face-a-domino-effect-from-major-store-closures/ (2018)

Trap Danmark: “Odsherred Kommune befolkning og boliger” (in Danish), https://trap.lex.dk/Odsherred_Kommunes_befolkning_og_boliger, (Accessed, April 2023)


https://corneliusvoge.dk/projekter/poplen/ (in Danish)

VIVE, the Danish Centre for Social Research: ”Nedrivninger af huse og fremtidige nedrivningsbehov i Danmark” (in Danish), https://www.vive.dk/da/udgivelser/nedrivninger-afhuse-og-fremtidige-nedrivningsbehov-i-danmark-8746/ (2015)

European Parliament, Policy Department Structural and Cohesion: “How to promote the role of youth in rural areas of Europe?”

https://www.europarl.europa.eu/RegData/etudes/note/ join/2010/438620/IPOL-AGRI_NT(2010)438620_EN.pdf (2010)

KL – Local Government Denmark: “Analyserapport: Ny befolkningsfremskrivning 2020-2060” (in Danish): https://www.kl.dk/nyheder/makro-analyseenheden/nyt-om-dansk-oekonomi/ ny-befolkningsfremskrivning-2020-2060/



https://mariannelevinsen.dk/2021/05/11/ballerup-boulevard/ (in Danish)

Research Outreach: “Cities in motion: To make our urban future sustainable, reconsider car dependency”, https://researchoutreach.org/articles/cities-motion-make-urban-futuresustainable-reconsider-car-dependency/ (2020)



WHO: “Diabetes – facts”, https://www.who.int/news-room/fact-sheets/detail/diabetes (Accessed, April 2023)

Yale Environment 360: “Ecopsychology: How Immersion in Nature Benefits Your Health”, https://e360.yale.edu/features/ecopsychology-how-immersion-in-nature-benefits-your-health, (2020)


https://www.bbp.dk/lring-brnehuset-egedammen (in Danish)

VIVE, the Danish Centre for Social Research: “Temaer – dagtilbud” (in Danish), https://www.vive.dk/da/temaer/dagtilbud/ (Accessed, April 2023)

European Council for Energy Efficient Economy: “Impacts of the indoor environment on child health”, https://www.eceee.org/library/conference_proceedings/eceee_Summer_Studies/2021/4monitoring-and-evaluation-for-a-wise-just-and-inclusive-transition/impacts-of-the-indoorenvironment-in-our-homes-and-schools-on-child-health/ (Accessed, April 2023)



Danish Ministry of Industry, Business and Financial Affairs: “Danmark som tilgængelig feriedestination for mennesker med fysisk funktionsnedsættelse” (in Danish), https://em.dk/media/10519/05-23-tilgaengelighedrapport.pdf, (2017)



https://onv.dk/projekt/venligbolig-plus/ (in Danish)

Lisette van Doorn, Amanprit Arnold & Elizabeth Rapoport: In the Age of Cities: The Impact of Urbanization on House Prices and Affordability, https://link.springer.com/chapter/10.1007/978-3-030-11674-3_1 (2019)

Danmarks Nationalbank: “Et boligmarked i flere hastigheder”, (in Danish)

https://www.nationalbanken.dk/da/publikationer/Documents/2014/09/Boligmarked%20i%20 flere%20hastigheder_kvo3-2014.pdf (Accessed, April 2023)



The Agency for Culture and Palaces: “Fredede og bevaringsværdige bygninger”, https://slks.dk/omraader/kulturarv/databaserne/fredede-og-bevaringsvaerdige-bygninger (Accessed, April 2023) and "Vejledning til vurdering af fredningsværdier" (in Danish)



https://www.tegnestuenlokal.dk/hc-rstedsvej (in Danish)

Horizon, European Commission: “Taking on Europe’s concrete tower block energy challenge”, https://ec.europa.eu/research-and-innovation/en/horizon-magazine/taking-europes-concretetower-block-energy-challenge (2017)


https://www.tredjenatur.dk/en/portfolio/enghaveparken-climate-park/ Johnson, Amanda J; Glover, Troy D.: “Understanding Urban Public Space in a Leisure Context”, https://www.researchgate.net/publication/262873448_Understanding_Urban_Public_Space_ in_a_Leisure_Context (2022)

European Environmental Agency: “Who benefits from nature in cities? Social inequalities in access to urban green and blue spaces across Europe”: https://www.eea.europa.eu/publications/whobenefits-from-nature-in (Accessed, April 2023)


https://henninglarsen.com/en/projects/featured/1695-kab-house OECD: “Cities in the World Policy, Highlights”: https://www.oecd.org/cfe/cities/Cities-in-the-WorldPolicy-Highlights.pdf (Accessed, April 2023)


http://peterkjaer.as/eget-hus-i-sydhavnen-2/ Bolius: “Hvor stort er et gennemsnitligt hus, rækkehus, lejlighed og sommerhus i Danmark” (in Danish), https://www.bolius.dk/hvor-stort-er-et-gennemsnitligt-hus-raekkehus-lejlighed-ogsommerhus-i-danmark-36883 (2023)



Marcarini, Mariagrazia Francesca: "Pedarchitecture: “Which Learning Environments for the Personalisation of Teaching and Learning? An Educational Architecture for the Schools of the Future”, https://link.springer.com/chapter/10.1007/978-981-15-7497-9_8 (2020)



The Institute for Economics & Peace: “Safety Perceptions Index 2022”, https://www.visionofhumanity.org/wp-content/uploads/2022/06/SPI-2022-web-2.pdf (2022)

OECD: “Climate Ressilient Infrastructure”, https://www.oecd.org/environment/cc/policyperspectives-climate-resilient-infrastructure.pdf (Accessed, April 2023)




Realdania: “Ny rapport om detailhandel” (in Danish), https://realdania.dk/nyheder/seneste-nyt/2017/detailhandelsrappport-310517 (2017)

IMD - International Institute for Management Development: “How high streets and shopping malls face a domino-effect-from-major-store-closures”, https://www.imd.org/research-knowledge/articles/ how-high-streets-and-shopping-malls-face-a-domino-effect-from-major-store-closures/ (2018)



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European Environmental Agency: “Who benefits from nature in cities? Social inequalities in access to urban green and blue spaces across Europe”: https://www.eea.europa.eu/publications/whobenefits-from-nature-in (Accessed, April 2023)



ICEF: “Housing Issues Persist in a Number of Student Cities”, https://monitor.icef.com/2022/09/ housing-issues-persist-in-a-number-of-student-cities/( ICEF Monitor) (2022)




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How can the way we build contribute to a better world?

The UN 17 Sustainable Development Goals represent a collective commitment towards a more sustainable future. Architecture and the built environment are both part of the challenges we face and integral to the solutions needed to achieve the Goals. This book presents 60 contemporary Danish architecture projects. Each one contributes to building stronger communities, improving quality of life – and creating a more sustainable future for all.

A digital version of this book is available for download on:
Leave No One Behind

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Articles inside


page 111

Gaarden – a centre for regional food culture

pages 109-110

Shared holiday home

page 108

Bornholm Green Wave

page 107

Campus Bornholm

page 106

Green Solution House

pages 104-105


pages 101-103

The Social Spine

page 100

The Amager Centre

page 99

The architect’s own house

pages 95-98

The KAB House

page 94

Station – student-driven innovation house

pages 89-93

Venligbolig Plus Frederiksberg

page 88

Egedammen Preschool Søborg

pages 86-87

Steno Diabetes Center Copenhagen Herlev

page 85

Ballerup Boulevard

page 84


pages 82-83

Poplen Youth Club Jyllinge

page 81

Odsherred Theatre

page 80

The Braunstein Taphouse Køge

page 79

Køge Waterworks

page 78

The Danish Country House

page 77

Polymeren Årslev

pages 75-76

Ultra-Fast Charging Stations for Electric Cars

page 74

Aktivitetsskoven Middelfart

pages 71-73


pages 69-70

Campus Kolding – University of Southern Denmark

pages 67-68

Højer – gateway to Tøndermarsken Højer

pages 65-66

The Wadden Sea Centre Vester

pages 63-64

FLUGT – Refugee Museum of Denmark

page 62


pages 60-61

Cold Hawaii Inland Thy

page 59

Studio and private home Agger

pages 57-58

Kulturlandskab Oddesund

page 56

GAME StreetMekka Viborg

page 55

Herning Library

pages 53-54

Ry Market Hall Ry

pages 49-52

Youth culture centre and housing – UKH and UKHome

pages 45-48

Æbeløen – residential park Aarhus

page 44

Royal Danish Library Aarhus Aarhus

pages 42-43

Made in Aarhus Aarhus

pages 40-41

Lisbjerg Recycling Station Aarhus

pages 38-39

Nye – nature-driven urban development

page 37


pages 33-36

Karolinelund Kindergarten Aalborg

pages 30-32

Grindsted School Vodskov

pages 27-29

Vrå Children and Culture Centre

page 26

Kornets Hus Hjørring

page 25


pages 23-24


page 22


pages 18-21


pages 14-17

Leave No One Behind

page 13

Architecture’s contribution to the UN Sustainable Development Goals

page 12


pages 10-11


pages 8-9
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