2_3_ScanMagazine_Issue_81_Oct-Nov_2015_Scan Magazine 1 15/10/2015 21:36 Page 68
Scan Magazine | Architecture Special | Denmark
Above left and bottom right: Many of Copenhagen’s old courtyards have been redesigned and altered to withstand future flooding and use water as a natural energy resource. Top right: Niels Lützen Landscape Architects also apply their rainfall expertise to natural areas.
Let it rain Lützen Landscape Architects are among the pioneers in making sustainable use of rainfall while maintaining aesthetics and enabling people to live and thrive. By Thomas Bech Hansen | Photos: Niels Lützen Landscape Architects
On the morning of 2 July 2011, thousands of Danes awoke to find their homes in unrecognisable condition. The previous night, the sky’s floodgates had opened in a brief but frenzied storm, leaving streets, basements and front rooms across the nation flooded. Unaccustomed to such fierce weather, only a few Danish builders had thought to make structures to withstand elements on this scale. This changed instantly. “The experience ended up costing millions for home owners and insurance companies. And the municipalities suddenly realised that its citizens must be guarded. Basically, it turned the world of construction on its head,” says Niels Lützen, owner of Copenhagen-based firm Lützen Landscape Architects. Public planning schemes were adjusted to better prepare for future incidents of force
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majeure, especially as long-term forecasts predicted more heavy rainfall due to global warming. All architects had to start thinking differently about the climate’s impact on the structures they help create. Architecture schools introduced specific subjects for it. This all prompted Niels Lützen to revive an old interest of his.
young people, parents, the elderly – it is about everyone living together,” says Lützen. “We want to be close to people and are fascinated by how people live. That is why we are so involved in projects like courtyards in big cities.” Indeed, the company is behind the revitalisation of many of Copenhagen’s old courtyards, with 40 already in the portfolio and another ten in progress, all being built to withstand future flooding and use water as a natural energy resource.
Rain as a blessing “For me, it was a chance to revisit one of my old interests, namely rainfall in architecture, which I published a book on many years ago. This focus is twofold: how to guard buildings against rain, and how to make the most use of it. Heavy rainfall can be a blessing because water can be utilised to provide energy and efficient sewage systems for an entire household,” explains Lützen. The company’s projects mainly revolve around everyday landscapes. “Children,
River flows Away from the cityscapes, Niels Lützen Landscape Architects are applying their rainfall expertise on natural areas. Harrestrup stream just outside Copenhagen is currently being freed of its concrete concealment to merge once again with the surrounding pastures, which function like an old-fashioned reservoir.
For more information, please visit: www.nl-landskab.dk
Promoting Brand Scandinavia. Featuring interview with Swedish singer Ane Brun.