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CPH CLIMATE ADAPTATION The Soul of Nørrebro – Winner of the Nordic Built Cities Challenge


Green Footprints Circular Design as local business catalyst


SLADNA A look into our studio, who we are, how we work and how we create

Cities of Nature A New Nordic Model

Cities of Nature Copyright © 2016 by SLA 1st edition, 1st printing All material by SLA Edited by Mike Ameko Lippert Graphic design by Britt Engelhardt Gundersen All images courtesy of SLA Except p. 41: photo by Ringkøbing K and Ringkøbing Air Foto, and p. 82: photo by Realdania By & Byg Published by SLA Njalsgade 17B, 3rd Floor 2300 Copenhagen Denmark ISBN 978-87-999515-0-5 Printed in Denmark

Printed on 100 percent recycled paper

Cities of Nature A New Nordic Model

Until recently, most discussions about urban development have solely been concerned with the quality of the built environment. Today, planners and politicians are becoming aware of the need for a grown environment. Understanding the connection between nature and our social and physical wellbeing has become crucial for cities that favour sustainable life quality. Thus, nature is the focal point of everything we develop, draw and think at SLA. Nature is the means by which we solve some of today’s hardest urban challenges while adding new social and cultural meaning to our cities. With this approach, SLA has for the last 20 years practiced a New Nordic Model for city development. It is a model based on co-creation, dialogue and humanistic nature-based design solutions. And which solves both physical, social and economic challenges in our cities. In the New Nordic City Model, urban development is always founded in local and site-specific circumstances, using the local social and cultural life as well as the specific physical and economic challenges of the area as starting point for solutions. The aim is always to increase the life quality of the citizens. And because of the model’s strong foundation in the principles and processes of nature it is highly scalable and can be applied in a wide array of settings and conditions around the world. On the following pages you can learn more about our work with cities of nature. We’ll take you to Copenhagen, to other Nordic cities as well as cities in the rest of the world.


The SLA Team



SLA is a Danish based group of urban quality experts operating within the fields of urban space, city planning and landscape architecture. Started in 1994, the firm is today lead by three partners: Founder Stig L. Andersson, CEO Mette Skjold and CCO Rasmus Astrup. At SLA we create modern, sustainable cities that inspire social community and diversity through nature’s amenity and utility values. Our projects solve some of today’s hardest urban problems while creating genuine urban quality that in an unorthodox way add new meaning to the city. Together our 55 employees form a multidisciplinary team consisting of designers, biologists, city planners, planting experts and urban forests engineers. SLA has offices in Copenhagen, Aarhus and Oslo, Norway. Drawing on our strong Nordic roots we have realized numerous projects in Europe, Asia, Africa and the Mid East.

Copenhagen Njalsgade 17B Pakhus 2, 3rd floor 2300 Copenhagen S Denmark +45 3391 1316 Aarhus Mejlgade 51A, 3rd floor 8000 Aarhus C Denmark +45 8230 4095 Oslo Torggata 38 N-0182 Oslo Norway +45 3176 5841 Contact For business and press enquiries: Kristoffer Holm Pedersen Head of Communications and Business Development +45 6080 9394




Copenhagen 14

The International Criminal Court


Cloud 16

Embassy of the European Union


South Boulevard




Novo Nordisk Nature Park


Reinvent Paris


The Soul of Nørrebro


Sustainable School Dubai


The Mountain Gardens


The City Dune

North West Park


St. Kjelds Square & Bryggervangen


Policy & Agenda Empowerment of Aesthetics


Growth 56 Nordic Brattøra Friområde



Green Footprints (GSH)


Ringkøbing K


Bjørvika Oslo Harbor


The Anchor Park


Fredericia C


Climate Adaptation and Urban Nature


The City of a Billion Pines




“Just living is not enough,” said the butterfly, “one must have sunshine, freedom, and a little flower.” Hans Christian Andersen Author

The City Dune Where bankers and skaters co-exist

“SEB is living proof that you can create value with urban space. The branding value of our landscape is five times bigger than what a regular branding campaign with the same budget could have given us.” Peter Høltermand, CEO of SEB Denmark

Service: Design and masterplanning of urban space Location: Bernstorffs Plads, Copenhagen, Denmark Type: Urban space Client: SEB Bank and Pension Design period: 2007-10 Realization: 2010 Area: 7300 m2 Collaborators: Rambøll (engineers)


How do you create a public urban space for a commercial bank – a space which is generous and democratic and which refutes the traditional image of banks as being without social consciousness? We solved that challenge for the Swedish SEB Bank’s new headquarter in Copenhagen by creating a green, lush and open space that invites all Copenhageners in to use and enjoy the greenery – from joggers to skaters and from clients to employees. The City Dune, as the space is called, is a gigantic artificial dune made of white folded concrete intersected by lush green nature. The City Dune is a welcome recreational spot in the Copenhagen harbour that at the same time provides new sensuous experiences, improved microclimate, shelter from the wind, stormwater management, full accessibility, 120 underground parking spaces, and a strong and highly physical identity and ‘brand value’ for the bank. A model for the public-private spaces of the future.

Cloud There’s no such thing as bad weather

As the walls of water switch on and off depending on the wind they create varying images and expressions which catch the attention of curious bypassers and encourage them to pause, wonder, breathe and sense.

Service: Urban Design Location: Copenhagen, Denmark Type: Urban Space Client: Nykredit Design period: 2008-10 Realization 2011 Area: 5.500 m2 Collaborators: Schmidt Hammer Lassen (building architects)


In Denmark the sun only shines for one third of the year. The rest of the time the weather is cloudy, foggy or it rains. How do you create urban spaces under these circumstances that still manage to provide value and meaning to their users in all kinds of weather? In the urban space CLOUD, we have created a new state of being that allows the citizens of Copenhagen to experience light, wind and rain as attractive sensuous events. With its 2,300 water jets, misty air, floating lights and the ice cube-like building CRYSTAL, CLOUD makes it possible to experience water in all its three states: Solid, liquid and vapor. The result is an urban space that changes with the weather and gives its visitors unique urban experiences – come rain or come shine.

South Boulevard Enhancing communities through nature

South Boulevard has changed from run-down traffic infrastructure to a green, inclusive and generous example of prime social infrastructure.

Service: Design and transformation of urban social infrastructure Location: Copenhagen, Denmark Type: Urban space Client: The Municipality of Copenhagen Design period: 2004-2005 Realization: 2006 Area: 1,6 ha Collaborators: Hansen & Henneberg (engineers)


South Boulevard cuts though inner Copenhagen like a fragment of the 19th Century’s dream of the great metropolis. By the late 20th century, however, not much was left of that greatness. South Boulevard had deteriorated into a barren, desolate and unsafe thoroughfare reserved for cars at high speed. When we got the assignment to transform South Boulevard we proposed to change it from traffic infrastructure into a new kind of social infrastructure. Through a comprehensive and specially designed community participation process the residents were allowed to dream and articulate their needs and wishes for their new boulevard, such as new nature amenities, playgrounds, basketball courts, better sitting arrangements, outdoor services, etc. From this participation process we developed a flexible framework which not only could incorporate all the citizens’ needs and requests; but which could also adapt and change to the future needs of the area. The result is a lush, inclusive and extremely lively social space and one of Copenhagen’s most popular urban destinations. South Boulevard is also an example of how green investment pays of: a recent research study has shown that each dollar invested in nature has resulted directly in 25 dollars gained in rising real estate prices in the immediate area.

Novo Nordisk nature park Novo Nordisk Nature Park Nykredit

The triple value of nature-based climate adaption

As the walls of water switch on and off depending on the “In close collaboration with SLA we have created an wind they create varying images and expressions which open, lush and public park which sets a huge, green catch the attention of curious bypassers and footprint in the local area. A sustainable nature project encourage them to pause, wonder, breathe and sense which we hope supports plants and animals while being used year round by neighbors, guests and staff.” Kristina Lee, Corporate Vice President of Novo Nordisk A/S

In Denmark SLA has the designed sun only shines the new forcorporate one thirdpark of the foryear. the headquarter Therefore, the of citizens Denmark’s of Copenhagen biggest company, ought to Novo experience Nordisk.all The kinds park’s of weather, design is light, inspired wind byand the rain Scandinavian as attractive nature sensuous and includes events.a wide The landscape palette of ”CLOUD” native plants, complements trees and the animals. building With ”CRYSTAL” more than in an 2,000 urban newly space planted which changes trees and Location: Bagsværd, Denmark expression lush with vegetation, the weather the park andcreates attractsnew curious biotopes, citizens, enhancing intrigued biodiversity by the purling and improving water and the Type: Public corporate park water reflections microclimate of hastely around the passing two people new buildings. and the The architecture flowing path of the system surroundings. encourages walkClient: Novo Nordisk and-talk brainstorms and chance meetings between co-workers and creates a healthy work environment with enhanced opportunities for knowledge-sharing and innovation. The park is Design period: 2010-2013 the first landscape in Denmark with 100 percent water balance. This means that all rainwater Realizaion: 2014 is being naturally percolated or reused as irrigation in the park or in the building. Novo Nordisk 2 Area: 31,000 m Nature Park is designed to be open to the public and is thus a large, green and welcoming Collaborators: Henning Larsen Architects gesture to the local community. Thus the park fully complies with Novo Nordisk’s ambitious (building architects) and Alectia triple bottom line principle of environmental, social and economic sustainability. (engineers) Service: Masterplan and park design


Brattøra Friområde Where the sea, sky and land meet

An urban harbor promenade that reestablishes contact between the city and the sea and gives the people a place to enjoy on hot summer days, rough autumn days, frigid winter mornings and budding spring days.

Service: Landscape and urban space design Location: Trondheim, Norway Type: Urban space Client: Statens Vegvesen Design period: 2009-2011 Realization: 2013 Area: 2,3 hA Collaborators: Pir II (building architects), Myklebust, SWECO, COWI (engineers)


As the meeting point between the sea, river and land, and between the historic port and industrial area Brattøra has always had crucial importance to Trondheim’s development until the railway track separated the area from the city. Today, Brattøra Friområde (literally: Brattøra Open Space) reestablishes the close relationship between the city of Trondheim and the sea. With the use of local materials and a variety of different ways to experience the water - from stairs leading into the sea to ramps, ebb and flow-pools and lookout areas – Brattøra Friområde has become a place that inspires the citizens to go swimming, bathing, diving, fishing or take a walk while experiencing the raw forces of nature and the ever changing expressions of the sky, the sea and the world-famous Trondheim light at first hand.

The SOUL OF NØRREBRO Winner of the Nordic Built Cities Challenge

Water – whether the increase of it, the pollution of it or the lack of it – is going to be one of the main urban challenges of the 21th Century. SLA’s project The Soul of Nørrebro addresses this issue through a new Nordic Model to city development. It is a highly scalable model based on co-creation, dialogue and humanistic nature-based design solutions. And which simultaneously solves both physical, social and cultural challenges in our cities.

Service: Urban design and climate adaptation Location: Nørrebro, København Type: Urban space Client: The Municipality of Copenhagen Design period: 2016 – Realization: 2022 Area 85.000 m2 Visualisations: Beauty and the Bit Collaborators: Rambøll, Arki_Lab, Den Nationale Platform for Gadeidræt, Aydin Soei, Social Action


The City of Copenhagen is, just like almost every other big city, facing critical climate changes and a growing population. Copenhagen’s challenges range from heavy cloudbursts, urban heat islands and an increased carbon footprint to waste management, water pollution and an increasing social and cultural segregation. SLA’s project THE SOUL OF NØRREBRO aims to address all of these challenges by seeing water not as a problem, but as a resource. The project is a flagship example of how the New Nordic City Model, based on co-creation, dialogue and humanistic nature-based design, can solve our urban challenges while enhancing life in our cities. The project is an integrated urban design and climate adaption project that combines city nature, local community and smart cloudburst solutions, building upon the area’s existing qualities and unique local spirit. All rainwater is collected and used locally while excess water from cloudbursts is lead from the area and into the Copenhagen Lakes, being cleansed by city nature biotopes along the way. Thus, the area’s hydrological, biological and social circuits work together in a strong symbiosis that does not only climate proof inner Nørrebro, but also has a positive effect on the entire City of Copenhagen.


“In a world where it is becoming increasingly hard for nations to deal with climate change, it befalls to cities and visionary private developers to ensure the successful green transition of our planet. As experts in nature-based sustainability, SLA has an opportunity but also a duty and an obligation to provide sustainable and humanistic solutions to help with this transition.� Mette Skjold Partner and CEO

Novo Nordisk nature park The International Criminal Court Nykredit

Water management, security and identity in a cohesive democratic design

As the walls of water switch on and off depending on the In the landscape surrounding The New Criminal Court wind they create varying images and expressions which in The Hague, nature and a strong identity are combined catch the attention of curious bypassers and with sustainability, infrastructure and security. encourage them to pause, wonder, breathe and sense

How do you design the landscape for one of the most august and respected international institutions in the world? That was the challenge facing us when we created the landscape for The International Criminal Court (ICC) in the Hague, Netherlands. The result is a landscape that Location: The Hague, The Netherlands is one of the world’s most advanced security enhancing landscapes – all done without the use Type: Secure semi-public landscape of barbed wire. Instead the landscape incorporates perimeter security, terrorism prevention In Denmark the sun only shines for one third of the year. Therefore, the citizens of Copenhagen Client: The International Criminal and democratic openness in one ingenious and cohesive green design. The landscape’s security ought to experience all kinds of weather, light, wind and rain as attractive sensuous events. measures are all integrated in the artificial dune landscape. Thus the perimeter security Court The landscape ”CLOUD” complements the building ”CRYSTAL” in an urban space which changes concept offers both a high level of security, an unobstructed view to the ICC building and Design period: 2010-2014 expression with the weather and attracts curious citizens, intrigued by the purling water and the beautiful scenery. As such the entire ICC premise is designed to seamlessly blend in with the Realization: 2015 water reflections of hastely passing people and the architecture of the surroundings. adjacent dunes and nature reserve. Inside the ICC, the parterre gardens in the inner courtyards Area: 46,000 m2 have been designed as Gardens of the World to represent all ICC’s nations and regions. Collaborators: Schmidt Hammer Lassen The Gardens of the World include an African garden, a Western European garden, an Asian garden, an Eastern European garden and a Latin American / Caribbean garden. The parterre (building architects) gardens give the employees and the guests of the ICC a welcome choice of recreational possibilities and a natural, calm and inclusive break during a busy day. All in all, our landscape presents the International Criminal Court with an open, inviting and democratic expression that at the same time provides the Court with state-of-the-art protection and security: An iconic landscape befitting one of the truly great institutions of the world. Service: Landscape design


Green Footprints Circular design as local business catalyst

A diverse and living landscape with a green footprint developed on Cradle 2 Cradle-principles. Such is the new nature park for Green Solution House.

Service: Design and research Location: Bornholm, Denmark Type: Landscape Client: Green Solution House Design period: 2012-14 Realization: 2015 Area: 67,000 m2 Collaborators: 3XN/GXN and Steenbergs Tegnestue (building architects), Rambøll (engineer)


The landscape GREEN FOOTPRINTS for the Green Solution House conference center and hotel on Bornholm is based on the latest trends in sustainable development and designed according to the principles of Cradle 2 Cradle. This includes 100% water and soil balance, urban farming, composting, reuse of demolished building materials for new paths etc. The landscape is designed with focus on biodiversity, ecological water cleaning and full absorption and reuse of rain water. GREEN FOOTPRINTS is also a unique business case in how circular design can provide growth and jobs to a region not used to big development projects. By especially focusing on creating new materials and solutions out of local materials and waste we managed not only to develop new and unique solutions for the landscape, but to catalyze the development of new small, local, sustainable businesses on Bornholm.


The Mountain Gardens The best of both worlds

As the walls of water switch on and off depending on the With green areas and carefully selected vegetation, wind they create varying images and expressions which The Mountain in Ørestad offers the best of both catch the attention of curious bypassers and the city and the suburbs: An apartment close to the encourage them to pause, wonder, breathe and sense center of Copenhagen coupled with a spacious, private roof garden with unobstructed views over the green Amager Fælled.

Service: Gardens for residential buildings Location: Ørestad, Copenhagen Type: Roof gardens

In Denmark theworld sun only shines for one third of the year. citizens of Copenhagen For the famous residential building ‘The VMTherefore, Mountain’the in the Copenhagen district ought to experience all kinds of weather, windsoand rain as are attractive sensuous events. Ørestad, we have detailed the rooflight, gardens that they green all year round with minimal The landscape ”CLOUD” the flowers buildingbloom ”CRYSTAL” in an urban maintenance andcomplements so that different at different timesspace of thewhich year. changes The roof expression with the weather and attracts curious citizens, intrigued by the purling anddense the gardens are placed on top of a publicly accessible multi-storey car park, but water with the water reflections hastely passing people and the architecture of the surroundings. planting ofofthe roof gardens, the building sooner resembles a verdant mountain slope than an

Client: Axel Frederiksen, Bjerget A/S Design period: 2005-2007 Realization: 2008 Area: 2,5 hA Collaborators: BIG (building architects), Skjølstrup & Grønborg (gardeners)


urban parking facility. The roof gardens are designed with an environmentally friendly watering system that uses rainwater for irrigation and are separated by walls and enclosed by hedges providing ideal spaces for both barbeques and sunbathing in secure and relaxed surroundings in the middle of an urban area.

North West Park Drive local engagement through climate adaption

In a socially challenged area in Copenhagen the North West Park is a colorful and socially inclusive park which, via trees, light and poetry, introduces a new positive narrative to the North West quarter of Copenhagen.

Service: Landscape and light design Location: Copenhagen, Denmark Type: Public park Client: The Municipality of Copenhagen Design period: 2008-2010 Realization: 2010 Area: 35,000 m2 Collaborators: Lemming & Eriksson (engineers)


In the project for the North West Park, we turned a congested former industrial site in a socially challenged part of Copenhagen into a colorful fairytale-like park by adding more than 100 different trees, an advanced lighting design and a cascade of stars and new activities. The park was designed through a comprehensive citizens involvement process whose aim was to strengthen the local spirit, enhance the sense of ownership and heighten local commitment through the establishing of the new park. Amongst the many citizens’ activities we initiated were poems written by the local school children about their everyday life. These poems were then transferred onto park’s bicycle paths in the children’s own handwriting. An extensive lighting design sweeps the park in red, green and blue colors making the park a safe and secure place to play and linger – both day and night.

Novo Nordisk nature park Embassy of the European Union Nykredit

A symbiosis between Africa and Europe

As the walls of water switch on and off depending on the With combination of communal spaces andwhich indiwind theyits create varying images and expressions vidual courtyards, the landscape the Embassy catch the attention of curious for bypassers and of the European them Union Nigeria is an breathe evocative mix and an encourage toin pause, wonder, and sense intimate interplay between Africa and Europe – just like the embassy in itself.

Service: Landscape design Location: Abuja, Nigeria Type: Landscape and courtyards Client: The European Union Design period: 1998-2002 Realization: 2004 Area: 19,000 m2


In Denmark the sun only shines for one third of the year. Therefore, the citizens of Copenhagen ought to experience all kinds of weather, light, wind and rain as attractive sensuous events. The landscape ”CLOUD” complements the building ”CRYSTAL” in an urban space which changes expression with the weather and attracts curious citizens, intrigued by the purling water and the water reflections of hastely passing people and the architecture of the surroundings. In an international competition in 2005 SLA won the first prize for the landscape design of the European Union’s joint embassy in Nigeria’s capital Abuja. The landscape design consists partly of several large communal spaces, partly of individual courtyards belonging to the Embassies of the various countries. Each garden is inspired by the particular identity of each European member country, its nature and culture thus creating a varied yet specific identity for the joint embassy.

Ringkøbing K Nature as foundation for the City

In the development of the new neighborhood Ringkøbing K, nature and strong social communities come before buildings and infrastructure. This nature-based design approach ensures maximum sustainability in the new town, while also creating instant natural amenity values for existing and new inhabitants from day one.

Service: Development plan and landscape design Location: Ringkøbing, Denmark Type: Parallel assignment and subsequently main consultant Client: Realdania og Municipality of Ringkøbing-Skjern Design period: 2012-16 Realization: 2015-25 Area: 84 ha Collaborators: Adept, Viatrafik, Orbicon, Grontmij, Esbensen og Rekommanderet


In Ringkøbing K, SLA has designed a new town based on a unique naturebased development project. The project creates a process where a former agricultural area is converted into wild nature with marshes, wetlands and woods. By starting with creating attractive nature first and only then the infrastructure and the buildings, the new town will have instant natural amenity values, which in turn will make it easier to attract investments and inhabitants to the new town. In addition, the green site preparation will make the area naturally climate adapted and micro-climatically optimized for the coming buildings. The whole area is made available to citizens and visitors alike through an extensive system of pathways that switches between hard footpaths, walkways through wetlands, and a fjord bridge that facilitates the many activities on the fjord. Creating new natural and social amenity values for all from day one.


“Nature is the one thing we as humans cannot control. Nature is always in process, always evolving. That is how our naturebased design approach differs from other architects: We are more interested in how a project feels and functions than in how it will look. In that way we can create truly resilient and humanistic cities of nature that are able to adapt to a changing world. And which remain relevant and livable for future generations.� Rasmus Astrup Partner and CCO

Policy & Agenda

Empowerment of Aesthetics Growth Climate Adaptation & Urban Nature The City of a Billion Pines


Empowerment of Aesthetics Venice Architecture Biennale 2014 as a platform for policy development

“Stig L. Andersson’s unique, poetic and thought provoking exhibition invites you to explore the Danish architecture culture of the previous century and its global aspirations for the 21st century.” Kent Martinussen, Commissioner, CEO, Danish Architecture Centre

What do butterflies, quantum mechanics, poetry and dirt have to do with architecture? The Danish participation at the Venice Architecture Biennale 2014 reintroduced the forgotten power of aesthetics as the complementary to the rational. It argued that the two together form the foundation for our future decision-making. The Danish pavilion served both as a dialogue and inspiration platform for a large scenario project called DK2050 debating the future of Denmark. DK2050 asked: How will we live in Denmark in the year 2050? How can cities, politicians and each one of us participate and navigate in the decision-making on our common road into a sustainable future? The outset, according to SLA, was obvious; in 2050 both rationality and aesthetics are crucial powers, when shaping our future cities. Location: Venice, Italy Type: Research, debate, policy development Client: The Danish Ministry of Culture Exhibition Period: June – November 2014 Collaborators: Danish Architecture Center (DAC)


The following texts were published as part of SLA’s exhibition ‘Empowerment of Aesthetics’ at the Venice Architecture Biennale 2014.

Curator’s statement As children we played with the transistor radio. We tuned in to the signals between radio stations and listened to the noise. Years later I realized that it was the energy of Big Bang we had tuned in to. On the radio we heard it as sound waves. With another device we could have seen the same energy as particles of light. The concept of complementarity experienced in a small summerhouse in the countryside of Denmark. Big Bang created the conditions for the formation of the two simplest elements in the universe: Helium and hydrogen. From this simple starting point almost 14 billion years away we get this biennale and this exhibition; we get you and I; our bodies, our thoughts and our feelings; the cicadas, the chicories, the cerebellum; all there has been, all there is, and all there ever will be. I find this fascinating.

This exhibition in the Danish pavilion is called Empowerment of Aesthetics. It is an attempt to explore the complementarity between this fascinating aesthetic approach to the world and the purely rational and scientific approach, which for too long has dominated our world. Thus, this exhibition is an attempt to reinstate aesthetics as a fundamental equal to the rational when we plan our future world. It is not about how this world will look or scientifically add up. But how we want it to feel. To sense. What you will find here is Niels Bohr and Albert Einstein; white light and dark woods; Asger Jorn and G.N. Brandt; earth and sand and pines; the fundamentals of the unique dynamic Danish modernity; and my personal suggestion for what sensuous and aesthetic atmospheres we must form the basis of our future on. I invite you to come and explore the empowerment of aesthetics with me. And I hope that you will remember that all you see, hear, feel and touch has its basis in helium and hydrogen, the fundamental complementary of our world, and 14 billion years of wonder. Stig L Andersson


Empowerment of Aesthetics Empowerment of Aesthetics evolved out of the dilemma of demands that was set for the exhibition in the Danish pavilion. When I accepted the position as curator for the Danish pavilion, I was asked to include two seemingly opposite themes in my exhibition: The first was the single theme put forward by Rem Koolhaas, the curator of the 14th International Architecture Exhibition, to the national pavilions called Absorbing Modernity 1914-2014; the history of national architecture for the last 100 years. The second theme I was asked to include, was the Danish Government’s ambitious national project called DK2050, a project involving 10 cities, 3 local governments, 3 ministries and several private foundations and companies, aimed at calculating and thinking up scenarios for how we can build a better development for Denmark from now until 2050. So: The Modernity of the last 100 years. And Denmark in the year 2050. In one concept. It seemed we would have to make a schizophrenic exhibition. To solve this, I returned to the basis of my thinking and my practise – a practice born out of working with nature, art and architecture for the last 20 years, and a thinking born out of my foundation in art history, science, landscape architecture, Japanese culture and quantum physics. What quantum physics has taught me, is that the world in its essence adheres to the concept of complementarity: Everything has two sides. We cannot see them both at once. But the understanding of both is necessary if we are to fully understand the given phenomenon. I realized that that is exactly the challenge for the otherwise very ambitious DK2050-scenario project of the Danish Government: That it only looks at one side of architecture: The rational, the scientific, the quantifiable. And that it has forgotten or repressed the exact complementary to the rational: The aesthetic. By the aesthetic I do not mean the beautiful or the visually pleasing; it is not about how things look. In my term, aesthetics is the entire sensory apparatus of humans: All our senses and all our feelings; that what makes us feel, sense, wonder, discover, think, reflect, imagine and lead us towards new recognitions and new dialogues with each other. At once the most individual and the most universally human thing there is. And I realized that the problem with the DK2050 scenarios also was the problem for the Modernity and for the modern world at large: That we have repressed the importance of


aesthetics and instead solely rely on rationality as that which shall guide us forward. This approach has failed us for the last hundreds of years. And it will continue to fail us unless we start taking seriously the essential complementary to the rational: The aesthetic. When I realized this, I started searching for periods of time in history when the aesthetic aspect was not repressed, but rather seen as a valuable and essential power to create a better world for all. These small pockets of periods do exist, although we have largely written their meaning, their importance and their knowledge out of our modern history. It is these that I have drawn to light and exhibited in the one part of this exhibition called Fundamentals. I believe that it is actually in these small fractures in history that an alternative form of modernity can be found. That it is in the repressed aesthetics of history that the key to understanding another, dynamic modernity lies. One that not only tells us important but forgotten things about ourselves; but which also can be used as a new guidance for the future. I believe that it is from these aesthetic fundamentals of history that we as architects can re-learn how to create a stronger and more complete architecture that can help shape a better world in the future: By embracing the concept of complementarity in all its forms. Re-learning from modernity, so to speak. The aim of this exhibition is not to recreate a romantic vision of the world; it is not a backward looking argument that decries the rationality and the science of modernity. On the contrary; as stated in the concept of complementarity, I believe that the rational is exactly as important and essential as aesthetics. The problem is that today we look exclusively at rational arguments when making decisions. It is this balance that is unsustainable. The one is not more important than the other; only together can we get the full understanding of the world. This exhibition is an enthusiastic exploration of all that architecture was and all that it can be. An absorbing tale of the power of architecture when it opens up and embraces the complementarity of the world: The rational as well as the aesthetic. It is this power of aesthetics that I show in the large room of the pavilion: A sample of senses, feelings and wonders organized in the order of nature: The abiotic, non-living matter like wind, water, light, temperature and sand that together with the living matter, the biotic, forms everything. But first we start with the very fundamentals of modernity, which in my view has its root in the European Renaissance and, in the case of Denmark, especially in the early 19th century and onwards.

The Renaissance It was during the European Renaissance that art and architecture broke away from previous traditions and their ties to power. Art and architecture became independent in their own rights, and artists and architects could for the first time in European history study form and composition without having to concern themselves with anything other than the object studied. The foundation for a new and autonomous language, a conceptual framework for describing art and architecture, was conceived. The basis for abstraction in art and architecture was formulated: Modernity. Although the Renaissance did set artists and architects free from the church and the state, it did not free them from references. Instead of Immersing themselves in the new way that life was lived and learned, the artists turned instead towards the antique and the Greek ideal of beauty; towards the Platonic vision and Euclidean learning. On this basis, the onepoint perspective brought art and architecture into its own space. All objects, both plants and rocks, became shaped by the architect and used as building materials. The objects were put into the one-point perspective and spatially organized by the architect in a kind of inert system where hierarchy and stillness reigned. With its return to the ancient logical mathematical rules as the only true measurement for art and science, the Renaissance put an end to the Medieval form of reasoning that had primarily been based on intuitive and empirical feelings and sensations. With the Renaissance, the Europeans turned towards the rational, the evidence-based, as that which would lead them into a new and better world. The vague, the suspected, the emotional and the aesthetic as ways to reach new insight were repressed. And would only be found again for a short period hundreds of years later.

The Golden Age In Denmark it was the Golden Age (1800-1850) that would discover the balance between the two complementary perspectives: The rational and the aesthetic. The Danish Golden Age refused to be limited by the Renaissance’s conventions of the rational and the logical as the only form of truth. It was a time that wove subjects and topics together which had not previously been compatible: Scientific knowledge with artistic impression; art with politics, poetry with mathematics, nature with architecture.


Aesthetics and rationality are actually two radically different paths to knowledge and recognition. One way, the aesthetic, is empirical knowledge and experience through sensory experiences. The other way is common sense, the deductive practice in which conclusions are logically obtained on the basis of pre-established and well known terms. The Golden Age saw the two views as interwoven – as two inseparable complementary dimensions, both of which were necessary for a complete understanding of the world. It was this complementarity, which the great men of the Golden Age embraced in their work, often reaching across several professional boundaries, bringing together elements from many different disciplines. The Danish discoverer of electro magnetism, H.C. Ørsted (1777-1851) for example, was both a physicist, a poet, a chemist, a linguist and a philosopher. His and his contemporaries’ method consisted of putting things together that previously had nothing to do with each other – like electricity and magnetism – and from them create completely new knowledge. But the protagonists of the Golden Age did not know that what they had discovered was complementarity. The concept was first formulated a century later by a Danish nuclear physicist while skiing.

Niels Bohr The Danish nuclear scientist Niels Bohr (1885-1962) is world famous for his pioneering Bohr Model of the atom, which founded the understanding of the atomic structure and for which Bohr received the Nobel Prize in 1922, and for his devising of the special Copenhagen Interpretation of quantum mechanics, which shaped the development of modern atomic physics. Around 1914, however, a radical new idea had started to form in Bohr. Bohr describes his idea in a letter to his friend and colleague, the German scientist Albert Einstein (18791955), after a skiing trip in Norway in February-March 1927, where Bohr for the first time formulates his idea. This idea was the complementarity perspective. Bohr’s complementarity perspective states that if two aspects of a phenomenon are both necessary for a complete description of this phenomenon, even though the two aspects logically exclude one another, they are complementary. Each aspect is equally valid on its own. But both must be part of the total description of the phenomenon. Bohr used the example of light to describe his perspective: Light can be described as both a particle and a wave. But both descriptions are correct in themselves. But they also mutually exclude one another – you cannot see light as wave and as a particle simultaneously. Einstein never accepted Bohr’s perspective, even though the two friends continued their conversations about the


nature of complementarity for the rest of their lives. Einstein could not accept the philosophical uncertainty that lies inherent in Bohr’s complementarity perspective: That there can never only be one side of a story; that there can never only be one truth. But if Einstein had looked outside the narrow world of quantum mechanics, he would have seen that in fact there was nothing new in Bohr’s perspective. Complementarity runs like an underground river through history – across ages and across continents: From the Danish Golden Age with its romantic view of the world; via Japanese culture that for a thousand years has known about the impossibility of seeing everything clearly at once; all the way back to Pliny the Elder (23-79 AD) who in his encyclopaedia Naturalis Historia gathered the entire world’s knowledge, from botany, zoology and astronomy to art history, psychology and gardening, in one perspective. The new in Bohr’s thinking was that he was the first to identify and name the complementarity perspective, and the first to prove its validity in the micro world. In my perspective that is amazing: With one stroke, Bohr’s perspective changed the history of Europe, challenged the classical philosophies, and effectively questioned the Renaissance’s paradigm of reason.

Asger Jorn Niels Bohr spent the rest of his life on the philosophical questions of the complementarity perspective. In talks, in correspondences, in public discussions and in articles we see Bohr constantly in conversation with other scientists trying to further develop the concept of complementarity. But it will take a letter from an unexpected source before the understanding of complementarity is truly advanced again. In the spring of 1951, the Danish artist Asger Jorn (1914-73), from his home in the Danish town Silkeborg, writes a short letter to Niels Bohr. With the letter Jorn encloses the first draft of his book The Order of Nature (Naturens Orden), which 11 years later will become Jorn’s main treatise on the understanding of art and the naïve worldview of modern science. In the letter Jorn asks Bohr for advice. Jorn would like to know if he is correct in applying Bohr’s complementarity perspective outside of the micro world of physics – in the macro world. Bohr’s perspective, writes Jorn, aligns with what Jorn himself has experienced through his work in art. In Jorn’s view, however, Bohr’s perspective on a two-way complementarity lacks a third dimension: The aesthetic. Hence, according to Jorn, it is not enough to talk about dual complementarity; complementary must be a three-way split: Triolectics. It is this perspective which later has become known as Jorn’s Silkeborg

Interpretation. Niels Bohr never answers Jorn. Perhaps because he could not decipher Jorn’s erratic handwriting. But perhaps also because Jorn’s artistic and aesthetic perspective really was too alien for the aging scientist, for whom the idea of complementarity in the macro world must have been unimaginable. But if Bohr (and Jorn) had only glanced out their windows, they could have seen in practice that the complementarity perspective indeed was applicable in the macro world. This had already been proven by the Danish gardener and landscape architect G.N. Brandt.

G.N. Brandt G.N. Brandt (1878-1945) proves the complementarity perspective in theory, with his book from 1917, Water and Rockery Plants (Vand- og Stenhøjsplanter), as well as in practice, with his Own Garden (laid out from 1914 onwards). Through his work as a gardener and a scholar of nature, Brandt unknowingly discovers that architecture (just like light, with its wave/ particle duality) in its essence consists of two complimentary entities: The Built Environment (buildings, structures, constructions) and The Grown Environment (plants, trees, nature). These two entities are at the same time mutually exclusive and mutually interdependent. The built and the grown are mutually exclusive because they are two radically different ways of looking at and working with architecture: It is the structures of constructions opposite the systems of nature; the hierarchical subdivisions of buildings opposite the non-hierarchical order of the garden; the dead building materials of bricks and mortar opposite the living matter of plants and trees; the finality of a finished house opposite the ever-changing process of a landscape. You simply cannot apply the one perspective, the one method on the other. But the built and the grown are also mutually interdependent: Brandt knows that it is only by ensuring that both entities are given equal value, equal validity that architecture can appear in all its force as a complete description. In his work, Brandt for the first time combines the two complementary entities of architecture. Not by subjugating the built environment to the grown; but by using the built and the grown as equal entities – each in their own right – in his designs. It is fascinating to see Brandt (who obviously at that time knew nothing of Niels Bohr’s complementarity perspective) working with exactly the same issues in his garden and in his theory, that Bohr is dealing with in the world of quantum physics: The clear vs. the (intentionally) unclear, the impor-


tance of the individual perspective, the need for the complete description of a phenomenon (rather than just the one part of the complementarity duality), etc. I see Brandt’s discovery as one of the most revolutionary and most fundamental revelations that has been made about architecture in the last 100 years: Without knowing it, Brandt had proven that architecture too in its essence is complementary. Architecture is not just the built environment: The built environment constitutes only half of the complete essence of architecture. The other half, the grown matter, must be seen as equally important, equally essential. Architecture is both the built and the grown. Only by acknowledging this can we achieve the full understanding of architecture.

The Venice Interpretation It is against this background of historical fundamentals that the Danish pavilion, as well as my own architectural practice over the past 20 years, rests. As with all things in the world, my use of these historical fundamentals is complementary: Some things I agree with, other things I disagree with. Here, my sampled considerations, my theoretical reflections as well as my practical methods are gathered in a comprehensive perspective on architecture. This perspective I call The Venice Interpretation. The Venice Interpretation is a personal reflection on the possibility of architecture, the essence of modernity, and the possible future we can create for ourselves if we remember and recognize the fundamental complementarity of our world. The Venice Interpretation is not the truth. But a perspective. My perspective. The Venice Interpretation can be summarized in five equal perspectives: The perspective on complementarity The principle of complementarity is essential, and applies both to the micro world and to macro world. Bohr was right when he spoke of the necessity of seeing both aspects, both sides, of a given phenomenon to achieve the complete understanding. But he was wrong when he insisted that this only applies to the micro world. As Jorn and Brandt has shown, the complementarity perspective is universal and thus also applies in the macro world. Jorn was right in this aspect of his criticism of Bohr. But Jorn was wrong in his idea about triolectics, when he tried to define the aesthetic as something outside complementarity. Aesthetics is not outside rationality – it is its complementary opposite.

Rather than invent new triple complementarities, we should instead redefine the dual complementarity pairs. In my view, the most basic complementarity is the aesthetic and the rational. Only by including both perspectives, the aesthetic, the sensuous and the sensed, as well as the rational, the sensible and the scientific, can we arrive at the full understanding of all phenomena. The perspective on the empowerment of aesthetics For too long the rational has dominated our world and the way we make decisions. This is not a criticism or a rejection of the rational, which, as we have seen, is one of the two essential aspects of my complementarity perspective. The problem is that we have forgotten the other important aspect that is complementary to it: The aesthetic. As in the Golden Age, we need a reinstatement of the force and the value of aesthetics as the path to recognition, to knowledge to action. We must rediscover our belief in the power of aesthetics as equally important as the rational when we determine how we want our world to be in the future. Only the two together, the rational and the aesthetic, can provide us with a complete understanding of the world to base our decisions on. The perspective on the built and the grown environment As Brandt showed in his work, architecture consists of a dual complementarity between the built environment as opposed to the grown environment; of the dead, abiotic matter as opposed to the living, the biotic matter; the buildings, the structures and the constructions as opposed to organic systems, plants and trees. The built and the grown environments are complementary: They are two fundamentally different ways of working with architecture. Ever since Euclid’s treatise Elements from 300 BC, traditional architects have treated the grown environment the same way as they did the built environment: The architects believed that they could just transfer the order of the built environment onto the grown. And that nature would be tamed.


But the architects were wrong. The built and the grown environments are not the same and therefore cannot be treated in the same way. The grown environment has its own order: The order of nature. Only by understanding that the built and the grown environment are complementary with same and equal value – that they simultaneously require each their own order, while they both are necessary for the other’s full understanding – can architecture redeem its full, amazing and quantum leaping nature. The perspective on unity and division The essential difference between the grown and the built environment is most evident in the relationship between unity and entirety. The built environment is about entireties. These entireties are then subdivided into smaller units and ranked and placed in a structure based on a certain hierarchy. An example could be a house whose entirety is subdivided into rooms, which are then hierarchically structured according to their importance (since the main hall is seen as more important than, say, the closet, then the main hall’s design is more central and important and defining to the overall design of the house than the closet). The aim is to create the perfect built structure; the perfect man-made order. The grown environment, however, does not look at entireties, but at unities; not at subdivisions, but divisions; not at structures, but at systems; not at hierarchy, but at the non-hierarchical; not at perfection, but at imperfection. An example could be a garden whose overall unity is divided into a system of smaller units that all have equal importance and that all in their essence are equivalent to the nature of the overall unity. So while we in the built environment may well talk about the most important room in a house, this makes no sense in the grown environment that is organized according to the order of nature. Which is more important to nature: The cicadas or the lemon trees? The scent or the sound? The question is meaningless because it misunderstands the order of nature and the order of the grown.


GROWTH Together we grow and build the future

“For decades, we have convinced each other that we can build for growth. The result is that we have become a nation where the cities win and the rural areas lose. We have overlooked the fact that the quality of living in the so-called peripheral Denmark is the proximity to nature, which provides an essential quality of life that urban growth cannot match.” Stig L. Andersson

With the Exhibition ‘Growth’ we aimed to inspire a discussion about how we as citizens, planners, and politicians can rethink both the city and rural areas as the focal points of new economic, social and cultural growth. As such, the exhibition was conceived as a stepping stone for the development of a the future architectural policy in Northern Jutland. For this particular discussion we wanted to institute a holistic view of society, in which rural areas and cities are each seen to posses their particular quality of life, and in which the grown and the built environment are not opposites, but complement one another. The exhibition showed how they as coexistent entities — expressed as nature and construction respectively — can create improved quality of life both in the city and in the country. By referring to specific examples, the exhibition also documented the grown and the built as the self-organized and the planned respectively, and it was shown how it is precisely in the tension between the two, that entirely new possibilities arise for establishing new types of locally rooted communities and new sustainable business models, both in the city and the country. The exhibition was not intended as a key to new solutions, but rather as inspiration for how we can grow and build the future together. Location: Utzon Center, Aalborg, North Jutland


Exhibition Period: October 2015 - February 2016 Collaborators: Utzon Center, The Municipality of Aalborg, enthusiasts and professionals from North Jutland Support: Realdania and City and Landscape Management, Aalborg Municipality

The following text was published as part of SLA’s exhibition ‘Growth’ at Utzon Center Aaalborg, 2015-2016.

In Search of a New Age When I was a little boy, playing on the beach, my friends and I collected stones along the coast. We found strangely formed flint with nuances of dark, greyish and white tones. The flints awakened our interest in knowing more about the world’s relationships. About natural processes in the late cretaceous, and the catastrophic meteor strike that wiped the slate clean and made room for a new age, in which mammals and humans could become what they are today. The flints were important testimony to this historical development, and they were therefore categorised in cardboard boxes and given labels. I still have several of the stones. And I have taken my interest in investigating the relationships with me in my work as an architect. The fact that we at SLA create meaning and new insight into the world is what gets me out of bed in the morning. For it is far from unlikely that we today are once more on the cusp of a new age, with entirely new living conditions. The exhibition you are standing in is based on the following belief: We can create a new meaning of life in Northern Jutland if we understand the importance of the grown environment in the development of the cities and rural areas of the future. The grown is first and foremost nature, which is the basis of our existence; but the grown is also the creative force, which nature inspires us humans to set free, when we allow ourselves to come into contact with natural resources. The modernisation of society has altered our view of nature. The commonly held view in society seems to be that nature no longer demands respect, and for this reason we have lost contact with it. We no longer think that we as human beings are part of nature. We deny nature, and merely use it as a resource for creating our culturally-based prosperity. This is a conviction which has only existed for a brief moment in the historical development of humankind. But we are nevertheless witnessing a development, which has destabilised the order of nature over the last 50-70 years. Not just here in Denmark, but all around the world. In 40 years the number of birds has been halved, and half of all life in the oceans has disappeared.


We have created our own life-threatening “meteor strike”. And if we want to turn this development around and make sure that our children can in the future breathe a clean atmosphere, we are compelled to shift our focus from a growth economy to a growth of nature. In this exhibition we want to draw attention to some of the phenomena which we can still experience as things that affect us, and which touch something inside each of us. Something aesthetic, which concerns the sensing of things, which awakens the dormant love of nature. It is not more than a generation ago that our view of nature was based on a love of nature, its processes and the aesthetic sense. This feeling, this aesthetic feeling for nature, is the Sleeping Beauty we hope to awaken. Once we realise that we are dependent on nature as something other than a resource for material prosperity, and at the same time acknowledge that it isn’t dependent on us, but we on it, there will be hope for a new life. If, on the other hand, we continue the exploitation and denial of nature and its importance for us, children and youngsters will not have the opportunity to experience nature and its processes, and will therefore not understand the relationship to natural phenomena such as butterflies, birdsong, and the growth of trees. If they do not have this understanding, they will not see the importance of nature, they will not understand the world’s relationships, and neither will they therefore understand the importance of changing our course. We have made an exhibition, which gives the child and the youngster in all of us food for thought, and the insight that taking action makes a difference. Furthermore, that it makes sense to create something together with other people — and not simply leave society’s institutionalised welfare bodies to take the initiative. To grow and build the future together is about we ourselves — at the edge of all that which is falling to pieces — creating the conditions for the life we wish to lead. Stig L. Andersson Curator

Climate Adaptation & Urban Nature A Copenhagen Model based on co-creation and ecosystem services

How can urban nature set the direction for a city’s climate adaptation plan? What will happen when the built and the grown environment meet to create a whole new city?

The city of Copenhagen chose SLA to facilitate an interdisciplinary think tank to discuss and define Copenhagen’s green identity and climate adaptation plan based on urban nature. The think tank included experts from different fields such as biology, biodiversity, urban ecosystems, rainwater management, behavioral design and citizen involvement. As a result of the think tank, we developed the Copenhagen Model that sets a common direction on how to use nature based climate adaptation as a frame for Copenhagen’s overall cloudburst plan. As such, the Copenhagen Model works as a concrete development tool that promotes and qualifies the decision-making process in all phases of a project, which ensures that urban nature’s potential is realized within the framework of the individual climate adaptation project. We handed over the think tank’s work to the Mayor of the Technical and Environmental Affairs in the form of a so-called Development Catalogue that included specific recommendations for the administration. Service:Facilitation of think tank and production of development catalogue including the Copenhagen Model and recommendations for the administration Type: Facilitation, research and policymaking Client: The Municipality of Copenhagen, The Technical and Environmental Administration Period: 2015-2016 Collaborators: Mike Ameko Lippert & Signe Bjerregaard



The following is an excerpt from the development catalogue ‘Climate Adaptation & Urban Nature’, prepared by SLA in collaboration with The Technical and Environmental Administration, The Municipality of Copenhagen.

We need nature

And therefore we need urban nature.

Urban nature is not just nature in urban areas. It is not a greenification of urban spaces or nature on the built environment’s terms. Urban nature is a concept that gives life in the city a whole new meaning: Where Copenhageners experience that the city works better in practice, while at the same time experiencing the aesthetic nature feeling that us humans lost contact with when we moved from the countryside to the city. As the city becomes denser, the aesthetic nature feeling offers a way of fundamentally improving quality of life. Nature makes us physically healthy; it cleanses the soul and makes us happier. It provides sensory experiences that enhance our creativity and gives us the desire to create something together with others. It gives us a strong sense of belonging to particular places, and to the city as a whole. It stimulates our ability to learn. It also reminds us that nature is the very basis of our existence and that we are a part of a greater context. We refer to this particular characteristic of nature as its amenity value.




There are many people today who grow up in the city – they are born, live, love, work and die in Copenhagen. Entire generations are now primarily living their lives in the city, which places high demands on its layout. The city must make sense - both emotionally and practically – we should be able to get around easily, feel safe, work, go to school and just be and enjoy ourselves.


People need nature



We need nature in Copenhagen. And, the city of the future must be able to meet our human need for proximity to nature and be able to withstand climate change and environmental challenges.





1. Copenhagen’s green identity is urban nature


Ecosystem services are the services that ecosystems provide to society and the individual’s quality of life. In Copenhagen, urban nature’s amenity value will be linked to five cultural services.

The city needs nature Copenhagen is growing in density, and an increasing number of Copenhageners perceive pollution as one of the biggest problems linked with life in the city – much more than the impact of the new climate. There is therefore a growing need for wise urban planning so that the city can self-purify the air, water and soil, while managing rainwater, regulating temperatures etc.

And therefore the city needs urban nature.

Urban nature has a practical function that helps create a better basis for our life in the city. With the help of nature’s ecosystem services, the city can alleviate climate and environmental challenges, while improving the city’s economical and social sustainability. Urban nature’s overall growth condition is an important prerequisite for the ecosystem services. This also includes biodiversity, which regulates the ecosystem processes. We refer to this particular characteristic of nature as its utility value.










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In Copenhagen, the city nature’s utility value is linked to seven regulating and supporting services.

2. The Copenhagen Model brings climate adaptation and urban nature together in a new practice The Copenhagen Model brings climate adaptation and urban nature together in a new urban development practice. Nature’s processes and the aesthetic nature feeling are used to develop the city’s new quality of life, while the city climate adapts at the same time. The idea is that the City of Copenhagen uses the model as the starting point for all activities relating to the development and realisation of future urban nature in general, and urban nature based climate adaptation projects in particular. The model is to be used as a dialogue and prioritisation tool from the moment of conception until the project is adopted and operational. This includes the budget memorandum, political recommendation, programming, procurement, planning, execution and evaluation of the project. Thus, the model helps to ensure a common language and direction for urban nature as a starting point for climate adaptation. Nature based urban development

Urban nature is at the heart of Copenhagen’s future green identity Climate change and extreme rainfall pose a major challenge today, due to the volume of rain that ends in urban spaces. By making room for more urban nature, we do not only achieve better rainwater management, but also better climate adaptation and a more environmentally friendly city. Moreover, we can have a city that provides an enhanced contribution to biodiversity, while significantly increasing its amenity value. Therefore, urban nature is at the heart of the city’s future green identity. An identity that is created from a new understanding of nature in the city, which also enhances Copenhageners’ quality of life. In 20 years from now, urban nature will be the GREEN in the city that mediates between the built and the grown environment, and thus urban nature will at once become the art of living life, with everything we long for out in nature and everything that gives us an environmentally friendly and climate adapted city. In this way, urban nature is the obvious choice as the next great Copenhagen story.


Ecosystem services are the services that ecosystems provide to society and the individual’s quality of life. The Copenhagen Model for Climate Adaptation & Urban Nature comprises a series of cultural, regulatory and supply services that are described individually in section 6 and 7. The Copenhagen Model is inspired by the ecosystem services way of thinking by adapting to a new vision that clearly distinguishes between urban nature’s amenity value and utility value, while conveying that both principles are equally incorporated in future projects. Biodiversity needs the city Biodiversity is the diversity of nature. The term biodiversity refers to a variety of life. That is, the variety of species, the genetic variation among species and the variation of ecosystems. Biodiversity contributes significantly to amenity value, since it relates to the aesthetic nature feeling through fertile and varied expressions and a multiplicity of species. Copenhagen aims to increase the number of projects that reinforce biodiversity (Strategy for urban nature, 2015). Biodiversity should therefore be promoted in the 300 climate adaptation projects wherever possible. Moreover, it would be fitting to describe which initiatives for biodiversity each project can contribute to in future urban nature based climate adaptation projects. Biodiversity can sometimes be enhanced in synergy with ecosystem services, while on other occasions it clashes with the services. Therefore, biodiversity benefits from being prioritised in relation to ecosystem services when projects are developed using The Copenhagen Model as their starting point.





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N The Copenhagen Model for Climate Adaptation & Urban Nature 1.0

Copenhagen as a climate conscious and biodiverse city

From consumers to co-creators

With focus on biodiversity, Copenhagen can demonstrate that it is a responsible city that makes room for the unfolding of life, while defending the intrinsic value of nature. This will be a strong signal to send to the world – that Copenhagen is able to address both climate change and the biodiversity crisis with the help of urban nature.

The relationship between Copenhageners and city is already changing in many areas. More and more Copenhageners are already aware that they will be co-creators of the city, because it is where people live their lives, and because it makes the most sense for everyday life, if you feel a strong attachment to your city, your neighbourhood, your street and your neighbours. In accordance with this, a new awareness of the amenity value of the dense city’s green areas has arisen, including both recreational areas and adjacent natural areas, just as there is a desire to cultivate the city and create local grown environments and sustainable communities with other Copenhageners.

3. Copenhageners are the co-creators of future urban nature Urban nature as the new Copenhagen story only really makes sense to Copenhageners if it involves their commitment and active participation in the creation of future urban nature. Copenhageners must also be prepared to acknowledge the aesthetic nature feeling found in the city’s comfortable urbanity. This is essential in order to achieve a balance between the built and the grown environment. Copenhageners must not only refine their concept of nature, they must also refine their concept of what life in the city entails.




Copenhagen has momentum Copenhageners are ready to embrace urban nature and create their new city together with their fellow citizens. This momentum in urban nature and co-creation among Copenhageners can be utilised fully in connection with the 300 climate adaptation projects, if there is also focus on the development of a new practice where the municipal administration and locals can co-create the city’s grown environment. Copenhageners will be involved before, during and after the realisation of the projects, where they especially should assume the role as central stakeholders in maintenance initiatives. The administration must facilitate the engagement of Copenhageners, so that the city’s grown environment is promoted for everyone’s benefit.

4. Administration processes to be modified in line with managing the grown environment

5. Urban nature as the starting point for climate adaptation will change Copenhagen

The methods used to develop and implement grown environments are not the same as the ones used to create built environments. Urban nature requires new systems for supply and operation that support nature with both a high amenity value and a high utility value. Unlike the built environment, the grown environment changes constantly and therefore it is important to allow room for development over time when establishing a whole new type of urban nature. Copenhagen’s future urban nature would be developed most optimally with a holistic way of thinking, where everyone involved in concrete projects – from idea development, to selection of consultants and subsequent operations etc. – works with a comprehensive approach to design, planning, construction and care.

Copenhagen faces a historical change, which we have not seen the likes of since the mid-nineteenth century, where the city gates fell and use of the ramparts was discontinued. With urban nature as the starting point, the 300 climate adaptation projects will create a new version of Copenhagen over the next 20 years. There won’t just be more nature or better nature – the changes will have a positive impact on the city’s structure and identity. In the long term, this will result in Copenhagen being enriched culturally and economically.

Lighthouse projects and long-term partnerships Construction and operation must be tackled in a cohesive manner over a 10 year period. Consultants and contractors should enter into a long-term partnership and be included in the development of projects at an earlier stage. The window for innovative thinking must be kept open for several years and there must be room for above ground solutions to develop over time. The success criterion is that the projects will contribute to informing the administration, consultants and Copenhageners about urban nature in general and urban nature based climate adaptation in particular. Experiments and systematic knowledge accumulation It must be possible to test new practices in individual projects, so as to develop new knowledge about how to create urban nature that is robust enough to withstand both floods and drought. It should also be possible to achieve, in dialogue with environmental and health authorities, new standards within for example rainwater use and recreation in climate adaptation projects. The conversation about the city’s new nature must be kept alive The administration should establish an interdisciplinary urban nature forum where stakeholders such as supply companies, consultants, contractors, and researchers can meet with the Technical and Environmental Administration and Copenhageners in order to share knowledge and develop a common understanding of urban nature based climate adaptation. Alongside this, it is equally important that the administration considers adjustments of operating practices and communication practices for example, on an ongoing basis.


The city and neighbourhood identity will be strengthened On a municipal level, several projects should be put out to tender together as a holistic approach with the purpose of strengthening Copenhagen’s architectural, social and cultural character in interplay with the existing natural heritage. In order to set the framework for design, the outline proposal will be developed in the first instance; hereafter a project proposal will be developed in close and ongoing dialogue with Copenhageners. Joint tenders will reach across typologies, such as green roads, detention areas and roads, as well as stormwater roads. Societal gain Urban nature can provide significant branding value for Copenhagen businesses where quality of life is a priority. In addition, land prices and rental prices increase when nature is a visible part of the surroundings. Copenhagen will gain new expertise within urban life quality, which we will be known for in the world. And, we will be able to share our experiences with the many cities in the world that strive to create improved quality of life for its residents. A more complete city emerges Urban nature will bind Copenhageners together in new relations and will create a prerequisite for the city dweller to be reunited with nature. Copenhagen language evolves and the conversation is enriched with new experiences from our everyday lives in the city. We suddenly realise that everything – biking, listening to the birds, clean water, reducing particle pollution and swimming in the harbour, the dead trees in the parks, housing, outdoor spaces and cars, jogging and shopping culture – are linked together and ARE the city. The built environment will be enriched by the introduction of the grown environment. City life will become more complete. Collaboration allows ambitions to grow We must, as the administration, consultants and Copenhageners, jointly strive to think with the future in mind, with regards to each one of the future 300 climate adaptation projects. And we must endeavour to develop solutions in close dialogue with private landowners, neighbours, businesses, supply companies, neighbouring municipalities and the City of Copenhagen’s other administrations.

The City of a Billion Pines Creating a common understanding of how city nature impacts life quality

“The grown is first and foremost nature, which is the basis of our existence; but the grown is also the creative force, which nature inspires us humans to set free, when we allow ourselves to come into contact with natural phenomena. This is a truth well known to Chinese painters of the Five Dynasties and Ten Kingdoms period in Northern China. For them the pine trees signified the ‘moral character of the virtuous man’. Today, we need to recapture every breath of this wisdom, carried out through 1000 years of accumulated Chinese culture, in order to recreate a deep and proficient relationship between humans and nature. Not an easy task, but nevertheless imperative, if we want to achieve true sustainable welfare within the boundaries of the cities of today and tomorrow. In my view, Beijing is the obvious place to initiate the conversation on how to do it.” Stig L. Andersson

The City of a Billion Pines presented a nature-based vision for Beijing’s future development. The exhibition showed what happens when city and nature come together to create an entirely new type of city, and creates a concrete understanding of what a city can be when nature becomes a complementary part to the built environment. Thus, a complete city. The installation, an indoor pine forest, was both a prototype of a nature-based urban space and a platform for a symposium with urbanists, artists, engineers, journalists, NGOs etc. to discuss how nature-based design solutions can impact the future life quality of our cities. Subsequently, the trees were planted in the city in collaboration with Beijing Forestry University, and the project lives on as an inspiration for future generations of landscape architects. Location: Danish Cultural Center, 798 Art Zone, Beijing Exhibition period: June - July 2016 Collaborators: Danish Cultural Institute, Beijing Forestry University, Supertusch, Mike Ameko Lippert & Britt Engelhardt Gundersen Support: Realdania


The following text was published as part of SLA’s exhibition ‘The City of a Billion Pines’ at The Danish Cultural Center, Beijing, 2016.

The Era of City Humans The urbanisation of our planet reached a milestone in 2007.1 For the first time in the history of man, the number of people living in cities equalled the number living in rural areas. While in 1900, only 10% of the world population lived in cities, comparatively 70% of the world population will be living in cities in 2050. The number and magnitude of cities will grow in the future. The 20th century vision of the city as a machine has proved fatal for our well-being. Metropolises have since their rise in the 19th century given us City and nature have increasingly become sepatremendous opportunities to enhance material welfare, but we have rate entities, because urban planners have simply also lost our connection to the very nature that has been the basis of been more occupied with the built environment our existence for millions of years. than the grown environment. Our behaviour has also contributed to nature changing gradually, for instance through climate change that continues Urbanisation has transformed our living conditions fundamentally. to place increasing demands on the design our It is a fact that our children will be the first generation of Homo sapiens cities. to be born, grow up and die in cities. An urban generation whose collective There is a need for a new sustainable practice existential question will be whether we can in reality live without a for the development of cities, which on the one relation to nature. hand restores the connection between nature and people, and on the other hand develops cities as resilient and sustainable systems. Therefore, we have to reinstitute nature as a prerequisite for our common well-being.

City Nature as a New Practice City Nature is not a dream about having more greenery in the city, no more than it is the conceptualisation of nature in urban surroundings. City Nature is a new practice that will connect urban man with the order of nature, and will at the same time connect the cities with nature’s processes. The vision for City Nature is new sustainable welfare with a global impact. No more, no less. Our generation needs to institute nature as the foundation of life quality that both satisfies man’s fundamental need to experience the aesthetic sense of nature and the city’s need to withstand man-made challenges such as climate change and a decrease in biodiversity. City Nature also suggests how we can create actual sustainable growth, including how we can design our cities so that there is room for both people and cars, private and public interests. And not least, how it will be possible for citizens to become co-creators of the city and thus become part of new and meaningful communities. Nature is inclusive and the aesthetic sense of nature unleashes On the whole, City Nature is the precondition creative thinking in all people. Nature is thus an ideal physical frame for implementing a global green transformation, for the development of new localised communities in the city. because nature prompts the mobilisation of civil society and the desire to co-create. And with the aesthetic sense of nature at the helm, hope is created, which is a much more lasting motivating A city that feels and functions as a forest is a model for our time, force for future society than the fear that everyas we imagine cities that both makes us happy and protect us thing is going to the dogs. from harm.



United Nations Department of Economic and Social Affairs, 2006-2007.

”Modernity has contributed to the cities of the planet being filled with cars. Nature has been disregarded and the consequences of climate change have really begun to threaten our well-being. Our agenda is to solve the problems of modernity while creating a better life for people who live in the city their entire lives – and without throwing all the cars out. Instead, we will make room for all of the city’s complimentary elements, including nature and hereby create a more complete city, a more comprehensive architecture.” Stig L. Andersson Founding Partner and Professor



Novo Nordisk nature park Bjørvika - Oslo Harbor Nykredit

From grey industry to green community

As the walls of water switch on and off depending on the New neighborhoods are often built according to plans wind they create varying images and expressions which in which urban spaces occurs as gaps between the catch the attention of curious bypassers and buildings. In Bjørvika Harbour, Oslo’s largest urban encourage them to pause, wonder, breathe and sense development project, the planning is happening the other way around.

In Denmark the sun only shines for one third of the year. Therefore, the citizens of Copenhagen ought to all kinds of weather, light, SLA windwon andthe rainfirst as attractive events. plan of In experience an international competition in 2005 prize withsensuous the development ”CLOUD” theconnecting, building ”CRYSTAL” in anSLA’s urbanproposal space which changes Service: Masterplan and design of sevenThe landscape the harbor of Oslocomplements and seven new urban spaces. connects downexpression weather citizens,where intrigued by the water andvisually the townwith Oslothe with the bayand andattracts createscurious a new district the city andpurling the water unite urban spaces water reflections of hastely passing peoplehas andalready the architecture of theand surroundings. and physically. The new waterfront created a great vibrant urban life and a Location: Oslo, Norway clear, cultural identity to the city. Bjørvika is one of SLA’s longest running projects, with more Type: Urban space urban spaces being designed and constructed in the years to come. Client: Bjørvika Infrastruktur A/S Design period: 2004-07 Realization: 2007-2017 Area: 500,000 m2 Collaborators: Gehl Architects (masterplan)


Reinvent Paris City Nature in three dimensions

New green attractions at street level and 5,000 m2 urban life and city nature lifted high above Paris’ facades and roofs ties the city together with its suburbs and adds a whole new dimension to living and working in Paris.

Service: Design of urban space, green roofs and green facades Location: Ternes in Paris, France Type: Urban space and green building Client: BNP Paribas Real Estate Design period: 2015 Realizaion: 2016-(ongoing) Area: 5,000 m2 Collaborators: Jacques Ferrier Architectures and Chartier Dalix (building architects)


In the project Ternes-Villiers, our winning project in the international mega competition Reinventer Paris, we put a 5,000 m2 urban roof deck across the Boulevard Peripherique – the big ring road that circles the whole of Paris. Combining city nature-based ecosystem services, fully climate-adapted urban spaces and new social meeting places with underground parking, pedestrian-friendly connections and large roof terraces, which among other things will house a tea plantation, we work with city nature and urban life as complete ecosystems and creates brand new urban experiences and green contexts in an otherwise grey and traffic-congested part of Paris.


Mudgarden Celebrating Chinese history with rain, light and soil

The Yellow Mud Garden is a homage and a reminder to the Chinese people of its heritage from the Yellow River that 3,000 years ago formed the Chinese civilization through the use of pottery, building material and art.

Service: Design of master garden Location: Xian, China Type: Public exhibition garden Client: The Xian International Horticultural Exhibition Design period: 2010 Realization: 2011 Area: 1,000 m2 Cost 500.000 DKK


For the 2011 Xian International Horticultural Exhibition, SLA was invited as one of ten international master landscape architects to create a series of temporary exhibition gardens. For the exhibition, SLA created the Yellow Mud Garden, drawing inspiration from the very foundation of the Chinese culture: The Yellow River. Using large figures of clay, mud of all colors, a reproduction of the original plantation of the area and a cross-cultural and socially inclusive nature design, we created a distinct public park that could not be placed anywhere else in the world but in Xian – near the Yellow River.

The Anchor Park The green and the blue

As the walls ofAnchor water switch onaand depending on the The Park is newoff type of urban park wind –they create varying expressions which a hydroglyph park.images A parkand where water is the central catch the curious bypassers and meeting element of attention the urbanof development and a social encourageplace themfor to the pause, wonder, breathe sense area’s residents andand visitors.

In Denmark the sun only shines for one third of the year. Therefore, the citizens of Copenhagen ought to experience all kinds of weather, light, wind and rain as attractive sensuous events. The Anchor Park in Malmö, Sweden, transforms a former industrial harbor, Västra Hamnen, The landscape ”CLOUD” complements the building ”CRYSTAL” in an urban space which changes into a lush, attractive public park for the district’s new residents and visitors. Combined with Service: Design of urban water park expression with the weather and attracts curious citizens, intrigued by the purling water and the a wide range of Swedish nature biotopes, the park offers unique sensuous experiences and Location: Malmö, Sweden water reflections of hastely passing people and the architecture of the surroundings. intensifies the experience of the changing seasons. The park’s vegetation is complex and Type: Public Park composite – an opportunity to experience and learn about Swedish biotopes in the middle of Client: Malmö City the city. All rainwater is collected and reused to accentuate the changeability of nature. Design period: 2000 Realization: 2001 Area: 89,000 m2 Collaborators: Hansen & Henneberg (engineers)


DUBAI SUSTAINABLE SCHOOL A new connection between indoor and outdoor in arid climates

Natural cooling, diverse greenery and shaded outdoor spaces. These are the natural design parameters which ensure a pleasant climate for all activities in Dubai’s new Sustainable School.

Service: Landscape design and climate adaptation Location: Sustainable City, Dubai, UAE Type: Educational and public space Client: Diamond Developers Design Period: 2015-2017 Realization: 2019 Area: 10.000 m2 Collaborators: CEBRA and ACT NOW


The Sustainable School is located in Dubai’s Sustainable City and aims at rethinking teaching and learning environments in a sustainable way. By creating an alternative to the often very dense and air-conditioned school buildings that are predominant in hot climates the students are encouraged to stay and learn as much outside as inside. The school takes advantage of the warm climate and moves many of its functions away from artificially air-conditioned rooms and out in a naturally cooled environment. At the school the students go directly from the classrooms into open learning landscapes with diverse greenery, cooling wind towers and shaded outdoor spaces, which ensure a pleasant climate for all school activities. The students actively contribute to the green landscape by growing their own gardens and crops. The transition between landscape, school and city creates a diverse learning environment, in which the students gain hands-on experience with sustainability, technology and biodiversity in the context of the surrounding city and society – a school that reflects the outside world inside the school.

Fredericia C From temporary nature to contemporary urban development

Nature comes before buildings in the development of the new Fredericia C neighbourhood. Learning from nature, a new form of sustainable and adaptable city is created.

Service: Urban design and strategy Location: Fredericia, Denmark Client: Realdania Type: Temporary nature, landscape strategy Design period: 2009-2010 Realization: 2010Area: 14 ha


How do you regenerate a desolate harbor area filled with industry and pollution into a thriving new neighbourhood? That was the challenge we faced when we were hired to develop Frederica’s central harbor. We solved it by creating a temporary nature and landscape strategy that would provide the future development with green amenity and utility values. The concept of the temporary nature was to establish a robust framework consisting of temporary pavings, movable nature, lighting and pollution-cleaning trees. The framework was then filled with activities such as playgrounds, ballparks, and recreational spots, all selected through an extensive citizens’ involvement process. By being robust and temporary, the temporary nature is able to constantly change and adapt to the use and needs of the citizens; but it also acts as a 1:1 lab for the new ‘permanent’ development. Thus, the new neighbourhood will be planned and built on the positive experiences, strategies and green investments learned from the temporary nature. As such, the temporary nature will become a contemporary urban development process, achieving a gradual green transformation of the area with all the qualities of the temporary qualities maintained while creating value for its citizens from day one. The final result is a truly resilient and climate adaptable neighbourhood which will set an example for future urban regeneration projects.

St. Kjeld’s Square & Bryggervangen The cornerstone of Copenhagen’s climate adaptation projects

St. Kjeld’s Square and Bryggervangen is about all the extra benefits we get from climate adaptation: The blue, the green, the health, the active and the social. In short: All what makes life in the city worth living.

Service: Urban space design Location: Copenhagen, Denmark Type: Urban space Client: The Municipality of Copenhagen Design period: 2015 Realization: 2016-(ongoing) Area: 34,900 m2 Collaborators: Alectia (engineers)


The climate adaption project St. Kjeld’s Plads and Bryggervangen creates a distinctive urban nature that learns from and uses characteristic Copenhagen biotopes in the design of the stormwater solutions. The result is a city nature that is both aesthetic and functional with maximum biodiversity and sustainability, combining the green and the blue, climate adaptation and story-telling, atmosphere and citizen engagement, and improving both wild life and city life. A city nature that gives the citizens of Copenhagen a strong, aesthetic nature feeling right on their doorstep.


“The grown is first and foremost nature, which is the basis of our existence; but the grown is also the creative force, which nature inspires us humans to set free, when we allow ourselves to come into contact with natural resources.� Stig L. Andersson Founding Partner and Professor


“What makes me get up in the morning is that we are going to bring meaning and new insights into the world.” Stig L. Andersson Founding Partner and Professor

Stig L. Andersson in the SLA book library. More than 5.000 rare book titles, including books on japanese gardens and philosophy, botany and vegetation, fungus and biodiversity, quantum mechanics and art history. Together with SLA’s extensive material library, this is where most of SLA’s projects begin.


SLA is driven by a genuine desire to understand and change the world. Here is an ambition that can be seen and felt in everything we do - yes, it is even personified in our founder Stig L. Andersson and his steadfast insistence to find the meaning of life, art and science. It is therefore also quite natural that we are constantly seeking for new insights and for new ways of doing things at SLA. And this strengthens

not only us but also our colleagues and collaborators.


SLAs has for more than 20 years gathered a collection af nature’s materials: Rocks, stone, sand, wood, seeds and much more.


Above: We are personally handpicking all our trees. This ensures that each tree will have a maximum of functional and aesthetic value. Left: Elements such as soil quality, micro climate, sun/ shade ratio and social context are meticulously studied in each project.


Nature as a launch pad

Nature is the focal point of everything we develop, draw and think at SLA. Because the order of nature is the starting point of how we organize our world and for how we create the framework in which life can unfold fully. We also prefer working with that which grows. Because it is the living that constitutes our very foundation. That which is constantly changing. Architecture, master planning, urban spaces and landscapes are just some of the means that we use to put nature’s processes into play.

But having said that, it is also important to us that what we create in collaboration with our customers and users also have a utility and an amenity value.



What distinguishes us from our colleagues is our fundamental approach that nature’s grown environment and the constructed and built environment differ from one another. Although they are not comparable they are complementary. And to us they together constitute a holistic architecture. The complementary approach is not easy to grasp and we too struggle with this on a daily basis.

We always ask ourselves how nature would have done it. And the answer is almost always found in an entirely different place than any of us had anticipated. This makes thinking across disciplines central to our processes.


Architecture models are made in different materials to properly convey the aesthetic feeling of nature. Here the Anchor Park in wood (p.78).



At SLA we emphasize the personal qualities of ethic and integrity very highly. And we know that we can be demanding to work with. Because it is not easy to make changes that are sustainable, robust and aesthetically meaningful. We therefore aim to challenge our surroundings at least as much as we challenge ourselves. But whatever the challenge, we take on the responsibility to get it resolved, so that it gives the most value back to the client, the users and the city - and to the wider systems of nature. It is in our DNA.


When working with nature-based urban design, the ‘completion’ of a project is really only the beginning. The City Dune (p.14) in 2010.

And in 2016.

SLA’s three partners: Founder and Design Director Stig L. Andersson, CEO Mette Skjold and CCO Rasmus Astrup



STIG L. ANDERSSON is founding partner and design director of SLA. Having studied nuclear physics, Japanese culture and chemistry before becoming an architect, Andersson graduated from The Royal Danish School of Architecture in 1986. From 1986-1989 Andersson moved to Japan with Japanese ministerial research funds. Andersson was particularly interested in Japanese culture’s relationship with substance, space and changeability – fields he has integrated and developed in his own practice since 1994. Renowned for his sensuous and poetic work, Andersson combines unique amenity values based on the aesthetics of nature with cutting-edge urban design. Stig L. Andersson is a professor in aesthetic design at the University of Copenhagen and is a much sought-after lecturer and teacher at universities and architecture schools in Europe, Asia and the United States. Andersson has received multiple Danish and international awards for his work, including the RIBA Award, The European Landscape Award and the C.F. Hansen Medal – the highest national honor given to a Danish architect awarded by Queen Margrethe II of Denmark.

METTE SKJOLD is partner and CEO in SLA. With more than 15 years of experience as a leader of sustainable urban planning and development projects, Mette has vast experience in leading complex processes with multidisciplinary teams solving some of today’s hardest urban problems. Mette is also responsible for SLAs most complex involvement processes, making citizens, developers and authorities engage in a mutually beneficial teamwork. Besides her masters degree in architecture from Aarhus School of Architecture, Mette also holds an international master degree in Leadership and Innovation from Copenhagen Business School. Before joining SLA in 2010, Mette was associated partner at Henning Larsen Architects. Mette is chairman of the Danish Association of Architectural Firms’ ‘Architecture and Construction Committee’ and member of the Lord Mayor’s Business Council in Copenhagen.

RASMUS ASTRUP is partner and CCO in SLA and responsible for several of the studio’s largest and most complex international projects, including projects and business development in Asia and the Mid East. Rasmus has an extensive knowledge within project management and experience in controlling all phases of the building process – from project design to construction control. Rasmus’ strengths cover everything from strategy development and authorities processing to advanced landscape design, local and recreational rainwater management, and innovative lighting concepts. When it comes to sustainable landscape architecture and climate adaptation, Rasmus is one of the leading specialists in Scandinavia and an expert in conjoining the sustainability of buildings and their exterior in a holistic symbiosis through circuit designs and implementation of new, green technologies.


Awards & honors


Winner of Nordic Built Cities Challenge for Hans Tavsens Park


Norwegian Landscape Award for Brattøra Friområde


Winner of Scandinavian Green Roof Award for Egedal Town Hall


The City of Copenhagen Business Award


Danish Landscape Award for Novo Nordisk Nature Park

2015 Winner of Bornholm Municipality’s Architecture Prize for Green Solution House and Green Footprints 2015

Finalist World Architecture Festival, Landscape Award

2015 Winner of Best Book Design Award by The Association of Book Craft for the Biennale catalogue 2015

Trondheim Municipality’s Best Building Practice Prize


Winner of WAN Award - Temporary Spaces


Finalist for the European Garden Awards, Germany


Appointed Curator of the Danish Pavilion at The 14th Venice Architecture Biennale


Winner of the Beautification of the Capital Award


The C.F. Hansen Medal given by the Danish Royal Academy of the Fine Arts


Winner of Scandinavian Green Roof Award


Finalist, World Smart City Award

2012 Landscape Architecture Europe Honor Award by The International Federation of Landscape Architects 2012

Shortlisted for European Prize for Urban Public Spaces


Shortlisted for the RIBA Award European Union


Good and Beautiful Building Award’ by the Copenhagen Mayor of Culture


Winner of The Beautification of the Capital Award


Shortlisted for the RIBA Award European Union


Nykredit’s Architecture Prize


The Danish Light Award


Shortlisted for the European Prize Urban Public Space


Shortlisted for the Mies van der Rohe Prize


Award of Honour, the Margot and Thorvald Dreyer Foundation


Shortlisted for the Mies van der Rohe Prize


Winner of Topos European Landscape Award

2002 The Eckersberg Medal granted by HRM Queen Margrethe II of Denmark and the Royal Danish Academy of Fine Arts


Selected exhibitions

2016 the city of a billion pines Exhibition at Danish Cultural Center, 798 Art Zone, Beijing. 2015 GROWTH - TOGETHER WE BUILD AND GROW THE FUTURE Exhibition at Utzon Center, Aalborg, DK 2015

HOUSING AND WELFARE Group exhibition at The Danish Royal Academy of the Fine Arts, Copenhagen School of Architecture


THE RAIN IS COMING Group exhibition at Danish Architecture Centre, DK

2014 EMPOWERMENT OF AESTHETICS Curator of exhibition at The Danish Pavilion at La Biennale di Venezia, Venice, IT 2012 NEW NORDIC Group exhibition at Louisiana Museum of Modern Art, DK 2011 YELLOW MUD GARDEN Design of Master Garden exhibition at Xian International Horticultural Exposition, CN 2006 WUNDERSTADT Solo exhibition at Aedes Gallery, DE 1998

THE LANDSCAPE IS Group exhibition at Danish Architecture Centre

Profile for SLA Architects

Cities of Nature  

CITIES OF NATURE introduces our nature-based practice in an urban context. What distinguishes us from our colleagues is our fundamental appr...

Cities of Nature  

CITIES OF NATURE introduces our nature-based practice in an urban context. What distinguishes us from our colleagues is our fundamental appr...


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