Work on the old pier to the north of the theatre was completed in tandem with work on Sankt Annæ Plads that is not a square, which the name might suggest, but a long, broad and pleasant tree-lined street with grass, statues and play areas for children down the centre. The Plads starts at Bredgade with a large equestrian statue of Christian X and extends for 450 metres down to the harbour and the pier, the Plads and the pier meeting at right angles with the theatre at the outer corner.
Sankt Annæ Plads was excavated for engineering works to construct storm drains to cope with sudden and devastating downpours that are now much more frequent as a consequence of global warming. A holding tank can take up to 9 million litres of rain water so that it can later be released in a controlled way into the harbour protecting property and protecting sewers and street drains … expensive infrastructure that otherwise would not cope and could be damaged.
So - in essence, Copenhagen has laid a drain and built an underground car park … but what a drain and what a car park.
Together, and without pomp or any shouting, the square and the pier will not only transform this part of the city but also deal with very specific problems - there was a lack of parking for cars … not for local people but for the phenomenal number of visitors drawn to the area for major events; there is a bus turning area for public transport that comes right down to the north entrance to the theatre; the open space is clear enough to give room for pedestrians and bikes; potentially devastating flooding from surface water after heavy rain will be held back in tanks so that it can be released into the harbour in a controlled way to protect property and drains including sewers that would otherwise be overwhelmed; the square will form a suitable and very attractive approach to the theatre and to the harbour front and the pier forms a huge level, uncluttered open space that will be a venue for a wide variety of public events including outside performances by the theatre.
The selection of appropriate colours and texture and tone for hard surfaces enhances rather than competes with the historic buildings on either side but also help to define where cars and pedestrians should go and trees have been planted to make the area down the centre as green and as pleasant as possible with seats and statues to encourage people to sit and relax. Not over designed but very very carefully designed.
the city end of Sankt Annæ Plads in November 2015 with new surface drains (below) being installed between the pavement and the road and between the road and the central area
May 2016 and an early opportunity for people to start using the newly-planted centre space ... the sunken area holds flood water from rain storms to prevent it from flowing back along Bredgade and into the basements of properties there