Trafiklegepladsen in Copenhagen


Writing about Blinkenbikes I mentioned Trafiklegepladsen. It’s on the edge of a large park called Fælledparken on the north side of Copenhagen and is close to the main football stadium. It’s laid out with an extensive and fairly complex arrangement of roads with round-a-bouts and crossings and traffic lights but all scaled down and it is where Copenhagen children learn about riding on roads. There are classes there but there seems to be open access most of the time so you see parents with their kids at weekends and in all sorts of weather.

A new building was completed last year at the entrance that was designed by the architecture practice MLRP with toilets and large areas under cover that can be opened up by folding back doorways for teaching and repair spaces and there are stores for go karts. The area also has picnic tables, play equipment and fun things like vertical rotating brushes of a car wash though I’m sure most parents are relieved to find there is no water.



I liked the idea that clearly the little boy was teaching his dad to use a scooter.

Just after I took the photo of the little girl in a pink hat I had to leap for the pavement as she came racing past. Admittedly she had the green light at the cross roads and the little man on the crossing light was on red and my Danish is not up to arguing the point that actually she was on the wrong side of the road ... better to just get out of the way when a Copenhagen cyclist gets up a bit of speed.


Schools and nursery schools around the city often have their own miniature road layouts in their playgrounds … children here start riding bikes on the public roads at a very early age and this is a good way to teach them to be confident and safe.


Above is the road system laid out in the playground of Kastanie Huset, a nursery and kindergarten on the north edge of De Gamle By in Copenhagen. All the bikes upturned by the kids presumably for servicing made me smile.


On the opposite corner is the new Forfatterhuset kindergarten designed by the architectural practice COBE completed last year and also with its own road layout in the playground.

Malmö Live


At the weekend, on a trip over to Malmö, I had my first look around the new concert hall, convention centre and hotel that has just opened on a large site to the west of the central railway station. The complex is by the architectural practice of Schmidt Hammer Lassen. I had seen the work at several stages when it was surrounded by cranes, scaffolding and construction sites but on Sunday the bright clear sunlight was perfect to show the new buildings at their best.

I have posted some initial photographs under galleries in the navigation bar at the top of the site but will write and post a longer assessment as soon as I can ... maybe after I have been to a concert there.

they’re dancing, dancing in the street


If you think about planners and planning at all, then it’s probably to curse the man who decided to pedestrianise the street that was your best route to drive from home to work which means you now have to go the long way round or you think gratefully about the planner who had the sense to stop a developer building a tower block just metres from your garden fence. Planning, generally seems to be about big issues like saying yes or no to major developments, controlling what goes where and trying to plan ahead so we get the infrastructure we might need ten years from now. Blame the planners if there are not enough places in schools or if there are always traffic problems on the main road or if there is now a new motorway between your house and the nearest park.

In fact some of the best planning goes un-noticed or at least not commented on because it works.

Or some of the best planning works when it is flexible and allows people to use buildings and space in innovative ways. In the centre of Copenhagen most people live in apartments and have little or no private outdoor space so as Winter becomes Spring the citizens take every chance they can to move out and colonise public space. Chairs and tables from cafes are moved out onto the pavement, people buy a beer after they leave work and sit on the pavement on the up-water side of Dronning Louises Bridge with their backs against the parapet because it faces south west and catches the best of the evening sun and outdoor exhibitions appear in the squares along with stalls for flea markets. The hard landscape of planning has to be imaginative enough and flexible enough to deal with all that.



Kultorvet is not strictly a square because when you look at the street map, with the odd angles of the streets in what was the north corner of the old city, it is an intriguing diamond shape - a break on the line of one of the main pedestrianised streets that runs down into the centre from Nørreport Station - the busiest transport hub in the country. Curiously, despite the constant press of people, the square is relatively calm with open-air cafes around the edge and at the centre a large circular fountain or, rather, a large circular area just one step up from the level of the square and with small water spouts that children and adults who have never lost their inner child run through.

A couple of weeks ago, walking through the square at the time of the annual jazz festival, I found the water had been turned off, the slots and grids and drains of the fountain boarded over (temporarily) and a public class in dancing to blues music in full swing … literally in full swing. Now that’s what I call flexible and adaptable hard landscaping.

For good measure, to show planners in Copenhagen really do have a good sense of humour, I’ve included a picture of the permanent, concrete football table on the pavement on Vester Voldgade, just down from the City Hall.


Amager mountain rises


Taken this week from across the harbour in Copenhagen, the photograph above shows how far work has progressed on the waste to energy incineration plant on Amager designed by BIG … the Bjarke Ingels Group. From the city side of the harbour, the upper part, flanked by cranes, can now be seen above the trees.

When completed, the building will be 90 metres high with a viewing platform at the top and a slope running down with ski runs of 1.5 kilometres. Photographs taken earlier in the month from closer to the works show part of the slope to the left. The slope will be planted with trees and will form a mountain trail in the summer.

Lifts to the top, adjacent to the stack, will have glass on the inner sides to give visitors views of the inner workings of the plant.

A piston in the chimney will force condensation out as giant smoke rings. Apparently this mechanism for blowing the smoke rings was tested successfully a couple of months ago though I missed it. The idea is that the rings will give the people of Copenhagen a visual reminder of just how much waste material is being burnt.


architecture for seawater swimming


With the arrival of warm days and blue skies, the citizens of Copenhagen head out for the sand of the beach and to swim in the sea. Some hardy citizens can be seen swimming outside all year round, but the buildings of the swimming baths come into their own in the summer.

These structures provide changing facilities but they also mark a safe area for swimming, keeping boats out, and their platforms are used for jumping or diving into the water and the screens give something to lean against to get out of the breeze for sun bathing.


Charlottenlund Søbad (top), north of Copenhagen and just above the 17th-century fortress, is a more traditional construction for swimmers that is built out into the sea as a jetty with wooden-boarded huts for the facilities for changing.



At the south end of Amager Strand, south and east of the city, is Kastrup Søbad, designed by White Arkitekter and completed in 2005. This is also built out into the sea on a timber jetty but here forming a dramatic sweeping curve. Again the screen shelters bathers and facing landward it means sun bathers get the best of the afternoon and evening sun.



In the city, just below Langebro, are the two harbour baths for seawater swimming - the Islands Brygge harbour baths (above) by PLOT/BIG from 2003 and immediately opposite, on the other side of the harbour, is Kalvebod Wave by JDS Architects (below) completed in 2013.