update - Sankt Kjelds Plads - climate change landscape

Sankt Kjelds Plads in July 2018 - looking towards Hahnemanns Køkken - the cafe on the north side of the square

 

the same view in April 2019

Sankt Kjelds Plads is in a densely-built area of older apartment buildings about 4 kilometres directly north from the city hall.

Many of the buildings here date from the 1930s but there are large modern office buildings and large and relatively recent industrial buildings and a large supermarket to the west.

The area has a distinct urban character with relatively wide streets but little planting and not just on street parking but also fairly heavy through traffic. From the air you can see that most of the large apartment blocks have extremely pleasant courtyards with planting but the real problem for this area is that climate change has meant occasional but very destructive flooding from sudden rain storms with traditional street drainage unable to deal with surface water on the streets and with rain running off the roofs of the large buildings.

The solution has been to put in fast-flowing storm drains, surface channels to take water away to tanks or sumps where it can be controlled, and, where necessary, filtered and then released into the drainage system but at an appropriate rate. These sudden storms may last for only an hour but in that time there can be a depth of 30 centimetres of water across the road that stops traffic, floods basements and ground-floor apartments and businesses and takes road-level pollution through the drains and to the harbour and the sound.

Along with this hard landscaping of drains and surface gullies, the other solution is extensive planting that absorbs rainfall - apart from the most severe storms - and adds considerably to the amenity value of the street scape.

Here at Sankt Kjelds Plads, seven roads converge at what was a very large traffic round-a-bout. That was planted with shrubs and trees but it certainly was not a place to sit. In fact, with the heavy traffic, it was not a place where many people even cut across.

With the current scheme, small areas of pavement in front of the buildings have been pulled forward and the traffic discouraged and the round-a-bout reduced significantly in size. The new areas are densely planted and have pathways curving through them with seats . Sunken areas will flood when there are storms, to act as holding tanks, but have planting that will cope with short periods of partial submersion.

This will be the first full growing season for the trees and shrubs and ground cover so it is not fair to judge the scheme until everything becomes more established but already the transformation is obvious.

This large open space links through with the climate-change landscaping of Tåsinge Plads, about 85 metres away to the east, and the main north south road through Sankt Kjelds Plads - Bryggervangen - is also being planted to form a green corridor from the large park - Fælledparken - to the south and continuing through to an open area and pond to the north beyond Kildevældskirke.

more images and map

post on Sankt Kjelds Plads July 2018
post on Tåsinge Plads July 2018

looking across Sankt Kjelds Plads from the south side - although it is hard to see through the new planting, the traffic island is still at the centre but has been reduced significantly in size

 

aerial view of Sankt Kjelds Plads after the main landscape work on Tåsinge Plads had been completed - the thin triangular street space on the right towards the bottom - and just before construction work on Sankt Kjelds Plads began so this shows the original traffic island and areas for people to walk kept to the edge immediately in front of the buildings

Fællesskaber Mellem Murene / Communities Between the Walls

 

 

This exhibition is on the three levels of the staircase gallery at the Danish Architecture Centre and is about art projects that have been used to bring about positive changes in vulnerable residential areas.

People living in these large housing schemes can feel marginalised or can be isolated by poverty and many, newly arrived in Denmark, are separated from the support of family or old friends. Becoming involved in art - or merely being given access to something new and something that is special to where they live - can improve day-to-day life or can stimulate a new interest; create a sense of involvement; bring a new sense of pride to an area and can create a sense of ownership and a sense belonging to a place.

Several of the projects give people an opportunity to tell their own story as an individual rather than being simply an anonymous part of a larger statistic about crime or poverty … statistics that quantify and define problems but can only be a starting point for resolving them.

Projects shown here are in Tingbjerg in Copenhagen; Gellerupplaned, to the west of the city centre in Aarhus, and a projects around Blagværd, a northern suburb of Copenhagen, including Kunst Vild in VærebroPark in Gladsaxe. 

Communities Without Walls
continues at Danish Architecture Centre
until 2 June 2019

Tingbjerg housing

Tingbjerg housing scheme was designed by the Danish teacher, writer and architect Steen Eiler Rasmussen and the landscape was designed by C Th Sørensen.

Building work started in 1956 and was completed in 1971 and by then there were 3,000 homes here with most in apartments in blocks that are three storeys high - over half basements containing service rooms - although there is also one tower block and a line of single-storey homes along the west edge of the scheme.

Tingbjerg is out to the north west of the city centre, on relatively high land, close to the moor and lakes of Utterslev, and around 7 kilometres from the city hall. It was planned as a small, self-contained town with shops, a school and a church and at one stage 10,000 people lived here although the number is now below 7,000.

There are long rows of apartments that are set in a regular grid of roads with a main peripheral road and one main cross street running east to west although most of the apartment blocks are set north to south so that they make the most of morning and evening light.

Buildings are laid out around generous squares and large open spaces with a good planting of trees that are now mature and there are a number of areas where children can play. There is also access to what is still and certainly what was in the 1950s areas of open countryside and the high elevation, or at least high for Copenhagen, means that there are views back over the city. Even today, the light seems clearer and the air fresher up here than down in the city and, back in the 1950s, that contrast must have been more marked when there was much more air pollution. Families moving here then must have been positive about being able to move out to a new home in a new suburb.

The site slopes and the rows of apartments are staggered - rather than being in long straight unbroken lines - and the topography has been exploited with terraces and short flights of steps at changes of level that again softens and breaks up the impact of building even though so many homes were built in a single phase and in what is, in essence, a single style.

Constructed in light-coloured brick with dark roofs, workmanship is of a high quality and the design of the buildings is simple but not stark so the style is clean and actually quite elegant. A distinct feature is slatted shutters that slide back from the windows on some buildings. Tingbjerg is a good example of classic Danish design at its best. This was recognised in 1959 when the first phase of the scheme received the Bygningspræmiering / Building Award for New Residential Property.

  

note:

Given the high quality of the design and the construction of the scheme, it is ironic that in the recent government report - Ét Danmark uden parallelsamfund / One Denmark without a parallel society - Tingbjerg is now designated as one of 16 ghettoes in Denmark where serious social problems have been identified and there is now funding with recommendations for intervention.

These photographs were taken in January 2019.

Superkilen - a super wedge

Life Between Buildings 4

 

Copenhagen has a number of linear parks of which the largest and most ambitious is Superkilen in the district of Nørrebro just to the north of the city centre. The north section of the park forms a green wedge down from Tagensvej - a major road - and continues through to Nørrebrogade and then, across that main shopping street, the series of parks runs on to link with Nørrebroparken.

Superkilen or Super Wedge follows the route of an old railway that cut through the district which explains the long narrow site with much of it behind buildings. There is a mixture of architecture, including some good industrial buildings that have been adapted to new uses, and some apartment buildings look down on the space but, unlike a square or street, it is not enclosed or defined by building facades. 

In strict architectural terms, the shape of the park seems odd and irregular with space leaking out so the opposite of Skydebanehaven or Shooting Gallery Park in the city that is enclosed by housing so that it is almost like a secret garden or secret playground owned by the community.

However, at Superkilen, if space leaks out, that means that the opposite or reverse is true, so spaces run into the park to draw local people in to make it a strong and important part of everyday life in the neighbourhood.

 

read more

 

Tredje Natur - Bright Blue Visions

 

Tracking back a reference to the work by Tredje Natur on climate paving I came across Bright Blue Visions - an article they posted in 2013 with proposals for development of the harbour with new islands for sport and for a nature reserve for nesting birds as well as a park adjoining the Opera House that could be used for outdoor performances and a centre in the basin at Kroyers Plads to promote Danish advances in water technology. Their important argument was that the harbour is a common resource.

My main reservation is that, although the harbour is a major resource and there has been a long tradition of the city claiming new land from the sea, the harbour is also a phenomenal asset as a major and impressive open space where sports and events and recreational boating and swimming can all be staged but without substantial and long-term structures.

As with the new bridges over the harbour, what is undermined is the sense of space - a threatened asset in any city - and a feeling that the harbour - after all still open to the sea - could become domesticated or tamed and contained and divided up - so little more than a larger version of the lakes across the north side of the inner city.

Tredje Natur

Communities Between the Walls

On 15 February a new exhibition opened in the gallery space on the staircase at the Danish Architecture Centre.

Communities Between the Walls is a counterpoint to the recent reports on social housing and ghettoes. Here are a number of major art projects that have been initiated in areas of deprived or poor housing in urban areas including the new library recently completed in the Tingbjerg housing scheme and the major projects in Gellerupparken in Aarhus.

 

continues at the Danish Architecture Centre until 1 June 2019

it's all in the details

 

When there are surveys where people are asked if they are happy living in the city or town in which they live then Copenhagen comes high in the rankings.

There are obvious reasons why there are high level of approval from so many in Copenhagen for their city … it is relatively compact for a capital city so it has a human scale …  the climate does what it is supposed to do so it's not ridiculously cold in the winter and it's pleasantly warm in the summer … warm enough to swim in the sea from beaches nearby or the water is warm enough and clean enough to swim in the harbour … and swimming in the harbour is possible because there are no major industries that pollute the environment so clean air and clean water are further reasons for people to be happy here.

There is a good railway service to other parts of the country and to get to neighbouring countries and there is a good international airport with high passenger approval ratings and it's a short metro ride from the city centre. To say that people can get out of a city quickly and easily is perhaps not the most obvious reason for people feeling content but it's certainly better than living in a city where you feel trapped or it feels remote, far from anywhere you want to be.

Planners from around the world come to admire the architecture and the planning here and, in particular, come to see how and why the balance of private journeys are made by bike rather than by car … in themselves further reasons for being happy here or at least for being fitter.

There are also clear economic reasons for the success of the city … it has all the financial benefits and all the facilities that come from being a capital city … so the government, international delegations, national organisations and major companies are based here and the national theatre, the national library and so on are all here … but even so it is relatively small and it is a prosperous city but still a city with a strong if understated socialist ethos so extremes of wealth are not as obvious here as in many large cities.

All this is fine and has been assessed and analysed and written about in what seems like an endless number of articles but there is no simple Copenhagen ingredient … you can't take city X and add the Copenhagen factor and there you are … problems sorted.

I've lived in Copenhagen for getting on for five years and I've known the city for much longer and, for me, one important factor that makes the city an amazing place to live is that it is so rich visually … or do I mean simply interesting and attractive?

It's not just about obvious places like, for instance, the royal palace of Amalienborg and the Marble Church- although the square and the buildings are one of the great public spaces in Europe - but it's the quality and the good design of smaller buildings in the city and it's about the courtyards and the corners and the odd spaces where people really do think carefully about what they are doing with their buildings and with the urban landscape of their city.

This photograph was taken a month ago, walking across from Nørrebro to get to Sankt Hans Torv - so outside the centre of the city but not far out.

Along the side of Guldbergsgade - a busy street of apartment buildings and shops - some land has been divided up for community use. There is, of course, play equipment here for children but also a small zoo where, right in the middle of the city, children can see hens grubbing around and rabbits and other small animals. There are also around two dozen garden plots together along the street edge that have been allocated to local residents for growing vegetables or flowers and all have neat fencing, borders and narrow paths and a shed although to call them sheds is hardly an adequate word to describe these small summerhouses that are potting sheds and stores for tools but also a place to brew coffee and sit and watch or sit and talk and clearly reflect the character and interests of each gardener.

I took a slight diversion along the narrow path between the two rows of garden plots, and paused to take the photo because for me this seems to sum up what are crucial aspects of life in Copenhagen that few academic authors seem to consider when they write about planning and the quality of life here.

First this is a city where there is a strong sense of respect … the respect of people with a quiet pride in the city they live in but also a respect for property - their property, other people's property and the general public property of the city streetscape. There is some mindless vandalism but remarkably little when over a million people live together. These gardens are not in a wealthy or distinctly middle-class enclave … in fact the reputation of Nørrebro is anything but that … but people moving out onto and claiming public space is a strong and an important part of life all over the city.

Second, and perhaps more important, is that ordinary people living in Copenhagen seem to have a strong visual sense …. here, ordinary used to mean people not working in design. People are visually aware and visually literate and that is clear here.

In books and magazines and guides Copenhagen is described as a design city but Milan, Paris, London and New York are design cities but could hardly be more different. In part it is because those are cities where style and fashion but also wanting to stand out or make a statement are driving factors.

That's not, of course, to suggest that Copenhagen is unfashionable or unaware of fashion but visual sense here seems to be more firmly grounded: Copenhagen is a still a mercantile city where, for many many centuries, high-quality goods, made by craftsmen or by small independent companies, were and are respected; it is a city where the public face of a building or a business is important and it is a city where a good education in art and craft skills from a young age has been important in schools and through apprenticeships and technical training. So, in Copenhagen, design is not just about architects and designers and the design industries but good design permeates many aspects of daily life.

 

In the New Year a new occasional series of posts will look at some of these less-obvious aspects of architecture and urban planning in Copenhagen that together make it such a pleasant and attractive place to live.

the harbour sauna

The year is moving through fast … the winter sauna is now set up and open at the harbour swimming pool at Islands Brygge.

the rain is coming - Heimdalsgade

In 2015, an exhibition at the Danish Architecture Centre - The Rain is Coming - set out the repercussions for the city from major changes in climate.

One obvious problem, already experienced in the city, is that sudden and heavy rain storms overwhelm the drainage system, so streets are inundated with water, traffic is severely disrupted, property damaged and drains and sewers broken or polluted water surges out into the Sound.

Since that exhibition, several extensive drainage and landscape schemes have been completed to cope with these sudden rain storms and the most recent is in Heimdalsgade in the city district of Nørrebro where innovative climate tiles for paving have been installed.

Design work was by Tredje Natur … an architectural and design studio founded in 2012 by Flemming Rafn Thomsen and Ole Schrøder with offices nearby. They undertook extensive research and development for the project over three years that was supported by funds from Realdania and Markedsmodningsfondenover.

Their new system manages both surface water and rain water from the roofs of the buildings along the street by taking it down through holes in the paving slabs and into a series of vertical and horizontal pipes, below the pavement, that control and direct rain water either to temporary storage before it is released in a controlled way into the drains or it is diverted into areas of planting.

 
 

Plugs within the pipes can change the configuration but can also transmit data for water management … controlling flow or in winter detecting that pavements have been salted so water cannot be directed to irrigation. These schemes have to protect sewers and stop contaminated surface water polluting water in streams, lakes or the Sound.

These plugs can also be adapted as sockets that take street furniture such as signs, lights and plant boxes.

Work was undertaken to coincide with work to replace pipework for the area heating system to minimise road works and disruption.

The new climate paving can be seen along Heimdalsgade for 50 metres from the end furthest from Tagensvej … so at the corner with Overskæringen, outside the café at Heimdalsgade 22. With a new area of planting taken out into the road, this has meant a new if narrow but shielded public space that has already been colonised with tables and chairs from the cafe.

Tredje Natur

 
 
 

Louisiana Museum of Modern Art at 60

This year marks the 60th anniversary of the opening of Louisiana Museum of Modern Art.

The entrance to the museum is through a 19th-century house - a private villa built in 1855 for Alexander Brun (1814-1893) that was set back on the east side of the coast road from Copenhagen to Helsingør - just north of Humlebæk - with extensive gardens looking out over the sound. 

It is said that the new museum was called Louisiana - because all three of the wives of Alexander Brun were named Louise - and the name was kept when the villa was purchased in 1955 by Knud W Jensen - a businessman, writer and patron of the arts who founded the new museum.

New buildings were designed by Vilhelm Wohlert and Jørgen Bo with covered and glazed corridors that link three large, well-lit gallery spaces to the house and together form an arc around the north side of the main lawn.

Louisiana Museum of Modern Art opened in 1958.

the original house from the gardens (top)

plan of the house with the villa cross hatched and showing the low ranges of service buildings forming a forecourt
the first new buildings were a series of corridors stepping down gradually to follow a ridge between a lake or inlet to the west and the beach and sea to the east and retaining both the large lawn and mature trees

Vilhelm Wohlert and Jørgen Bo photographed in 1958 standing in front of a brick wall that formed the side of what was initially the library - this is the side of the building that faces away from the sea and is now an area of terrace alongside the museum restaurant

the view out over the sound from the terrace of the museum restaurant (below) shows how important the landscape and the garden setting are for the museum

 

Frederiksberg Allé

 
Freds Alley.jpg

Recently, it was announced that Frederiksberg Allé is to be given special protection with a policy to retain its present character with controls on hard landscaping and planting but also to allow appropriate interventions to enhance the urban landscape.

The Allé is a fascinating street with a clear history and a wider importance - an international significance - as it represents a distinct and important phase of planning in the city.

It was laid out in 1704 and runs west from Vesterbro to the main entrance to the park and gardens of the royal palace of Frederiksberg. Maps from the 18th century show the road as a broad tree-lined avenue with open fields on either side but, even then, the circle or circus of Sankt Thomas Plads is obvious and there was a large open space at the west end, at the gates to the gardens of the palace.

The avenue is now famous for the double lines of lime trees that are pruned to a candelabra shape.

There is a wide central road with the double avenue of trees on each side, each with a broad pavement down the centre between the trees, and then secondary or service roads, outside the lines of trees, with wide pavements immediately in front of the buildings. From Sankt Thomas Plads to the gates into the palace gardens is just over a kilometre and the avenue from building front to building front is around 40 metres wide.

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the Copenhagen bench

 

Does anyone know just how many park benches there are in Copenhagen? When was the first bench made with cast iron legs and wooden planks? Was there a Copenhagen iron bench foundry?

They get repainted at regular intervals so my guess is that someone in city hall knows how much green paint the city gets through every year.

My favourite benches are the circular benches that usually go around a tree and there is no pretence … these are there and these are designed for sitting a while to people watch.

owning the streets

 

As soon as the sun comes out, people in Copenhagen move outside and stake a claim to the streets. It doesn't have to be warm … just light. It's not that Danish homes are so awful that people can't stay in … just the opposite … but in Copenhagen there is plenty of evidence that this is not a modern idea. Historic paintings and drawings show citizens strolling along the pathways on top of the city defences or promenading on the squares … so walking and talking rather than actually going somewhere … and there is still a tradition to walk around the top of the embankments of the 17th-century fortress in the Spring or stroll along Langeliniekaj. It's said that the citizens only agreed to the  construction of the Free Port - which blocked the walk along the foreshore - if the quay was constructed with open access for a Sunday afternoon stroll.

The use of the public space of the street can be much more active so there is play equipment for children on many squares and streets and permanent fitted exercise equipment for people out for a jog who want to do more than just run.

Of course tables are moved out onto the pavements outside cafes and there are benches everywhere … most painted the special colour used in the city called Copenhagen Green.

This is hardly unique but in Copenhagen you can see a clear reason why this use of public space became so important: Copenhagen was surrounded by substantial defensive ramparts that enclosed a relatively small area and until about 1870 there was little construction allowed outside the gates to keep sight lines open in case of attack or a siege. As the population grew so space was limited and even many of the  courtyards had houses built in them so the only space available, for any sort of leisure, were the squares, streets or even the churchyards … even now the large graveyards around the city are a very popular and very pleasant place to stroll with family or friends.

Copenhagen is an amazing place to live for so many reasons but, if I had to cut the list right down to one, then it would be that for a densely built up city there is remarkably little vandalism ... people use and live in and own and share the public space so much more than in any city I have lived in before but, taking ownership of the street, people treat public space, their public space, with respect. 

 

 

 

street life - some needing stamina - some needing less energy

 

Sønder Boulevard then and now ... around 1900 and on a bright but cool day in early Spring 2018 above and immediately below

 
L1270517.jpg
 

the hoardings have come down along Sønder Boulevard

The new line of the metro in Copenhagen will open in 2019. Much of the main engineering work on the surface has been completed and the high green hoardings that surrounded all the main sites are now coming down.

From the city hall square and the central railway station, the new line heading out to the west follows the line of Sønder Boulevard across the north side of the meat markets and on down to Enghave. The hoardings came down in the Spring and work started on new hard landscaping and planting new trees.

Immediately, people from the neighbourhood, from the densely built apartment blocks here, reclaimed the public space.

Sønder Boulevard was actually the line of the railway in the late 19th century as it curved in from the west from Roskilde to a railway station just south of the present main building and the line followed closely what was then the shore of the bay.

The railway line was moved first to come into the city further north cutting across the lakes and then it was moved again to its present alignment across the south side of the meat markets. As the shore line was pushed out further and further into the bay, with new land claimed from the sea for first a gas works and then for the meat market, the old line became a street, Sønder Boulevard, with apartment buildings on both sides. It is a wide street with grass down the centre but through the last century it was a main route for traffic coming into the city.

The traffic lanes on each side have been reduced in width and this is no longer a main route so the centre area has basketball courts, play equipment, seating areas and imaginative planting to create a linear park that from Halmtorvet at the city end to Enghavevej and then across that road on towards Carlsberg is not far short of 2 kilometres.

the Boulevard while the engineering works for the new metro line were in progress - the edge of the meat market is at the top right and the distinctive tower of the church on Dannesbrogsgade towards the bottom right

1 - At the city end of Sønder Boulevard the landscaping of the street starts with paving and an area of water at Halmtorvet with an open area of gravel used for markets and then curved areas of stone steps and seating ... the meat market is on the right
2 - the Boulevard has shops and cafes and where cross streets meet the Boulevard at an angle there are paved areas - triangular rather than square - with cafes with pavement seating
3 - cross streets are a meeting place
4 - even in April, because the hoardings had come down,  people came out to sit in the sun - the sun was low but bright but not yet that warm ... the reason for the combination of coats and sun glasses ... looking towards the centre of the city with the tower of city hall in the distance

 

in the 1870s the railway line followed the shore with only gas works on land built out into the bay and that is where the meat market is now .....
the lakes, Tivoli and the line of Vesterbrogade are easily recognised reference points

Østergro in Østerbro

 

 

In fact, the current work on Tåsinge Plads and Sankt Kjelds Plads are not the first projects to bring large areas of plants and greenery right into the centre of Østerbro - a densely built up area of large apartment buildings, offices and small businesses out to the north of the centre of the city.

If you look on Google Earth, you can see that most of the apartment buildings have large enclosed courtyards with gardens and many with play equipment for children but also if you look just north of Sankt Kjelds Plads - the large round-a-bout almost at the centre - then immediately to the west of Fitness World, the long rectangle of green along the east side of Abeløgade is not alongside the pavement but four floors up on the roof of a former garage. This is Østergro … a large garden for vegetables and flowers produced here by a local association.

They have a restaurant up here and they teach children and visitors about food production … too many city dwellers have little or no idea where their food comes from and what is involved in growing vegetables and herbs. There was never a suggestion that this could make the area self sufficient for food but it's a good start.

Østergro

 

the rain is coming - Sankt Kjelds Plads

Sankt Kjelds Plads looking south from Æbeløgade and the view up Bryggervangen towards the Plads with the new areas for planting under construction in July 2018

new storm drains going in along the road edge (above)
drawing from SLA showing the extent of the scheme from Sankt Kjelds Plads and north and south along Bryggervangen  (below)

 

Less than 100 metres from Tåsinge Plads is Sankt Kjelds Plads - a second phase of work for new drain systems with hard landscaping and appropriate planting to cope with the inundation of water from rain storms. 

Here there is a large traffic intersection with Bryggervangen running through from north east to south west and three other roads - Nygårdsvej from the east, Æbeløgade from the north west and Sejrøgade from the south west - meeting at a large space that was until recently laid out as a large traffic round-a-bout.

A new scheme with holding tanks for rainwater, new storm drains and a series of water features and extensive planting have been designed by SLA.

New areas of paving and traffic calming with new marked bays to control car parking is well in hand.

It is not just the road intersection that will have new planting but the long diagonal run of Bryggervangen is part of the work and this will form a new green corridor from a small lake and open ground several blocks to the north at Kildevældssøen and continuing south towards the open space of Fælledparken.

the new climate district - by Tredje Natur

 

A local store has a window covered with a huge illustration of the finished scheme.

 

the rain is coming - Tåsinge Plads three years on

 

There was a post here about Tåsinge Plads back in 2015 along with a review of an exhibition called The Rains are Coming that was at the Danish Architecture Centre and was about how the city is dealing with climate change and the problems from sudden and torrential rain storms flooding streets and squares as drainage systems fail to cope.

Then, the main engineering work had been completed with new drains around the square to take surface water and water running off the roofs of the buildings and low holding tanks had been constructed. It seemed like time to go back to photograph the area now that the trees and shrubs are well established.

 

THE FIRST CLIMATE RESILIENT DISTRICT IN THE CITY
the pierced domes are drain covers for the deep and wide new drainage channels below
there are two sunken areas planted with appropriate water plants that are holding tanks for storm water to stop it overwhelming the drains and at the west end is a raised mound
bridges and passageways across the square are in Corten
paving drops down in shallow steps to channel surface water and excess water is taken down into holding tanks
rain from the side streets is contaminated by surface dirt and traffic pollution so is dealt with separately in 'swales' that replaced the street gutters with ditches and plants and with filters below

 

It is interesting to see how the square used by people living in nearby apartments.  On-street parking for cars has been either removed or rationalised - so in neighbouring streets cars park now on just one side, usually the side in the shade, and park front on to the kerb rather than parallel with the pavement.

On the square itself, the road along one side has been paved over and the local café has moved tables and chairs out onto the square. People were sunbathing on the new raised slopes of the hillock at the west end and one local lady was using a wood sculpture as a place to sit and read her newspaper in the shade on a hot day.

balconies being fitted earlier in the summer and the finished work with large new balconies to the apartments looking south and looking down onto the new landscaping of the square

 

The apartment building across the north side has new balconies fitted across the frontage so people can sit in the sun and look down on the square.

This has been a very dry and untypical summer so it was not possible to watch the rain umbrellas and the channels through the water gardens actually doing what they are supposed to do … that just means another visit sometime soon when it is raining hard.

The landscape and drainage solutions were designed by GHB Landskabsarkitekter.

a new metro station at Trianglen

gravel area at the entrance to Fælled Park ... hoardings have been taken down but there is now a wire fence around the excavations and remaining equipment of the engineers for work to complete the new metro station here ... the park is to the left and Trianglen immediately to the right ... the post office building to the left was designed by Thorvald Jørgensen and completed in 1922 and Østre Power Station, on the far side of Øster Allé, was designed by Ludvig Fenger and Ludvig Clausen and built in 1902

 
 

 

The main engineering works for the new metro station at Trianglen are finished and the high hoardings around the site have been taken down so once more it’s possible to appreciate the size of the open space here at the south-east corner of Fælledparken / Fælled Park.

A local plan for this major work was adopted in 2011 and published in 2012 … one of 14 local plans drafted for the 14 new metro stations that are to be built in the city with the construction of the new metro line.

In the introduction to the report it was stressed that the "layout of the station space must be in interaction with neighbouring areas around Øster Allé and Fælledparken."

This was an important policy because the space, in front of the main entrance into the park, acts as an area of transition from the busy area of Trianglen itself to the open green space and the trees of the park but this area of gravel has also been used in the past as an open space for various events such as markets so no new buildings were proposed apart from the concrete steps down into the station and necessary vents and roof lights and these, along with spaces for parking for bikes, have been kept to the two outer sides along Blegdamsvej and Øster Allé and will be screened by being set within double lines of trees. 

The steps down into the metro station fit rationally with the main directions from which people will approach the station or their main destinations as they leave … so steps at the corner, on the axis of the entrance to the park, are angled towards Trianglen; steps just inset from Blegdamsvej will be used by passengers heading to or coming from the Red Cross building, the Masonic Hall or, further on, the hospital and the east steps will serve people going to the post office or heading up Øster Allé towards the football stadium. 

 

These outer edges of the space will have hard paving - traditional Copenhagen setts or cobbles - but the central area will be returned to a level gravel surface. The planting of trees reinforces the simple symmetry of the layout of the space but also acts as a visual barrier between the open gravel-covered space and the road traffic beyond.

Improvements are not restricted to the area immediately around the metro station for there will also be new planting of trees and changes to the hard landscaping at this south end of Øster Allé and along Blegdamsvej that, with planting and improved paving, is rapidly becoming one of the most attractive of the boulevards in the city.

photograph and drawing from Metroselskabet

Fælledparken - the entrance from Trianglen

Entrance Faelled Park.jpeg
 

 

At the corner of Blegdamsvej and Øster Allé is a large area of gravel that is triangular in shape — the site of a major new metro station - and set back, beyond the triangle, is the entrance to Fælledparken.

Established in 1908, the main feature here, on the central axis of the entrance, is a memorial … a large figure group in bronze raised on a high stone base that was installed in 1930 to commemorate the return to Denmark, in an international settlements following the First World War, of land in South Jutland that had been lost to Germany in a war of 1864.

Lettering on the stone base reads:

TIL MINDE OM SONDERJYLLANDS GENFORENING MED MODERLANDET 1920

In memory of South Jutand's reunification with mother country 1920

 

The main figure is a woman who is looking down at an adolescent girl who holds or, rather, she clings to her side, looking up but not at the woman so up and away into the distance at the sky or to the heavens. It is a powerful depiction of a mother embracing or drawing in a child for their protection.

The woman is wearing a loose, finely-pleated costume, that is clearly classical in style, with an outer garment or stola that she is lifting to cover the girl who is naked … nakedness, at least here, implying both innocence and vulnerability.

The sculptor was Axel Poulsen who nearly twenty years later repeated the image of mother and child - a woman holding a dead youth slumped across her lap - for the incredibly powerful stone sculpture for the Mindelund Park in Copenhagen that is a memorial garden for the dead of the Second World War.

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Sansehaven - garden of the senses

As you enter Fælled park from Trianglen, just beyond the monument, there is an area of woodland on the right but as you are drawn forward - towards the light and open space of the park ahead - it would be easy to miss the Sensory Garden in the trees.

In dappled light, in glades among beautiful mature trees, the garden was designed by the landscape architect Helle Nebelong and was created in 1996 when Copenhagen was City of Culture.

With wide, gently-curving, gravel paths and low but distinct boundaries it is laid out to be an easy and a safe place for children to explore even if they have sight impairments or have mobility problems or use a wheelchair. 

Plants are chosen for their distinct shapes and there are herbs for their smell or even their taste but the dense but low planting also shields the garden from the more noisy and boisterous park beyond to make the space feel somehow calm and protective. 

The main features are a gravel-filled canal that runs through the centre of the garden with low bridges over it or stepping stones along it, and gives a distinct Japanese look, and there is a large maze with low walls of wooden posts - some with numbers or letters set near the top so you trace 1 to 9 and then track the alphabet as you follow the posts of the undulating palisade.

In the line of the planting around these features there are small, semi-enclosed spaces where children can discover a giant nose carved in smooth marble or a wooden sculpture like a giant chess piece but with a carved fish and lemons on the top or there are wind chimes or a seat under an arch and several larger features including a hexagonal temple with ornate carved posts supporting a tiled roof. 

It's all very beautiful and the garden is a credit to a park and to a city when they can design and maintain a place that is so magical.

Helle Nebelong

 
 

translation of the park sign:

SANSEHAVEN

Sansehaven is a small garden for children and their adults - a corner of Fælledparken with space for exploring surroundings, feeling nature and discovering all the senses.

1 Hearing
2 Seeing

3 Taste
4 Smells

5 Feel
6 Sixth Sense

A sense garden can be a substitute for nature when the real thing is far away or difficult to get to. Sansehaven was originally made for multi-handicapped children and young people who can enjoy small gardens with many impressions and experiences.

For the sake of children who are visually impaired or use a wheelchair, Sansehaven is therefore arranged with wide paths and clear edges of, among other things, cobblestone, which makes it easy to get around.

Sansehaven in Fælledparken is shaped like a maze with winding paths, and if you are curious, you will discover a garden full of surprises.

Enjoy.

Fælledparken