Remiseparken is a secret, green oasis hiding amidst the regular residential blocks of Urbanplanen, one of the largest public housing neighbourhoods of Copenhagen.

The surrounding housing units turn their back to the park, as they are hiding behind layers of fences, hedges and shrubs, and the lush vegetation, along with the lack of connections to the surroundings, create a feeling of inaccessibility for both residents and visitors.

While the Northern part, notorious for its kitchen gardens, construction playground, DIY culture and children’s petting farm, provides a large number of energetic initiatives with great potential for the future development, the Southern part is desolated, lacking energy and opportunities for public life. The shortage of people – and eyes- contributes to the general sense of insecurity, further enhanced by the lush vegetation obstructing visual connections between the different areas of the park.

The renewal of the park aims at increasing the attractiveness, safeness and accessibility of the area, while in the same time developing the park as a ‘play&learn’ area which combines play and learning with new recreational functions provided by incorporating rainwater harvesting into the park design as part of the ambitious large-scale cloudburst mitigation plans of the Danish capital.

The 6 paradigms

A number of six paradigms provide the framework for the development of the park as a resident-friendly, diverse, socially attractive and safe public space.

  1. Extend residential area into the park. A number of semi-public community gardens situated along the edges of the park will provide a stronger connection between residents and park, and promote an increased sense of care and ownership that will increase the feeling of security.
  2. Balance activities. The Mountain situated in the Southern part of the park provides a counterweight to the activities of the Northern part.
  3. Optimize connections. The main infrastructural axis is extended and enlarged to increase the flow of park visitors. A number of ‘doormats’ are plazas situated at the main infrastructural meeting points to provide optimized connections with the rest of the neighbourhood and surroundings.
  4. Continuous landscape. The terrain is ‘folded’ to provide a continuous surface with valleys and peaks which accommodate a wide range of activities, while in the same time solving cloudburst challenges.
  5. ‘Sew’ together the different park areas. A loop infrastructure interconnects the areas of the park, improving the accessibility to the different activity areas.
  6. Cultivate the green. The existing trees are all kept, and new habitats are added, to increase the bio-diversity and contribute to a diversified urban nature.

The Mountain

The park will have to accommodate up to 11.000m3 rainwater, and this volume calls for a large part of the future park to be dedicated to water management functions for storing and cleansing the rainwater. This requires the creation of a number of excavated pools with hard surfaces, along with new biotopes, as part of a larger ‘water circuit’. How to dispose of the large amounts of soil?

By placing all the excess soil in the Southern part of the park, an intriguing new landscape element emerges as a mountain with commanding views of the entire park and surrounding neighbourhood. The Mountain provides a great sense of orientation and new activity opportunities, while in the same time inscribing the centrally located public space within the skyline of the city of Copenhagen. Seemingly alien to its flat context, The Mountain calls forth the landfill past of Amager, an island reclaimed from the sea. It provides a new and visible attraction, turning the park into a destination.

Water experience

Mitigating future flood risk will contribute most to the city if the adaptive measures applied store or drain excess water at ground level. However, the suitability of open urban spaces to store stormwater differs considerably. Based on the topography of the site, we propose a water circuit consisting of a cleansing biotope at the Eastern park edge connected with a paved ‘valley’ – an open urban space suitable to store stormwater – which in turn is connected with underground pipes to the sewer discharge system towards West.

The water from the different rainfall events creates an ever-changing landscape that is experienced and used differently, depending on the amount of rainwater. The water is integrated in the park both as a permanent element in the form of the lake/biotope and as changeable element in the paved basins. Integrating the water into the park increases the sense of security and life quality, as the water promotes social activity and a ‘play&learning’ landscape, as well as a life-giving experience and reminder of the vitality of nature.

Client: Municipality of Copenhagen

Program: retrofit of 3.5 ha large Remiseparken, including cloudburst masterplan

Year: 2016

Location: Urbanplanen, Amager, Copenhagen

Team: Serban Cornea, Kristina Jordt Adsersen, Henrik Ulsfort, Giulia Ronco, Giulia Bortolozzo

Collaborators: Møller&Grønborg, Alectia, Gemeinschaft

Budget: 44.5 mio kr

Status: restricted competition