The main structural concept is to cut through the harbour space with intersecting canals and basins, thus dividing the area into a number of small islets. The islets act as identity-creating units that are easy to take in and ensure closeness to water everywhere, just as they offer varied spatial experiences because of different canal widths. Each of the islets feature specific qualities, and on each of them housing is mixed with commercial facilities, public institutions, service trades, urban spaces, squares, parks, niche parks, nature areas, cafés and restaurants in a way that takes the individual islet’s location in the overall structure into account.
Strong emphasis is put on bikes and public transportation. In Nordhavnen, it should be easier to walk, cycle or use public transport than to travel by car. That is why the area is consistently laid out on the basis of the five-minute-city principle. Short distances from housing and workplaces to public transport, bicycle paths, green areas, public institutions and commercial facilities are characteristic of the entire district. An elevated metro loop paired with express bike lanes tie the area together.
Nordhavnen is a green and blue city district. With its canals and coastlines, Nordhavnen has water as its nearest neighbour. There is always a green area just around the corner: from local pocket parks and promenades to open coastal expanses, beaches and large scenic areas.
The strategy for the sustainable city district is to implement well-known sustainable solutions from the beginning, while at the same time ensuring that the district will be able to adapt to future needs and opportunities. The focus will be on local renewable energy sources and collective solutions. For instance surface water is a valuable resource that will be reused or treated and discharged locally. Electricity, heating and cooling will be generated, transported and consumed in a sustainable manner. Shared energy supply systems will be discreetly integrated into buildings and urban structures in order to provide access to low-cost sustainable energy. And power consumption will be kept at a minimum through the integration of information technology to control and monitor it.
Nordhavnen will be developed over several years and into an unforeseeable future, so it is important to create a dynamic structure to govern the physical organisation of the site. A dynamic principle for the development of the area will be applied. It is called ’the intelligent grid’. The intelligent grid divides the islets into flexible building zones that border on the right-angled structure at the site. Each building zone represents an area in which buildings may be erected. The zones will be filled over time and can be transformed and subdivided as and when needed. The intelligent grid structures functions and urban typologies relative to public transport, and reduces problems of for instance wind tunnels and wind-swept urban spaces by staggering the built structures.
This means that a both flexible and robust framework is provided by the combination of islets and the intelligent grid that will make it possible to manage construction in the area for many years to come.
Northern harbour, Copenhagen
Urban development / mixed use
Copenhagen City and Port Development
Gross Floor Area:
3-4 mio. sqm
COBE, SLETH MODERNISM, Polyform and Rambøll
Nordhavnen is probably the most extensive, most ambitious metropolis development project in Scandinavia in the years to come. With its location only 4 kilometres from the city centre of Copenhagen Nordhavnen is likely to become a unique city district in Copenhagen. The new district will be developed over the next 40 to 50 years.