Superkilen Urban Park Copenhagen – Park of parks
Superkilen is a half a mile long urban space wedging through one of the most ethnically diverse and socially challenged neighborhoods in Denmark. A collage of stories and urban situations from around the world: Bjarke Ingels Group, Topotek1 and SUPERFLEX’s response to Copenhagen’s most multi-cultural district.
Superkilen is an urban park project in Copenhagen divided into three main areas: the red square, the black market and the green park. While the red square designates the modern, urban life with café, music and sports, the black market is the classic square with fountain and benches. The green park is a park for picnics, sports and walking the dog. The people living in the immediate vicinity of the park relate to more than 50 different nationalities. Instead of using the designated city objects/furnitures used for parks and public spaces, people from the area was asked to nominate specific city objects such as benches, bins, trees, playgrounds, manhole covers and signage from other countries. These objects were chosen from a country of the inhabitant’s national origin or from somewhere else encountered through traveling. The objects were either produced in a 1:1 copy or bought and transported to the site. Furthermore, five groups traveled to Palestine, Spain, Thailand, Texas and Jamaica in order to acquire five specific objects. The objects have since been installed throughout the park. In total there are more than 100 different object encountered from more than 50 different countries.
The project is divided into three color-coded areas, each with a distinct atmospheric and functional condition: the large and expansive red square which serves as an extension of the adjacent sports hall offering a range of recreational and cultural activities; the black square as the heart of the Superkilen where locals can meet by the Moroccan fountain or a game of chess; and a linear green stretch as a natural meeting place for large-scale sports activities providing vantage points over the surroundings.
The three areas form the backdrop to the surrealist collection of global urban diversity of more than 100 objects from 60 cultures which reflect the true nature of the local neighborhood. The objects were selected through an intensive curatorial process in close collaboration with the local population.
The design of Superkilen was driven by two overarching ideas: first, that the park would become a vehicle for celebrating the neighborhood’s multicultural heritage, and, second, that it would serve as a giant exhibition of urban best practice. Superkilen features trails for pedestrians and cyclists, connections to local transport, and outdoor recreation spaces, as well as a market space and areas for games.
The different surfaces and colors of Superkilen’s three zones are integrated to form new, dynamic surroundings for the everyday objects— benches, lampposts, trash cans, and plants—exhibited throughout the park. These objects were all selected by area residents, who represent more than 50 nationalities. A variety of trees and other vegetation, arranged as small islands of diverse species, match the origin of the surrounding everyday objects.
Because the existing site was relatively new and already included a well-functioning bike path, the design incorporated as much of the existing landscape and pavement as possible. To save money and energy, soil from the site was simply moved (instead of removed), and strong, sustainable materials were used on resurfaced areas.
Jury Comments – AIA Honor Awards for Regional and Urban Design Jury:
- This project is a joy! This is not only original, but stunning to behold. It is noteworthy for its aesthetic approach, which is straightforwardly artificial rather than pretending to be natural. One of the project’s most exciting dimensions is its inclusion of the diverse community of users. Its bold use of color and public art (both high and popular) in spaces that promote social interaction and engagement all exude a high level of excitement and energy through what once looked like residual space. SUPERKILEN shows what can be done with an open, inventive approach within severe cost limitations. It is not afraid to have fun and to not take itself too seriously. It demonstrates the value of powerful visual and spatial moves while keeping connected to the realities of a contemporary multicultural context: the condition of many European cities.
- The form of the project grew from a community participation process that led to a clear identity and enjoyable series of spaces. As a formal expression it breaks down into pieces and fits very nicely into the scale of the surrounding area as an interesting patchwork.
It has one overarching idea that it is conceived as a giant exhibition of urban best practice – a sort of collection of global found objects that come from 60 different nationalities of the people inhabiting the area surrounding it. Ranging from exercise gear from muscle beach LA to sewage drains from Israel, palm trees from China and neon signs from Qatar and Russia. Each object is accompanied by a small stainless plate inlaid in the ground describing the object, what it is and where it is from – in Danish and in the language(s) of its origin. In this way, Superkilen reattributes motifs from garden history. In the garden, the translocation of an ideal, the reproduction of another place, such as a far off landscape, is a common theme through time. As the Chinese reference the mountain ranges with the miniature rocks, the Japanese the ocean with their rippled gravel, or how the Greek ruins are showcased as replicas in the English gardens. Superkilen is a contemporary, urban version of a universal garden. A sort of surrealist collection of global urban diversity that in fact reflects the true nature of the local neighborhood – rather than perpetuating a petrified image of homogenous Denmark.
Superkilen is the result of the creative collaboration between BIG, Topotek1 and SUPERFLEX, which constitutes a rare fusion of architecture, landscape architecture and art – from early concept to construction site.
A WORLD EXHIBITION AT NØRREBRO:
Superkilen is a park that supports diversity. It is a world exhibition of furniture and everyday objects from all over the world, including benches, lampposts, trash cans and plants – requisites that every contemporary park should include and that the future visitors of the park have helped to select.
THREE ZONES, THREE COLORS – ONE NEIGHBORHOOD:
The conceptual starting point is a division of Superkilen into three zones and colors – green, black and red. The different surfaces and colors are integrated to form new, dynamic surroundings for the everyday objects.
The desire for more nature is met through a significant increase of vegetation and plants throughout the whole neighborhood arranged as small islands of diverse tree sorts, blossom periods, colors – and origin matching the one of surrounding everyday objects.
To create better and more transparent infrastructure throughout the neighborhood, the current bike paths will be reorganized, new connections linking to the surrounding neighborhoods are created, with emphasis on the connection to Mimersgade, where citizens have expressed desire for a bus passage. This transition concerns the whole traffic in the area at outer Norrebro and is a part of a greater infrastructure plan. Alternatives to the bus passage include signals, an extended middle lane or speed bumps.
THE RED SQUARE – MARKET/CULTURE/SPORT:
As an extension of the sports and cultural activities at the Norrebrohall, the Red Square is conceived as an urban extension of the internal life of the hall. A range of recreational offers and the large central square allows the local residents to meet each other through physical activity and games.
The colored surface is integrated both in terms of colors and material with the Nørrebrohall and its new main entrance, where the surface merges inside and outside in the new foyer.
Facades are incorporated visually in the project by following the color of the surface conceptually folding upwards and hereby creating a three-dimensional experience. By the large facade towards Norrebrogade is an elevated open space, which almost like a tribune enables the visitors to enjoy the afternoon sun with a view.
In addition to the cultural and sportsfacilities, the Red Square creates the setting for an urban marketplace which attracts visitors every weekend from Copenhagen and the suburbs.
Superkilen’s central marketplace is located in the area of the existing hockey field. A large area on the square is covered by a multifunctional rubber surface to enable ballgames, markets, parades, and skating rinks in winter etc. The mobile tribunes of Norrebrohallen can be moved there for open-air movie/sports presentations. The square towards East allows outdoor service from the café inside by the future main entrance. Towards North, the visitors will enjoy basketball courts, parking spaces and an outdoor fitness area.
The red square is defined by a street in each end and building and fences along the sides. The edge is moving in and out – and we have tied the area together by connecting the surrounding given lines and edges in the big red pattern. A big red carped stretched out between all sides of the square.
Fitness area, Thai boxing, playground (slide from Chernobyl, Iraqi swings, Indian climbing playground), Sound system from Jamaica, a stencil of Salvador Allende, plenty of benches (from Brazil, classic UK cast Iron litter bins, Iran and Switzerland), bike stands and a parking area.
Only red trees except the existing ones.
Basket ball next to parking.
THE BLACK SQUARE – URBAN LIVING ROOM:
Mimers Plads is the heart of the Superkilen Masterplan. This is where the locals meet around the Moroccan fountain, the Turkish bench, under the Japanese cherry-trees as the extension of the area’s patio. In weekdays, permanent tables, benches and grill facilities serve as an urban living room for backgammon, chess players etc.
The bike traffic is moved to the East side of the Square by partly solving the problem of height differences towards Midgaardsgade and enable a bike ramp between Hotherplads and the intersecting bike path connection. Towards North is a hill facing south with a view to the square and its activity.
The square can be spotted by the big, dentist neon sign from Doha, Qatar.
Brazilian bar chairs under the Chinese palm trees, Japanese octopus playground next to the long row of Bulgarian picnic tables and Argentinean BBQ’s, Belgian benches around the cherry trees, UV (black light) light highlighting all white from the American shower lamp, Norwegian bike rack with a bike pump, Liberian cedar trees.
To protect from the street ending at the north east corner of the square and to meet the wishes from the neighbors, we have folded up a corner of the square creating a covered space.
Unlike the pattern on the red square, the white lines on Mimers Plads are all moving in straight lines from north to south, curving around the different furniture to avoid touching it. Here the pattern is highlighting the furniture instead of just being a caped under it.
THE GREEN PARK – SPORT/PLAY:
Bauman once said that “sport is one of the few institutions in society, where people can still agree on the rules”. No matter where you’re from, what you believe in and which language you speak, you can always play football together. This is why a number of sports facilities are moved to the Green Park, including the existing hockey field with an integrated basketball court as it will create a natural gathering spot for local young people from Mjolnerpark and the adjacent school.
The activities of the Green Park with its soft hills and surfaces appeals to children, young people and families. A green landscape and a playground where families with children can meet for picnics, sunbathing and breaks in the grass, but also hockey tournaments, badminton games and workout between the hills.
The neighbors asked for more green so we ended up making the green park completely green – not only keeping and exaggerating the curvy landscape, but also painting all bike- and pedestrian paths green.
From Tagensvej at the very north, the park is welcoming with a big rotating neon sign from USA, a big Italian chandelier and a black Osborne Bull from Costa del Sol (a wish from a Danish couple living in the area!).
Armenian picnic tables next to Mjølnerparken with South African BBQ’s, a volcano shapes sports arena for basket ball and football, a line dance pavilion from Texas, muscle beach from LA with a high swing from Kabul, Spanish ping pong tables and a pavilion for the kids to hang out in.
The green park is turning into Mimers Plads on the top of the hill to the south. From the top of the hill you can almost overlook the entire Superkilen.
How do you create a solid and open framework that can satisfy the wishes and needs of 60 cultures and thousands of individuals?
Superkilen is a half a mile long urban space wedging through one of the most ethnically diverse and socially challenged neighborhoods in Denmark. It has one overarching idea that it is conceived as a giant exhibition of urban best practice – a sort of collection of global found objects that come from 60 different nationalities of the people inhabiting the area surrounding it. Ranging from exercise gear from muscle beach LA to sewage drains from Israel, palm trees from China and neon signs from Qatar and Russia. Each object is accompanied by a small stainless plate inlaid in the ground describing the object, what it is and where it is from – in Danish and in the language(s) of its origin. A sort of surrealist collection of global urban diversity that in fact reflects the true nature of the local neighborhood – rather than perpetuating a petrified image of homogenous Denmark.
The project is not a finalized art piece but an open creation that will receive content and shape throught the diologue with the users. The choice of colours and materials begin as neutral to language and culture but acquire a meaning over time as they are used in the cityspace and populated by the inhabitants.
The different surfaces and colours of the area are integrated so that they become a backdrop for a variety of objects chosen by the citizens and curated by the designers. This backdrop is at the same time neutral, distinctive and discreet. The Superkilen project is part of a partnership between Copenhagen Municipality and Realdania. The goal is to make the Nørrebro neighbourhood become the center of innovative urban spaces of international standard which can be an inspiration for other cities and neighbourhoods.
An urban park project in Copenhagen divided into three main areas: The Red Square, The Black Market and The Green Park. While The Red Square designates the modern, urban life with café, music and sports, The Black Market is the classic square with fountain and benches. The Green Park is a park for picnics, sports and walking the dog.
The people living in the immediate vicinity of the park relate to more than 50 different nationalities. Instead of using the designated city objects/furnitures used for parks and public spaces, people from the area was asked to nominate specific city objects such as benches, bins, trees, playgrounds, manhole covers and signage from other countries. These objects were chosen from a country of the inhabitant’s national origin or from somewhere else encountered through traveling. The objects were either produced in a 1:1 copy or bought and transported to the site.
Furthermore, five groups traveled to Palestine, Spain, Thailand, Texas and Jamaica in order to acquire five specific objects. The objects have since been installed throughout the park. In total there are more than 100 different object encountered from more than 50 different countries.
Commissioned by City of Copenhagen and RealDania, the concept for Superkilen is developed by SUPERFLEX in collaboration with architectural firms Bjarke Ingels Group (BIG) and Topotek1.
Experience Superkilen, a new urban park project in Nørrebro in Copenhagen, where lamp posts, manhole covers, fountains, etc. have been gathered from more than 50 different countries.
The more than 100 different objects in the park all have a special history, compiled in this app. Read about e.g. the elephant slide from Chernobyl or the Ethiopian bench from the site where the first humans walked the earth. Text, images, and film footage will guide you through the three areas of Superkilen: The Red Square, The Black Market, and The Green Park.
- Apple iOS / iTunes: http://itunes.apple.com/dk/app/superkilen/id535457470
- Android / Google PLay: https://play.google.com/store/apps/details?id=dk.superkilen
- Experience the app in a web-browser: http://superflex.net/superkilen
Project name: Superkilen
Location: Nørrebro, Copenhagen, Denmark – from Norrebrogade to Tagensvej
Type: Public Space, City Space, Square / Plaza
Site Area: 3.3 Ha / 30,000 sqm / 322917 sq.ft / 750 m long
Cost: $ 10 million / € 7.8 million / RMB 62 million
Completion Year: Spring 2012
Client / Owner / Developer: Copenhagen Municipality, Realdania
Architects: BIG – Kløverbladsgade 56, 2500 Valby, Copenhagen, Denmark
- Big Partner In Charge: Bjarke Ingels
- Big Project Leader: Nanna Gyldholm Møller, Mikkel Marcker Stubgaard
- Big Design Team: Ondrej Tichy, Jonas Lehmann, Rune Hansen, Jan Borgstrøm, Lacin Karaoz, Jonas Barre, Nicklas Antoni Rasch, Gabrielle Nadeau, Jennifer Dahm Petersen, Richard Howis, Fan Zhang, Andreas Castberg, Armen Menendian, Jens Majdal Kaarsholm, Jan Magasanik
Landscape Architect: Topotek1 – Gesellschaft von Landschaftsarchitekten mbH, Sophienstrasse 18 10178 Berlin, Germany
- Topotek 1 Partner In Charge: Martin Rein-Cano, Lorenz Dexler
- Topotek 1 Project Leader: Ole Hartmann, Anna Lundquist
- Topotek 1 Design Team: Toni Offenberger, Katia Steckemetz , Cristian Bohne, Karoline Liedtke
Art Consultant: Superflex – Blågårdsgade 11B, DK-2200 Copenhagen, Denmark
- Superflex Partner In Charge: Superflex
- Superflex Project Leader: Superflex
- Superflex Design Team: Jakob Fenger, Rasmus Nielsen, Bjørnstjerne Christiansen
Collaboration: Lemming Eriksson, Help PR & Communication
Text Description: © Courtesy of BIG, Superflex,
Images: © BIG, Dragor Luft, Iwan Baan, Hasse Ferrold, Jens Lindhe, Maria da Schio, Torben Eskerod, Joosten, Mike Magnussen, Superflex