book review

book review

Guide to New Architecture in Copenhagen

Danish Architecture Centre have just published a new edition of their Guide to New Architecture in Copenhagen.

There are 153 buildings or sites or themes covered that are divided between seven sections - Culture and Leisure, Urban Spaces, Housing, Public Buildings, Trade & Industry, Path & Links and last Master Plans. Each section has an introduction by a specialist or professional involved in architecture or planning in the city and then each entry has a photograph, summary of information including architect or engineer and client and date and then a brief assessment.

There is a fold-out map at the back to locate each building or site so this is very much a pocket guide book to carry around the city. Buildings or sites covered range in date from the Maritime Youth Centre from 2004, through works in progress, like the new inner harbour bridge at the end of Nyhavn, and schemes, like the extension to the Metro not due for completion until 2019 so new buildings covering some fifteen years although, of course, some of the larger projects started in their conception and planning stage in the last century.

As with previous editions of this guide, further information can be tracked down through the on-line site of the Danish Architecture Centre.

book review, streetscape

guide books to the architecture of Copenhagen


The best pocket guide to the architecture of the city, though admittedly for a large pocket, is the Copenhagen Architecture Guide by Olaf Lind and Annemarie Lund that was published by The Danish Architectural Press. The first edition came out in 1996 but a revised edition was published in 2005. This is still available from book shops and covers the major historic and modern buildings in the city and some major buildings or developments in the outer area going out as far as Taastrup to the west and Kokkedal to the north. 

There is an introduction with a general history of the city and then the inner area is divided into nine sections on a strict grid with a key map with the buildings numbered at the start of each section. This is rational but not always easy when walking around particularly in the densely-packed inner area so, for instance, the central station and the buildings around the lower lakes are in one section and the buildings around the upper lakes in an adjoining section and on a different map. This is really a minor quibble given just how much information is packed into this volume. 

The Danish Architecture Centre has produced a series of slim (if tall-for-most-pockets) guides to the most recent buildings. These were published in 2007/2008, in 2009 and the most recent in May 2013.

The first follows the structure of the overall city guide with 81 buildings or developments divided into ten areas of the city and each section starting with a map.

In 2009/2010 the revised edition changes the arrangement with 107 recent buildings or developments marked on a single fold-out key map at the back and with buildings grouped into seven subject sections - each with a short introduction by an appropriate professional. These sections are culture and leisure; urban spaces; homes; public buildings; office buildings; service developments (so including metro stations, bridges and cycle routes) and finally “helhedplaner” or masterplans … 17 distinct areas in the city where major work was in hand or proposed. I think that this edition was only published in Danish

The latest version from 2013 follows that new format with the same section headings but expanded to 137 buildings or schemes and with new and slightly longer introductions by new authors and with new photographs. This is published in an English version.

Both the 2007/2008 and the 2009/2010 editions were clearly linked with the Danish Architecture Centre on-line index on their web site which is a very useful starting point for information about the architect, engineers, client and in many cases the cost of projects and all under the title Copenhagen X. This data base is still being maintained and updated and still works if you tag a number of sites that you want to visit and then produce a customised guide book as a pdf file with maps, some images and basic but useful information so normally address, architect, engineer, floor area and so on. Downloaded to a tablet computer, this is a practical way to look at a group of specific buildings and usefully they can be put in the order that is most appropriate for the route you plan to take.

streetscape, topography, book review

Ny Agenda 2, Danish Landscape Architecture 2009-13


This second volume of Ny Agenda covers 39 landscape schemes from 29 different offices that were undertaken and completed between 2009 and 2013 - a final selection from 109 submissions. These have been grouped into five sections - New Sobriety, Heritage Reinterpreted, Exercise through Play, Urbanisation and Climate and Growing Power After All - to cover major trends that have been identified in design in landscape architecture over the five years. There is a foreword and an essay by Annemarie Lund on Old-time Values and an essay by Lisa Diedrich on The Danish Way - A European Glance at Danish Landscape Architecture.

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streetscape, gardens + parks, exhibition review, book review

Copenhagen Green

Last Summer there was an outdoor exhibition of photographs on Nytorv in Copenhagen, the large square in front of the old 18th-century town hall, and then later, from the middle of August, it was moved to the other end of the Walking Street onto Højbro Plads where it remained until the end of October.

The aim of the exhibition was to “strike a blow for the good city life and for the city’s green and sustainable places.” Photographs selected showed 100 sites around and just outside the city and showed all seasons … so from well-used public spaces like Frederiksberg Have (Frederiksberg Gardens) and the Søerne or lakes, that arc around the city centre to the west and north, to less well-known areas of green and planting like Kineserbyen (or the Yellow Town) and roof-top vegetable gardens of Østerbro and from the Spring blossom of Bispebjerg Kirkegård (cemetry) to the Winter frost covering Pinseskoven forest.

The photographs were stunning, particularly at the size they were printed, but the information and back stories of the long labels were also interesting and important … for instance there was one photograph and panel about the history of the distinct dark green paint used in the city for gates, doors, windows and benches. There were also clear location maps for finding the places profiled.

A book was published to accompany the exhibition, Copenhagen Green - 100 green things to see and do in Copenhagen, by Susanne Trier Norden and Poul Arnedal, for Foreningen By&Natur (June 2014)

There is also a fantastic web site, Discover Green Places in Copenhagen, with all the photographs and text but also additional maps and route directions ... you can browse from your armchair or plan a tour or start from where you are, if you are in Copenhagen, and look for nearby places and use the map and route directions to explore the city.

photographs of the exhibition when it was on Højbro Plads