Copenhagen Gallery

Kalvebod Brygge West

In the future a meandering green landscape will flank the densely built commercial district of Kalvebod Brygge. This green stretch will interweave the office buildings with vibrant urban life, transforming this once vilified district into an attractive one.

When it comes to a list of the least attractive areas in Copenhagen, Kalvebod Brygge is near the top. Boring office buildings and heavy traffic have divested the district of life. It is a prime example of how not to go about town planning. 

No longer vilified, but attractive

A number of initiatives will inject life into the district, which today looms like a deserted barrier between the harbour and the rest of the city. Already Kalvebod Bølge (Kalvebod Waves) and Bryggebroen (the Bryggebro Bridge) have played their part, while in the future Cykelslangen (the Bicycle Snake) and the new green areas will continue Kalvebod Brygge's transformation from a once reviled to an attractive commercial district.

New trends in commercial building

In 2011 the new headquarters of SEB Bank & Pension represented the start of a brand new vision for commercial construction in Copenhagen. Buildings and landscape were planned in tandem, creating an area, which could be experienced holistically. The organic buildings seem to grow out of the landscape, which rises above street level. It is this fusion of active urban space and well-functioning commercial district, which has set the tone for the new Kalvebod Brygge.

Green hills in the heart of Copenhagen

Right now the green area stretches only from SEB to the Tivoli Hotel. In the future this "hilly landscape" will wind its way across the Dybbølsbro Bridge to Otto Busses Vej in the south and spread over the empty railway freight area. The landscape will rise gradually, meeting the Dybbølsbro Bridge at the top, before descending again. Along the route, some areas will be highlighted with ornate flowerbeds, while others will have tall trees and a more rugged landscape. 

Peaceful alternative to Kalvebod Brygge

For cyclists and pedestrians this new landscape-like area will offer a peaceful alternative to the heavy traffic of Kalvebod Brygge. The route will not be the shortest route from A to B. On the other hand, it will offer a sensuous experience and a lovely view. At the same time, the green aspect is not merely visual. It will also help to solve the climate problems of dealing with water and wind.

The city will be better tied together

Kalvebod Brygge West will be a recreational link across poorly integrated areas. To the south the link will provide better access to the new neighbourhoods on Teglholmen and Sluseholmen. Meanwhile, if you are travelling west or east, Dybbølsbro will be a nerve centre for traffic across the Kalvebod Brygge. From here cyclists can free wheel from Vesterbro to Islands Brygge via Cykelslangen and the Bryggebro Bridge

Vibrant green commercial district

All this new vegetation will provide fertile ground for the growth of a wonderful range of buildings. These will primarily be of a commercial nature, with shops and other activities at street level. So, while Kalvebod Brygge will continue to be a commercial district, it will also be a unique, vibrant green area. The buildings will be distinctive, high and varied, and will be visible from far away, a sight to welcome visitors to the centre of Copenhagen.

Construction of the project has already begun and should be finished by 2017. 

Background: Kalvebod Brygge in the 1990s

In the mid 1990s there was not much construction activity in Copenhagen. The sole building crane in the city was located at Kalvebod Brygge, and was only used for bungee jumping. It can be hard to imagine today, but at the time Kalvebod Brygge was mainly occupied by trailers!

In 1994 Copenhagen hit rock bottom with a massive debt of DKK 15 bn and an unemployment rate of 17%. The City of Copenhagen was compelled to hand over Kalvebod Brygge to the then Ørestad Development Corporation as part of an economic recovery plan. The company subsequently sold it on to the contracting company Skanska for DKK 170 m. Now the cranes could really do their stuff! Building was random, and with no district planning or urban planning on the part of the municipality. The result, as everyone knows, was highly unpopular.

Wednesday, October 30, 2013 / By Ida Oline Frandsen

Last updated Thursday, July 10, 2014