Behind the Image

Copenhagen Kalvebod Bølge, Denmark

Lionel Eid, George Garofalakis, Rosie Garvey and Alice Raggett

copyright Neptuul

Reclaiming space: Kalvebod Bølge does not create new connections across the Sydhavnen river. Instead, it reclaims space along the length of the waterfront and provides a new promenade containing facilities for play, sport and pleasure.

Levels and activity: At the water’s edge there are areas designated for swimming and kayaking. Above are several walkways intended for fast and slow movement. The promenade offers many options from playful routes and places to pause, to more direct paths for jogging and cycling.

Objects in space: Benches, bins and exercise and play equipment are the only pieces of urban furniture occupying a considerably large and otherwise sparse open space. Could the hardness of the promenade be augmented with soft landscaping?

copyright Guillaume Baviere

A beach for the city: In good weather, Kalvebod Bølge is transformed into an urban amphitheatre with beach-like qualities. The stepped levels provide areas for sunbathing without interfering with the movement function of the public space.

Simplicity and texture: A limited material palette of timber and concrete has been applied across the public space in wave-like, sculptural geometries. Cycling is discouraged in some areas through a subtle demarcation of paths that have coarser textures in wood.

Risk and trust: A ramp encourages visitors to take a risk and plunge into the water, trusting that people will do so responsibly. The absence of bollards, fencing and cautionary signage encourages a sense of individual freedom. This lack of clutter is part of what makes the spaces feel so successful.

URBAN DESIGN 152 Autumn 2019 Publication Urban Design Group

As featured in URBAN DESIGN 152 Autumn 2019

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Introducing playfulness to a business oriented part of the city, the Kalvebod ‘wave’ brings this neighbourhood closer to the water

In each issue of Behind the Image, one of our contributors visits a contemporary public space from around the world. The photography tries to reveal an alternative perspective on a familiar precedent, famous space or place. These images illustrate how the public space works in practice: exploring its features (designed and unintended), and the way it relates to the surrounding context.