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Nordhavnen, Sustainable City Competition
October 10th, 2009

Khoury Levit Fong in partnership with Brown + Storey Architects

Location: Nordhavnen,Copenhagen

KLF Principals in charge: R. el-Khoury and R. Levit

BSA Principals in charge: James Brown and Kim Storey

KLF Design Team: James Dixon, Sando Thordarson, Rui Zhou, Mike Fung, Jessica Russell

BSA Design/Presentation Team: Stephen King, Brian Laye, Jordan Ludington, Talal Rahmah, Scott Torrance

Renderings: Yusef Frasier, Dickson Ho, Renee Leung

The dramatic potential of the Nordhavnen site for a new vibrant and ecologicallysound extension of Copenhagen has shaped our proposal

We planned the city as a thick and dense longitudinal cluster along a new subwayline with a direct connection to the city-center. The plan is simple: it minimizes thedistances travelled by the inhabitants by concentrating the greatest viable density inthe closest possible proximity to public transportation.

In order to achieve the optimal rapport between density and effi ciency, we consolidatedand concentrated building mass and open space into distinct and adjacentrealms rather than distributing them evenly across the site. The building massis packed along the transportation infrastructure to constitute a dense urban corewhile large areas are cleared or preserved as open space. The advantage of thisstrategy of consolidation and differentiation is twofold: it results in a dense pedestrian-oriented realm that thrives on the synergy of proximate and concentratedamenities; it also yields urban parks that are large enough to accommodate expansiveactivities and viable ecologies.

We maximized density without compromising the quality and viability of the urbanenvironment through a combination of innovative and traditional building types.Stacked row houses and point-entry perimeter blocks make up the fabric of whatwe have called the garden neighbourhoods to the east and west of the subway line.These neighbourhoods draw upon the sedimented wisdom of long evolving buildingtypologies —fl exible, historically rooted, continuously updated and modern.

Down the central spine of the project a zig-zag of buildings that combines mid-riseand tower forms rises from vaulted passages. These vaults criss-cross a centrallandscape over the subway line. At stations the vaults extend downwards becomingthe walls of the below-ground station and, in doing so, bind together the worldof transportation underground to the beautiful vaulted park-scape above ground.The public infrastructure of transportation (the subway) is lent a unique collectivelanguage that appears in each of the new subway line stations and shapes the publicdomain at the base of buildings built over this line of mass transit. The surfacesof the vaults and station walls could be of coloured tile shifting in colour throughoutthe line’s length.

The vaulted forms along the central spine of the project represent a monumentaland collective scale that gives sensuous form to the construction of large scaletransportation infrastructure and relates it to individual buildings. At the other endof the scale a number of housing types from the smallest scale of cabanas, to drifthouses, and fl exible live work types accommodate the broad range of living arrangementsand scales of formal organization appropriate to a diverse urban milieu.

The link between Nordhavnen and existing urban matrix of Cophenhagen is affectedthrough the extension of two streets, Silkeborggade and Arhusgade, from theexisting urban grid. These streets pass under the railroad and bend up and into theprimary alignments of the new Nordhavnen. In our proposal these streets are primarystreets where commercial activity will be located and where secondary transportation infrastructure will run. The goal has been to establish the most seamlesscontinuity possible between existing city and Nordhavnen extension.Along these routes one passes a number of singular urban buildings, a new energyplant, a vaulted market hall/subway station (that introduces the themes of the subway/vault park infrastructure), and a columnar hall that opens onto the fi rst of theseries of slips that enter the Nordhavnen site from the east.

Further up, past a slip dedicated to competitive rowing one has entered the gardenneighbourhoods. In these a series of secondary and tertiary roads introduce carfreebike and pedestrian networks in both the north east direction and east west.The pedestrian networks running east-west link the central areas of the project toparks to east and west.

The edges of Nordhavnen permit a great variety of public spaces. To the west wehave established a curved parkside boulevard with wide tree lined sidewalks. Thisboulevard overlooks a long linear park looking back to land and an existing marina.To the east each slip is lent a distinctive programmatic identity. These include aferry terminal slip, a slip dedicated to competitive rowing, the next is a narrow residentialslip, the last combines a cruise ship terminal with, hotel, commerce, a beachand a large Olympic pool located on an island within the slip. Spectacular publicspaces alternate with more daily function and dwelling in these thematically distinctmeetings of water and land.