One of Copenhagen’s newest green parks, the Sankt Kjelds Square and Bryggervangen, has just received Copenhagen’s most prestigious architecture prize — the Arne of the Year Award. Designed by Danish design studio SLA, the nearly 35,000-square-meter urban park is most notable for its effective solutions to cloudbursts, a term describing sudden heavy rainfall that can trigger violent flash floods. Using blue-green space as a sponge for rainwater, the cloudburst adaptation project not only mitigates the effects of cloudbursts, but also increases biodiversity, improves health and quality of life for local citizens and reduces air pollution and the urban heat island effect.

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a large green city space surrounded by roads and tall buildings

Completed in 2019, Sankt Kjelds Square and Bryggervangen comprises a large public space with a seamlessly integrated ecosystem of services for absorbing stormwater runoff and enhancing biodiversity. The project, which was created by SLA in collaboration with NIRAS, Viatrafik, Jens Rørbech and contractor Ebbe Dalsgaard, replaced 9,000 square meters of asphalt with new green space. Nearly 600 trees — living and dead — as well as a lush planting palette have transformed the area into a green oasis. 

a green space with purple flowers and a person riding a bike in the distance

In addition to strengthening biodiversity and providing cloudburst protection, the green spaces help slow traffic in the area. Urban recreational areas have also been built into the park as have dedicated bike lanes, wheelchair-accessible walkways, and stepping stone paths that wind through the dense forest-like environment. 

Related: C.F. Møller’s Storkeengen tackles climate challenges in a Danish town

an overhead shot of a green space with a curved walkway cutting through it

“In the design of the project’s new nature, we use ecosystem services to not only protect the city from flooding after cloudbursts, purify polluted air, improve microclimate and provide a social foundation for the neighborhood,” Stig L. Andersson, founding partner and design director of SLA, said. “We also create a whole new experience of what it means to live in a city. In Sankt Kjelds and Bryggervangen, there is a new aesthetic connection between man and nature. A connection that too many people have lost in the city today, and which more and more people are requesting.”


Images via SLA