Superkilen: urban rehab in Copenhagen
A strongly international quarter of the Copenhagen neighbour is revitalized using open space as a physical framework. This space is to be propelled beyond its current role as a mono-functional transit area into being innovative and dense with synchronicities.
A black square, a red square and a green park are the matrix of dialogue among the different culture living in Superkilen.
As part of this dialogue, the design reattributes an essential motif from garden-history. In the garden, the translocation of an ideal, the reproduction of a another place, of a far off landscape, is a common theme through time. Where the historic Chinese garden features miniature rock formations of famous mountain ranges, the Japanese zen garden abstracts the sea into waves of gravel. The historic gardens in Florence or Versailles are loaden with allegorical depictions and the historic English landscape garden showcases replications of Greek ruins.
In Superkilen this theme finds a contemporary urban form: the global, universal garden. Here, the transfer of significative elements from other places and cultures reflects the multi-ethnic structure of the neighborhood and activates it. In many months of workshops and conversations with residents and local associations the creativity and fantasy of the quarter has been mobilized. Civic participation has been developed as a motor for the design principle of multitude.
Round benches, fountains, lamps, fitness equipment and sundry more now projects Superkilen’s diversity and international personality onto the matrix of a versatile neighborhood park.
The light advertisements from many countries on the red square are probably the most obvious markers of this cultural transfer. The imported advertisement alienates the place in an almost theatrical way. The commmercial objects, all begging for attention, actually fall short of their culturally specific target group. In the process, however, they become ambassadors and activists of a global urban culture. The synchronously staged repertoire of advertisements illuminates and mobilizes the neighborhood’s international character in times of information and communication. Meanwhile, the flashing neon advertisement for a Japanese pachinko parlour surprises and astonishes as much as historic chinoseries in a landscape garden, while telephone cells from Latinamerica create the flicker of an illusion of a beach promenade.
Location: Norrebro, Copenhagen (Denmark)
Client: Realdania and the Community of Copenhagen
Size: 27.000 m2
Prize: 1st Prize
Project: Topotek (Berlin), B.I.G. Architects (Copenhagen), Superflex (Copenhagen), HELP Kommunikation, Heine Petersen