Other participantsSWECO, Bartenbach
Text description provided by the architects. Nørreport Station in Copenhagen is Denmark’s busiest transport hub. It was originally established in 1916, modernized in 1934 and in need of fundamental renovation in 2012. Following three years of construction work, the station in the heart of Copenhagen has been transformed into an open and accessible urban space with clear focus on the needs of pedestrians and cyclists.
The few buildings on the forecourt are built mainly in glass and have rounded shapes, providing room for the constant swarm of people and emphasizing the clarity and natural flow of the layout, which gives people a sense of security. Materials are simple with natural surfaces, securing low maintenance demands– white concrete, granite, glass and stainless steel. When darkness falls, the lighting becomes a feature as well as a means of navigation and the towers ventilating the underground platforms rise as luminous landmarks for the area.
This cohesive space has no backs or corners. The design and layout of the buildings and bicycle parking facilities on the forecourt are based on a study of the flows of pedestrians from the surrounding roads and across the forecourt or down the stairs into the station.
The forecourt has been designed as an extension of the city’s ‘floor’ and direct pedestrian access has been established from the surrounding pedestrianized zones to the station forecourt, while vehicular traffic has been redirected, leaving only one traffic artery north of the station. Parking facilities have been made for 2100 bicycles on the forecourt in the so-called ‘bicycle beds’ which are recessed in relation to the general surface of the forecourt in order to secure a clear hierarchy and unobstructed views of the space as a whole.
The station and the forecourt are used by about 350,000 train passengers and passers-by on a daily basis, making it Denmark’s busiest transport hub. Therefore, the efficiency of the flows created was a crucial aspect of the project proposal from the outset. In addition, priority was given to making space for an urban atmosphere with activities which reflects the vibrant, dynamic metropolitan city of Copenhagen. In line with this idea, the parked bicycles are not hidden away; on the contrary, they are on display as an important aspect of the life of the city and of Copenhagen’s identity as the world’s best city for cyclists.
What was a tired urban space characterized as chaotic, unsafe and noisy is after the transformation characterized as a place where safety, comfort and efficiency are the key words and the daily user is in focus. In contrast to before, the area is now a place where people sit down, take a break and watch the world go by.
Gottlieb Paludan Architects and COBE designed the new station and forecourt with all its functions and facilities, having submitted the winning entry in the international architectural competition in 2009. SWECO (previously Grontmij) was engineering consultant and Bartenbach was in charge of lighting design.