Nørreport Station in Copenhagen, Denmark, is the busiest station in the country with roughly 250,000 people bustling through it daily. Since the 60s, the station has developed into a vast and chaotic intersection in the middle of the city. The new Nørreport Station is composed of a series of rounded, floating roofs, mounted on striking glass pavilions. A study of pedestrians’ preferred routes has formed the basis for the station’s new design, providing an open and welcoming public space with specific thought directed to the needs of cyclists and pedestrians. Ample bike parking is a main feature accommodating 2,500 parking lots for bikes. In order to create a clear hierarchy between the area for bicycles and the area for city life, all bicycle parking is placed 40 cm below the city floor – as sunken ‘bicycle beds’. In this way the new Nørreport Station becomes a different kind of station – a completely open space consisting of variations of organic suspended roofs and pathways that fluently integrate with the city around it. It is a space of constant flow that one gradually becomes part of as one moves with the stream of people to and from the many underground platforms. The project is done in collaboration with COBE, Gottlieb Paludan Architects, Sweco, Bartenbach Lichtlabor and Aarsleff Rail.
Our urban culture is rapidly transforming from private to public, challenging our lifestyles by requiring us to negotiate much more frequently between interior and exterior environments. This sets new demands for a successful, liveable city. The number of urban events in Copenhagen today outnumbers the number of home events during an average person’s week. This new urban culture sets a new agenda for our daily lives and gives rise to new requirements for the physical layout of our cities and collective places. What if the city was your personal responsibility? How would you inhabit it and treat it? What if we applied the social qualities of our homes to the city? We could treat every single public space as an extension of our homes. Instead of private retreats, they would become spaces for social interaction. Perhaps then, our cities would finally function as collective places for everyone.
This is central to us, when designing a new public space. At Nørreport Station, the key was to design a public space where the pedestrians are the highest priority. Creating a collective place where the chaotic traffic is pushed aside, making room for living and experiencing the city. The new station is not only a station, but also an urban landscape for people that reorganizes the infrastructural hierarchy and transforms public infrastructure to public space.