Aga Khan Award for Architecture 2016 Winner: Superkilen, Copenhagen, Denmark

Architect: BIG-Bjarke Ingels Group, Superflex, Topotek 1 – Client: Copenhagen Municipality

Project Gallery

 

Project description

Superkilen is a kilometre-long urban park located in Nørrebro, a diverse and socially challenged neighbourhood of Copenhagen. Designed by architects BIG-Bjarke Ingels Group, artists Superflex and landscape architects TOPOTEK 1 in collaboration with the local – predominantly Muslim – community, the park takes the historical themes of the universal garden and the amusement park and translates them into a contemporary urban setting. With a healthy dose of irreverence, it sheds light on the positive dimensions of cultural diversity and invites people – young and old – to play.

Superkilen is part of a larger urban renewal plan developed as a partnership between the Municipality of Copenhagen and the private philanthropic association RealDania. Its name refers to the physical constraints of the site, a narrow ‘wedge’ (kilen) extending between two important traffic arteries. The park’s pedestrian paths and cycle routes provide better connections between these two roads, while its public lighting creates a greater sense of security – an important consideration in an area historically blighted by crime. Opening up previously hard-toreach neighbourhoods to the west and east, Superkilen plugs the area back into the infrastructure of the city as a whole.

Colour plays a significant role in the park, which is formally divided into three distinct zones organised around different programmes – Red Square (market/culture/sport), Black Market (urban living room), Green Park (sport/play). Of these, the most visually striking is the Black Market, inspired, according to the architects, by the Lars von Trier film Dogville (2003), which uses a minimal stage-like set with white lines on black ground. In the same way, the Black Market could be seen as a stage on which the local residents enact their identities in public space.

These multiple identities are evident in the trees and objects that furnish the park, chosen through an intensive participatory planning process. A swing bench from Baghdad, a star-shaped fountain from Morocco, chess tables from Sofia, basketball hoops from Mogadishu – these are among the park’s 108 objects from the 62 home countries of the local inhabitants. Together they form an exhibition of best-practice street furniture from all over the world, and symbolise the residents’
ownership of the park.

 

Jury citation

“Living with people who differ – racially, ethnically, religiously or economically – is the most urgent challenge facing contemporary civil society. At a time of growing global uncertainty and insecurity, it has become fashionable to talk in terms of ‘worlds’ – the third world, the Islamic world, the Arab world – as though these occupy a parallel universe, disconnected from the rest and subject to different rules. Superkilen, a new urban park in one of Copenhagen’s most diverse and socially challenged neighbourhoods, emphatically rejects this view with a powerful mixture of humour, history and hubris.”

“It is at once a highly personal yet deeply collective experience, marrying the experiences of migration with an eclectic assembly of displaced objects and innovative landscaping. Here architecture, landscape and art are fused in a truly interdisciplinary manner, providing new opportunities for shared public engagement. A number of different activities – cycling, walking, basketball, hockey – are offered in three separate but connected parks which together form a continuous surface with a marketplace, cafés, retail spaces and open-air gathering spots. In this way, the urban park becomes a public ‘stage’ where neighbours, strangers and visitors meet. Diversity, as the architects have noted, was not seen as a ‘problem’ that required a solution, but rather as a tool in a fluid, creative process that allowed the park to become both a powerful marker of identity and a subtle cultural mediator for the residents of this historically challenged neighbourhood.”

 

About

Bjarke Ingels – www.big.dk

Bjarke Ingels started BIG Bjarke Ingels Group in 2005 after co-founding PLOT Architects in 2001 and working at the Office of Metropolitan Architecture in Rotterdam, The Netherlands. Through a series of award-winning design projects and buildings, Bjarke has developed a reputation for designing buildings that are as programmatically and technically innovative as they are cost- and resource-conscious. He has received numerous awards and honours, including the Danish Crown Prince’s Culture Prize in 2011, the Golden Lion at the Venice Biennale in 2004, and the Urban Land Institute (ULI) Award for Excellence in 2009. In
2011, the Wall Street Journal awarded him the Architectural Innovator of the Year Award and, in 2016, Time Magazine named Bjarke one of the 100 most influential people in the world today.

Martin Rein-Cano – www.topotek1.de

Martin Rein-Cano was born in Buenos Aires in 1967. He studied art history at Frankfurt University and Landscape architecture at the Technical Universities of Hannover and Karlsruhe. After working in the office of Peter Walker and Martha Schwartz in San Francisco, in 1996 he founded TOPOTEK 1, a practice which partakes in a wide variety of international projects and has achieved first prize in various competitions. Several professional books and articles have been published exclusively on his work, which has been honoured with many awards and prizes. Martin Rein-Cano has been appointed as a guest professor in
different academic institutions in Europe and North America, such as the University of Pennsylvania and Harvard University. Presently he is teaching at the Dessau Institute for Architecture. He frequently lectures at internationally renowned universities and cultural institutions and regularly serves on competition juries.

SUPERFLEX – superflex.net

SUPERFLEX is an artist group that was founded in 1993 by Bjørnstjerne Christiansen, Jakob Fenger and Rasmus Nielsen. Their works, which challenge power structures and relate to economics, copyright law and self-organisation, are described by SUPERFLEX as tools, as proposals that invite people to participate in the development of experimental models to alter given structures and conditions. SUPERFLEX works within, and outside of, traditional art contexts. The group collaborates with architects, designers, engineers, businesses and marketers on tools which have the potential for social or economic change.

 

Project Data

Total area 33,000 m2
Total length 750 m
Cost 8,879,000 USD
Commission June 2008
Design January 2009 – February 2010
Construction August 2010 – June 2012
Completion June 2012

 

Aga Khan Award for Architecture Website

www.akdn.org/architecture

 

2016 Winners

 

2016 Nominated Projects

makoko_022 Aga Khan Award for Architecture 2014-2016 Cycle (Shortlisted Project # 19): Makoko Floating School, Lagos, Nigeria - The Floating School is a prototype structure whose main aim is to generate an alternative building system and urban culture for the populations of Africa’s coastal regions. The triangular A-frame or pyramid
AKTC / Habibeh Madjdabadi Aga Khan Award for Architecture 2014-2016 Cycle (Shortlisted Project # 18): 40 Knots House, Tehran, Iran - Creating a small and low budget apartment building in Tehran does not leave much space for creativity, yet an architect can try to do something with the material, textures, outer envelope and light.
AKTC / Hassan Saifuddin Chandan Aga Khan Award for Architecture 2014-2016 Cycle (Shortlisted Project # 17): Bait Ur Rouf Mosque, Dhaka, Bangladesh - In an increasingly dense neighbourhood of Dhaka, the Bait Ur Rouf Mosque was raised on a plinth on a site axis creating a 13-degree angle with the qibla direction, which called for creativity with the layout.
AKTC / Cemal Emden Aga Khan Award for Architecture 2014-2016 Cycle (Shortlisted Project # 16): Bunateka Libraries, various locations, Kosovo - A series of public libraries for disadvantaged youth in rural areas. “The idea is that books are a source of knowledge just like water is the source of life,” says the architect.
AKAA / AREP / Didier Boy de la Tour Aga Khan Award for Architecture 2014-2016 Cycle (Shortlisted Project # 15): Casa-Port New Railway Station, Casablanca, Morocco - Casa-Port railway station (French: Gare de Casa-Port) is a "Moroccan National Railway" station in the centre of Casablanca. This transport hub, designed to anticipate 25 million passenger trips-per-year in the future
Aga Khan Award for Architecture 2016 Shortlisted Project: Ceuta Public Library, Spain Aga Khan Award for Architecture 2014-2016 Cycle (Shortlisted Project # 14): Ceuta Public Library, Spain - Ceuta, is a small Spanish enclave city on the Moroccan soil. The site of the Ceuta library is located on the original Marinid dynasty's archaeological area...The excavation ground was included in the interior space of the public building, and the architects
Aga Khan Award for Architecture 2016 Shortlisted Project: Doha Tower, Doha, Qatar Aga Khan Award for Architecture 2014-2016 Cycle (Shortlisted Project # 13): Doha Tower, Doha, Qatar - It is a cylindrical volume that measures 45m in diameter. The steel and concrete structure follows a diamond shaped grid that bends along the virtual surface of the cylinder. The façade uses a double skin system. The exterior skin is composed
Friendship Centre, Gaibandha, Bangladesh Aga Khan Award for Architecture 2014-2016 Cycle (Shortlisted Project # 12): Friendship Centre, Bangladesh - The Friendship Centre in Gaibandha, Bangladesh, was built for the local NGO Friendship, which provides services for poor citizens of the region. Built by Dhaka-based architect Kashef Mahboob Chowdhury, it was designed
Aga Khan Award for Architecture 2016 Shortlisted Project Guelmim School of Technology, Morocco Aga Khan Award for Architecture 2014-2016 Cycle (Shortlisted Project # 11): Guelmim School of Technology, Morocco - Situated in Guelmim, Morocco, 200 kilometres south of Agadir and known as the “door of the Sahara”, the School was conceived in line with a policy of decentralisation and making education more accessible to those living in remote areas.
Issam Fares Institute for Public Policy and International Affairs, Beirut, Lebanon Aga Khan Award for Architecture 2014-2016 Cycle (Shortlisted Project # 10): Issam Fares Institute for Public Policy and International Affairs, Beirut, Lebanon - The Issam Fares Institute for Public Policy and International Affairs (IFI) building at the American University of Beirut (AUB) advances the university’s academic mission in the 21st century
National Library_033 Aga Khan Award for Architecture 2014-2016 Cycle (Shortlisted Project # 9): King Fahad National Library, Riyadh, Saudi Arabia - The King Fahad National Library is one of the most important cultural buildings in the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia. It was completed and went into use for its intended purpose in November 2013.
Aga Khan Award for Architecture 2014-2016 Cycle (Shortlisted Project # 8): Manouchehri House, Textile Centre & Boutique Hotel, Kashan, Iran Aga Khan Award for Architecture 2014-2016 Cycle (Shortlisted Project # 8): Manouchehri House, Textile Centre & Boutique Hotel, Kashan, Iran - The Manouchehri House is a boutique hotel and textile centre situated in Kashan’s historic residential neighborhood, in the province of Isfahan. The project entailed the restoration of a 19th century merchant home
Aga Khan Award for Architecture 2014-2016 Cycle (Shortlisted Project # 7): Micro Yuan'er - Hutong/courtyard Renovation, Beijing, China Aga Khan Award for Architecture 2014-2016 Cycle (Shortlisted Project # 7): Micro Yuan’er – Hutong/courtyard Renovation, Beijing, China - Micro Yuan'er is a project by zhang ke’s Beijing-based standardarchitecture, which revitalizes a historic hutong courtyard. The inserted structure, which contains a miniature art space and library
Aga Khan Award for Architecture 2014-2016 Cycle (Shortlisted Project # 6): Restoration of Nasrid Tower, Almeria, Spain Aga Khan Award for Architecture 2014-2016 Cycle (Shortlisted Project # 6): Restoration of Nasrid Tower, Almeria, Spain - This project by Castillo Miras Arquitectos explores the dichotomy between the solid, ageless construction of the existing 13th century Nasrid Tower, and the provisional, light, and degradable nature of the contemporary.
Aga Khan Award for Architecture 2014-2016 Cycle (Shortlisted Project # 5): New Power Station - Baku, Azerbaijan Aga Khan Award for Architecture 2014-2016 Cycle (Shortlisted Project # 5): New Power Station – Baku, Azerbaijan - The Power Station is located on a natural harbor in the Bay of Baku, which used to serve as a small shipyard for the ships working for the oil platforms. The original brief asked the architects to demolish the old
Aga Khan Award for Architecture 2014-2016 Cycle (Shortlisted Project # 4): Royal Academy for Nature Conservation - Ajloun Forest Reserve, Jordan Aga Khan Award for Architecture 2014-2016 Cycle (Shortlisted Project # 4): Royal Academy for Nature Conservation – Ajloun Forest Reserve, Jordan - Royal Academy for Nature Conservation in Ajloun Forest Reserve of Jordan is “the first centre in the Arab world” specialised in offering training on nature conservation.
Superkilen - Public Park - Copenhagen, Denmark Aga Khan Award for Architecture 2014-2016 Cycle (Shortlisted Project # 3): Superkilen – Public Park – Copenhagen, Denmark - Superkilen is a public park in the Nørrebro district of Copenhagen, Denmark. A public space promoting integration across lines of ethnicity, religion and culture. A meeting place for residents of Denmark
Tabiat - Pedestrian Bridge - Tehran, Iran Aga Khan Award for Architecture 2014-2016 Cycle (Shortlisted Project # 2): Tabiat – Pedestrian Bridge – Tehran, Iran - Tabiat Bridge, literally: “Nature Bridge” is the largest pedestrian overpass built in Tehran, Iran. The architects first conceived the two-to-three level, 270-metre-long curved pedestrian bridge of varying width
Thread - Artists Residency & Cultural Center - Senegal Aga Khan Award for Architecture 2014-2016 Cycle (Shortlisted Project # 1): Thread – Artists Residency & Cultural Center – Senegal - Thread is a socio-cultural centre that houses two artists’ dwellings and studio space for local and international artists. An ecologically sensitive meeting place which demonstrates how art and architecture can be part of rural life

 

Researched & Compiled by Arif Ali

 

Author: Arif Ali

Arif lives miles away from the crowded city of Chicago. He has interest in technology, spirituality, religion, psychology and community. Find him somewhat engaged on Twitter.

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