Skovlunde, Denmark

Not more city, but a better city!

At the beginning of 2014, the municipality of Ballerup initiated an ideas competition for the development of Skovlunde, a suburb of Copenhagen. Five teams were invited to draw up a robust master plan for the long term, based on the concept of a ‘better city’ rather than simply ‘more city’—with stronger connections, more green, and increased vibrancy. karres+brands teamed up with Danish office Adept and conceived a plan anchored by three points: Skovlunde Connections, Skovlunde Centre, and Typology.

The ‘Skovlunde Connections’ theme is a strategic concept wherein Skovlunde and its surroundings become more accessible, and are interconnected by means of ‘punctual interventions’ in the public space, such as paths, bridges, paths along the banks of the river, and play areas. The second theme, ‘Skovlunde Centre’, is a coherent concept of the centre of the suburb, wherein public space plays a unifying role. The public space will be structured by a series of courtyards, which refer to the morphology of the historic farmhouse. Each courtyard has its own character and specific design, which allows various uses, and thereby activates the surroundings in a smart way.

The third theme focuses on the ‘Skovlunde Typology’. New synergies between functions were sought, keeping in mind the considerable amount of additional programme. Combined within the new building typologies are living, working, commercial facilities, and leisure. This preserves character of the existing city while simultaneously permitting a lively new city centre to emerge.


In the master plan, six physical spaces of Skovlunde are then further elaborated upon. The first is the station square (‘the gateway’), which features an intimate central area around which public transport is organised. The plantings define the square afresh, creating sight lines toward the centre. Through plantings and paving, the square opens itself as a clear gesture to the city. The market square (‘the garden’) is also framed by vegetation; here, however, it stands in a tight grid. The transparent canopy provides shelter to the future market and to the outdoor terrace of a proposed restaurant.


The third area is the playground square, with a green play area as its focal point. Because of the topography, there are differences in elevation from -1 to 2 metres, which yields a dynamic play landscape. A large stand offers views over the playground. To allow the boulevard to function as part of the centre, and to stimulate the north-south connection, a skating area is set at its heart. The topography of the skate park allows the tunnel to open completely, so that light and air make a more comfortable, safe passage through possible.

Towards the centre, the housing clusters open themselves towards the active, urban zone. Meanwhile, on the park side to the east, they open up to a natural ecological corridor. This reinforces the area’s green character; people literally live at the park, where ponds provide natural water infiltration.

Finally, the square will be delineated (the forum). It is a vibrant, multifunctional space; the central fountain and concrete slabs are ringed by the Culture House and the new typology of Skovlunde. Integrated stands, which are part of the Culture House, can also be used as seating areas, thus stimulating the relationship between the building and the public space. The square, moreover, can be adapted to different uses at any given time of year, from summer concerts to an ice rink in winter.

Project data
Location ​Skovlunde, Denmark Google Maps
Assignment ​Master plan, design public space
Size ​10 hectare
Design ​2014
Status ​Competition entry
Client ​Municipality of Skovlund
Team ​Bart Brands, Darius Reznek, Tomas Degenaar, Milda Jusaite
In collaboration with ​Adept, Transsolar
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