#LANDSCAPING AND URBAN PLANNING PROJECTS
COBE completes the Opera park in Copenhagen, weaving six gardens into a lush oasis
THE PARK OPERA OPENS AS A NEW GREEN OASIS IN COPENHAGEN
Danish architecture studio COBE announces the completion of The Opera Park in Copenhagen, Denmark. In a time of intense construction activity throughout the city, green recreational spaces have become increasingly scarce. Yet, in the heart of the dense and historic urban center, one of the inner harbor’s prime locations has not been developed but transformed into a lush, green park island the size of three soccer fields, housing six gardens, a greenhouse, and a café. Situated between The Royal Danish Opera (completed nearly 20 years ago) and the studio’s soon-to-be-completed Paper Island, it offers an expansive green escape from the bustling life of Copenhagen. COBE’s design was initially selected by the A.P. Møller Foundation in 2019 as part of a design competition.
SIX GARDENS ALLUDING TO DENMARK’S HISTORIC ROMANTIC LANDSCAPES
Once a modest green lawn, The Opera Park consists of six gardens from various parts of the world: the North American Forest, the Danish Oak Forest, the Nordic Forest, the Oriental Garden, the English Garden, and the Subtropical Garden housed within a greenhouse and atrium at its center. The diverse gardens hold surprises such as a fountain, a water lily pond, and a reflecting pool where drops of water from a mast gently strike the water’s surface in a soothing rhythm. Meandering paths and organically shaped flowerbeds knit together the park’s elements. ‘The Opera Park is a place where nature comes first amidst Copenhagen’s bustling urbandevelopment,’ shares COBE founder Dan Stubbergaard. ‘With its six gardens, winding paths, and carefully crafted viewpoints, the project seizes elements of Copenhagen’s historical, romantic gardens to tackle today’s challenges such as decline in biodiversity and water management.’
COBE CENTERS THE PARK’S GREENHOUSE AROUND 120,000+ PLANTS
Designed to be an all-year-round public attraction, The Opera Park features no less than 628 trees, 80,000 herbaceous perennials and bushes, and 40,000 bulb plants from around the world. In total, 223 unique exotic and local species provide visitors with a vibrant and ever-changing backdrop. The vegetation’s appearance, scent, color, and density vary with the seasons. Spring blooms in a rich color palette, summer brings various shades of green, autumn showcases red and yellow tones, and evergreen pine trees and frozen ponds dominate winter. The variety and sizes of plant species provide a rich environment for birds and insects to find food and shelter. In addition to the gardens, the park hosts a central greenhouse with a café, giving access to underground parking. The greenhouse boasts an organically shaped glass structure with a hovering roof, intended to surprise and delight while navigating the lush landscape. Inside, the terraces descend to the 300-car parking levels, while its subtropic biotope also descends to vertically weave the park with the underground levels.
The 21,500 sqm park by COBE Architects also comprises a covered connection to the adjacent Royal Danish Opera via a covered walkway atop a landscaped bridge, allowing a weather-protected link between the parking facility and the Opera. Echoing the architecture of the greenhouse, the walkway’s curved glass and floating roof evoke the landscape design in its meandering path. As one of three bridges to the island, the connection is designed as a piece of nature crossing the harbor canal, fully integrating landscape and architecture into one.
BENEFITTING FROM RAIN AND SUN WHILE OFFERING PROTECTION
Rainwater, channeled from the roof of the Royal Danish Opera into underground water reservoirs used for greenhouse irrigation, is considered a valuable resource for the park. Pathways are designed with a porous gravel surface, and excess rainwater is collected in rain beds for infiltration and evaporation. The green roofs of the landscaped bridge and greenhouse capture and delay the release of rainwater to the site while also serving as a food source for the park’s fauna. Solar panels on the Opera’s roof power the underground parking facility, the park, and the greenhouse. The park’s chosen materials are robust and fully recyclable, while the abundance of trees and plantings shield against strong winds from the harbor and the sea, reducing turbulence and increasing the level of comfort for park users. Furthermore, the elevated terrain safeguards the island from flooding during heavy rainfall and significant rises in the harbor water level. The Opera Park opened to the public on September 27, 2023, and can be accessed for free from 7:00 AM to 11:00 PM all year round. The A.P. Møller Foundation donated it as a public recreational space in Copenhagen.
Name: The Opera Park
Location: Copenhagen, Denmark
Architect & landscape architect: COBE | @cobearchitects
Client: The Opera Park Foundation
Donation: The A.P. Moller Foundation
Total area: 21,500 sqm
Greenhouse area: 680 sqm
Engineers: Vita, Via Trafik, DBI and Lüchninger Meyer Hermansen
Contractors: Hansson og Knudsen, Bauer, Redtz Glas og Facade, HSM Industri, GK Danmark, Bravida Danmark, Høyrup & Clemmesen, KONE, Phønix Tag, Jakon, Areo, Terrazzo.dk, Raadvad Maleren, Snedkerierne, OKNygaard, Palmproject Europe, Scanview Systems, Zurface, Retail Reflexions, Vector Foiltech
Photographer: Francisco Tirado | @francisco_tirado
Parking spaces: 300
Charging stations: 48 AC chargers and 1×2 DC chargers
Bicycle parking spaces: 100
Construction period: 2020-2023
Completion year: 2023