Taking back the city: Copenhagen's Kalvebod Waves boardwalk opens up the waterfront

wave opening
© KLAR + JDS/julien de smedt architects via Designboom

Copenhagen's harbour used to be like most industrial harbours: dirty and closed off from the public. Now it is so clean that people can swim in it, and it is lined with residential and office buildings. But those buildings were pretty boring; the architects note that it was "an architecturally austere mono-programmed harbor front, leaving its quay barren and open to strong winds and deserted by citizens. "

It's not anymore, now that there is a new place to hang out; The Kalvebod Waves, designed by KLAR and JDS/ Julien de Smedt Architects just opened, and TreeHugger was there.

long viewLloyd Alter/CC BY 2.0
The architects describe it:
Kalvebod Waves brings a myriad of activities from organized to spontaneous: there’s a kayak and canoe club inserted in the project, a docking island peacefully floating in a basin, a series of benches and long resting areas to enjoy the sun.

kayak rentalLloyd Alter/CC BY 2.0

There are all kinds of different conditions and facilites; there is a kayak rental, places to sit, things for kids to climb, and a truly scary kayak ramp.

closedLloyd Alter/CC BY 2.0

The ramp was closed, for I think good reason, it's steep. (I missed a photo of the side of it but here is one at Designboom

rampLloyd Alter/CC BY 2.0

There is a different attitude here; this ramp is really steep, way beyond north American safety standards, there are going to be people falling down here and there are going to be others falling into the harbour. It's not supposed to be open to bikes but I rode it last week before it opened and almost ended up in the harbour myself.

hot tubLloyd Alter/CC BY 2.0

The official opening was on Friday, and everybody was there, from this wonderful floating hot tub;

pirate shipLloyd Alter/CC BY 2.0

To a pirate ship made out of polyurethane foam.

sittingLloyd Alter/CC BY 2.0

Crowds of people sitting everywhere;

kids climbingLloyd Alter/CC BY 2.0

Kids climbing over everything.

Designboom notes that "the kalvebod waves usher in a new era of considered hedonism that extends the urban grid." It does that and more, bringing life and activity to the area. The formerly boring waterfront needed it.

Taking back the city: Copenhagen's Kalvebod Waves boardwalk opens up the waterfront
It is much more than a boardwalk; it is a stage for urban life

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