Copenhagen is a living testament to its architectural legacy, innovative urban development, and commitment to sustainability and liveability. The city inspires the whole world with its quality of urban life, made up of efficient and intelligent mobility systems, along with vibrant and interesting public and private spaces. It is in this context that the city has been awarded the title of World Capital of Architecture by UNESCO for 2023, and hosted the World Congress of the International Union of Architects. These milestones represent unique opportunities to highlight the crucial role of architecture and urban planning in building a sustainable future, establishing the city as a prominent international forum for discussing crucial issues related to the urban environment and the ongoing search for innovative solutions.
Visit Copenhagen has developed a series of four videos to explore the city’s architectural wonders, guided by local architects. In the first one, which you can watch below, Danish architect Dan Stubbergaard –founder of Cobe– takes us on a captivating tour of Copenhagen, sharing his insights into what makes the city truly exceptional for its inhabitants.
A Minimalist and Serene Church
One of the highlights is the iconic Grundtvig Church, with the grandeur of its central atrium and its minimalist design that radiates serenity, materialized in light bricks in a rhythmic pattern. The building, likened to a modern Gothic cathedral, was designed by master builder and architect Peder Vilhelm Jensen Klint (1853 – 1930), and was completed by his son Kaare Klint in 1940. The ingenuity of the structure also extends to its chairs, a classic of Danish furniture design par excellence made of beech wood and wicker seats. According to Dan, “For me, Grundtvig Church is the most iconic and significant piece of architecture we have in Denmark. There is something timeless about it.”
Nordvest and its Ongoing Urban Development
Nordvest is a rapidly evolving area undergoing extensive urban development, with several buildings being repurposed to adopt a focus on social sustainability. Among these transformations, the Tekno restaurant stands out as a café that incorporates Copenhagen’s conscious approach to modern design. In a way that is different from conventional restaurants, Tekno Eatery combines sustainability, organic food and a commitment to reducing food waste. Nestled along the busy Rentemestervej, it represents the city’s dedication to forward-thinking eco-conscious initiatives in its urban development.
A Park that Embraces Cultures
Superkilen, a park in Nørrebro that was collaboratively conceived by BIG, Superflex and Topotek1, is another landmark worth visiting. Much more than a traditional public space, Superkilen is a vibrant reflection of community-oriented design, with elements that reference all the cultures present in the city. Since its creation in 2012, it has brought together people from diverse backgrounds, encapsulating the city’s vision of promoting togetherness through innovative urban planning, with vibrant colors, random elements, and places designed especially for encounters and dialogues.
Mobility that Enables Pleasant and Safe Travel
Copenhagen has also been considered the world’s most bicycle-friendly capital since 2015, and owes its status to an impressive cycling infrastructure that combines convenience, safety and speed, prioritizing pedal power over cars. The city boasts remarkable statistics, with 37% of journeys by bicycle, more than 745,000 bicycles owned (five times more than cars) and a daily average of 1.45 million km cycled, benefiting the health and society of its residents in general.
In addition to the famous network of cycle paths, Copenhagen has more high-capacity public transport options. The city’s four metro lines run 24 hours a day and their design was developed by KHR Architecture. The focus was on ensuring the efficiency of the system, while at the same time allowing passengers to move through the stations quickly and safely, with well-lit stations and well-designed surroundings.
The tour led by Dan Stubbergaard offers a glimpse into the complex architectural tapestry, where tradition and innovation intertwine harmoniously, while sustainability and functionality are woven into every detail. Through this experience, we are reminded that Copenhagen’s architectural achievements transcend the mere construction of buildings, representing a lifestyle that celebrates human interconnectedness and the mastery of meticulous design. The city stands out not only as a center of architecture and design, but also as a model city that values harmony between the built environment, community, and sustainability, and sets the standard for a brighter urban future.
To learn more about Copenhagen, the 2023 UNESCO World Capital of Architecture, and the Dan Stubbergaard guide to the city, please visit the VisitCopenhagen website.