Capital of sustainable development
Discover why Copenhagen is known as one of the world’s greenest cities aiming to be carbon neutral by 2025.
Ørestad is where Copenhagen’s urban jungle meets its savannah. A 3-sq.-km city within the city, built since the late 1990s, Ørestad is blessed with bountiful nature, cutting-edge architecture, and a growing gastronomic scene – making it one of the Danish capital’s best-kept secrets.
Envision the Danish capital and what typically comes to mind are its colourful medieval streets, its picture-perfect harbour, and its trendsetting neighbourhoods such as Vesterbro and Nørrebro - but don’t forget Ørestad. Blessed with world-class architecture, stunning nature, cutting-edge examples of sustainable living, and an increasingly exciting food scene, Copenhagen’s city-within-the-city may be its best-kept secret. Built on former marshland – and in less than 20 years - this urban district continues to evolve and wow its residents as well as those visiting. Here are the facts:
Many of its buildings are Instagram-worthy architectural masterpieces designed by world-famous architects like Bjarke Ingels (Mountain Dwellings, VM Houses, 8 House), Norman Foster (Copenhagen Towers) and Jean Nouvel (DR Koncerthuset), as well as by leading Danish firms such as Lundgaard & Tranberg (Tietgenkollegiet). In particular, Ørestad is a place to see cutting-edge sustainable architecture such as buildings made from “upcycled” materials.
Ørestad also boasts an abundance of nature. It’s situated alongside a 3,500 hectare nature reserve that includes a savannah, dense woods and salt marshes. Here, visitors can enjoy outdoor activities such as biking and birdwatching, and even spend the night under the stars in a tent or forest shelter.
Ørestad is flourishing, with bars, cafés, restaurants, and exhibition spaces opening almost daily. It’s also tailor-made for sustainable tourism. As an unheralded, off-the-beaten-track for most visitors to Copenhagen, Ørestad should appeal to those who want to make broader use of – and have a positive impact on – the Danish capital.
Located on Copenhagen University’s southern campus, these award-winning halls of residence house almost 400 students. The building's circular design is the hallmark of the acclaimed Danish architects Lundgaard & Tranberg and was inspired by traditional southern Chinese architecture.
Designed by the acclaimed French architect Jean Nouvel and completed in 2009, the 1,800-seat DR Concert Hall is one of Denmark's architectural and cultural showpieces. Try to catch a concert if you can: the building’s world-class acoustics match its eye-catching looks.
Designed by BIG – star architect Bjarke Ingels’ firm – this 11-storey building was inspired by a hillside village. Apartments are stacked up the side of its “north face” like rice paddies—above a 650-vehicle garage – with the roof of one apartment providing a unique green space for the one above it.
8-Tallet / The 8 House
Another BIG building, the iconic 8 House couldn’t be more Instagram-friendly. Shaped like a figure of eight, it houses more than 400 apartments and commercial units, all connected via a kilometre-long path that winds all the way to the top – providing spectacular views of Kalvebod Fælled.
Nothing typifies the future of Danish housing – nor how sustainability-minded Ørestad is – quite like this row of 20 townhouses. Built using waste materials that were otherwise destined for landfill or the incinerator, the townhouses can be used as both a home and an office, workshop or retail space.
More inspiration on what to see and do right here
Take the M1 line to any of the metro stations south of Islands Brygge.
Picture the Danish capital and what typically comes to mind are its colourful medieval streets, its picture-perfect harbour, and its trendsetting neighbourhoods such as Vesterbro and Nørrebro - but don’t forget Ørestad.
by James Clasper