Sustainability and architecture in Copenhagen
Which designs will stand the test of time? How can you create something with a legacy that has resonance in terms of how we will live in the future? C...
Copenhagen is busy planning a year full of architectural events as the capital of Denmark is the UNESCO-UIA World Capital of Architecture starting 17 January 2023. Find a selection of experiences below and visit The City of Copenhagen’s official website for the complete overview.
The program of the UNESCO-UIA World Capital of Architecture is full of small and large events throughout the year. Everyone is invited to take part in the program called Copenhagen in Common.
January 17 is the official opening of the UNESCO/UIA World Capital of Architecture. His Royal Highness, The Crown prince of Denmark will be at the city hall of Copenhagen alongside the Chief Mayor of Copenhagen to officially welcome the world to Copenhagen as the architectural capital of the world. There will be an opening in the afternoon at Kongens Nytorv of a mirror cabinet, and the day will end at Arbejdermuseet with an official opening party.
Danish Architecture Center invites everybody to join the DAC Architecture Run in Copenhagen on 17 February, 2 July, and 24 September. This run is an exploration run without timekeeping that lets you discover Copenhagen’s architecture in a new way. The run is open to everyone, including beginners, and participants can choose between walking 5 km or running 5 km or 10 km.
Between 3-26 February, Copenhagen’s architecture will be the scene for visual art by local and international artists. Every evening, it will be possible to join a boat by Strömma Canal Tours to experience some of the most spectacular art pieces. It will also be possible to experience the light festival by bicycle or on foot. A complete overview of the art installations will be available on the official Copenhagen Light Festival website.
Between 2-6 July, Copenhagen will host the UIA World Congress of Architects expecting more than 10.000 participants from all over the world. The title of the congress is “Sustainable future - leave no one behind”. The World Congress will address how architects and professionals from the whole value chain of the built environment can contribute to the realization of the 17 UN Sustainable Development Goals. The 6 themes of the world congress are climate adaptation, rethinking resources, resilient communities, health, inclusivity, and partnerships for change.
Open House Copenhagen is an event headed by the Danish Architecture Center taking place for the first time 25-26 March 2023. 40 heritage buildings as well as new examples of innovative architecture will be open to the public. The National Bank of Denmark by architect Arne Jacobsen will be one of the buildings that will be open to the public for the first time. The concept started 30 years ago in London, UK, and today Open House weekends are held in more than 50 cities worldwide. Please note that the Open House event is currently sold out.
Esteemed Danish architecture firm Vilhelm Lauritzen Architects is celebrating its 100th anniversary with an exhibition at the Danish Architecture Center. The exhibition showcases some of the most famous buildings by Vilhelm Lauritzen and will be open to the public until 9 April 2023.
The world-renowned artist Sean Scully showcases his large-scale, site-specific sculptures in his first-ever Danish solo show at Thorvaldsen’s Museum. The exhibition will take place until 5 March 2023.
The summer exhibition at the Danish Architecture Center will focus on how everyone globally has architecture in common. The exhibition presents a wide range of Danish architects designing solutions for now and the future and runs from 4 May to 22 October. At the opening on May 4, The Danish Highline Association will cross the harbour on a 200-meter-long wire. More info here.
On Sunday 11 June 2023, every district in Copenhagen will host a long-table dinner picnic in a place that has a special meaning for the area. A secret garden, an overlooked square, the local schoolyard, and an old church. From here, tours and entertainment are organized with a focus on the district's architecture. Local eateries and producers prepare the food. The involved communities are Vesterbro, Valby, Brønshøj-Husum, Amager East and West, Nørrebro, Bispebjerg/Nordvest, Vanløse, Østerbro and Inner City. Copenhagen’s most popular shared space, Copenhagen Harbour, will also be celebrated with a long-table dinner.
Celebrating its 10-year anniversary with 100+ events, Scandinavia’s biggest annual architecture festival, CAFx, will celebrate life in its diversity between 1-11 June. Guided by the theme Life Form, CAFx will rethink relations between form and life via new narratives, metaphors, and models for architecture, architectural production, and community formation across identities and species in the wake of the nature crises.
A highlight is the exhibition Water in CAFx’s office in Copenhagen’s Meatpacking District– a satellite of the Danish pavilion at the Venice Biennale, curated by director Josephine Michau. How can architecture stimulate climate adaptation and biodiversity in a time of rising sea levels and storm surges in coastal cities like Copenhagen?
The architect's guide firm BeCopenhagen will guide visitors through Copenhagen for a first-hand experience on how the locals are turning the UN’s 17 Sustainable Development Goals into practice. Tours are run all year round.
A monument in the very heart of modern Copenhagen, the Glyptotek is a unique setting for works of art. Both inside and out, its buildings offer a myriad of stories and experiences, expressed through the various sequences of rooms, proportions, materials, textural qualities and effects of light. The architecture is crucial in terms of creating the atmosphere that visitors experience. But why does the Glyptotek look the way it does? What makes the Glyptotek such a unique building in Denmark? And what lurks behind the façades? The special exhibition celebrating the World Capital of Architecture year runs from 17 May until 19 October.
On 26 March until 30 November, the South Korean artist Kimsooja takes over the underground chambers of Frederiksberg with a brand-new exhibition at Cisternerne, which is an official part of the World Capital of Architecture program. With her complete installation in Cisternerne, Kimsooja exploits the unique underground climate and architectural space of Cisternerne. Here she invites the audience into an illusory space where light splits in all the colours of the rainbow and transforms the former water reservoir into a sacred sea of light.
With the Archi-tour, Cph:Cool offers a new way to explore and experience the city’s authentic areas. Through a guided architectural walk, you will experience Copenhagen’s buildings and urban public spaces in a new way. The tour will give you a geographic and historical overview of the urban development and scales of the city. The tour will present both old and new buildings from renowned architects. In addition, the tour also sets up to discuss the architecture and their way of interacting with nature, people, and everyday life. It is a private tour and has to be pre-booked. The tour is available from the 1st of January until the 31st of December 2023.
Experience works by world-famous architect Arne Jacobsen on a guided walk north of Copenhagen. The guided tour by Slow Tours Copenhagen takes you on a 3 km walk from Klampenborg to Skovshoved and gives you an inside into Jacobsen’s architecture and the time in which it was created. Throughout the tour, you will experience the functionalistic all-white Bella Vista Estates, the iconic white and blue watchmen towers at Bellevue Beach Bath, and the unique terrace houses Søholm which made Arne Jacobsen’s internationally renowned and where he himself lived for 20 years and had his design studio. The tour is spiced with stories about the master architect known to be a self-ironic perfectionist. The tour is for private groups and must be pre-booked and is available in English or Danish all year round.
Learn about the award-winning architecture of Denmark’s Maritime museum designed by the internationally renowned architects from BIG – Bjarke Ingels Group. Included in the ticket price of the museum, in occasion of UNESCO-World Capital of Architecture, it’s possible to join a guided architectural tour that goes behind the scenes of creating Denmark’s new Maritime Museum in the old dock. Listen to the story behind how the museum moved from Kronborg Castle to the dock, about the architectural competition, BIG's winning proposal and the complex building process of the museum. In English every first Saturday of the month, March-September 2023 at 1:30 PM. Book the ticket on the museum’s website.
During the spring and summer, 13 new pavilions will appear in selected locations in the Copenhagen landscape. The pavilions have been titled the SDG Pavilions after the UN’s Sustainable Development Goals, as each of them presents thoughts on how architects and the building industry can achieve these goals. The SDG Pavilions are experimental 1:1 size ratio projects for the World Capital of Architecture and the UIA World Congress of Architects in Copenhagen. Each pavilion is the result of a collaboration between architects, engineers, material producers, science institutions, associations, and foundations. In accordance with the theme of the UIA World Congress, "Sustainable Futures – Leave No One Behind", all SGD Pavilions are designed to be accessible to everyone and are built with an emphasis on responsible consumption of materials with plans for recycling, reassembly or reuse after the exhibitions.