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Architravel | Online architectur quide
Architeam Projects


Total Projects in the city of copenhagen: 57





In itself, Copenhagen contains a wide variety of styles, progressing through Christian IV's early 17th century landmarks and the elegant 17th century mansions and palaces of Frederiksstaden, to the late 19th century residential boroughs and cultural institutions to the modernistic contribution of the 20th century. Since 2000 Copenhagen has seen a boom in modern architecture with notable contributions both by leading international architects and a wave of new successful Danish architects.

Medieval times

The oldest preserved building in Copenhagen's inner city is considers to be the Church of St. Petri. Its tower, the central nave and the choir date back to the 16th century. The most important medieval building in the Copenhagen area is Roskilde Cathedral from 1170 located in the city of Roskilde west of Copenhagen that used to be the country's capital before Copenhagen.


Over the centuries Copenhagen grew in importance and a number of important landmarks of present day Copenhagen dates back to the late 16th and early 17th centuries. This can also be attributed to the personal effort of Christian IV which is popularly known as the builder king in Denmark because of his legacy of and involvement in large building projects. Rosenborg Castle and his stock exchange in central Copenhagen as well as Frederiksborg Palace in Hillerød are both build in Dutch Renaissance. Christian IV also founded the neighbourhoods of Christianshavn and Nyboder as well as such important green spaces as King's Garden and Kastellet.


Baroque buildings in Copenhagen include the Round Tower and the Church of Our Saviour as well as Fredensborg Palace.


Frederiksstaden was constructed during the reign of Frederick V in the second half of the 18th century and is considered to be one of the most important rococo complexes in Europe. It was developed to commemorated the 300 years jubilee of the House of Oldenburg taking the throne in Denmark. Geading the project was A. G. Moltke and Nicolai Eigtved was the main architect. Frederiksstaden has Amalienborg Palace and Marble Church at its centre and together they create an axis that was extended with the creation of the new Copenhagen Opera House in 2005 on the other side of the harbour basin . The district is characterized by straight broad streets in a straight-angled street layout. The streets are lined by burgois houses, mansions and palaces. Another important building in the district is the royal Frederiks Hospital was Denmark's first hospital in the present-day meaning of the word. It now houses the Danish Museum of Art & Design.

Contemporary architecture

Recent years have seen a boom in modern architecture in Copenhagen both when it comes to Danish architecture and works by international architects. For a few hundred years, virtually no foreign architects had worked in Copenhagen but since the turn of the millennium the city and its immediate sourroundings have seen buildings and projects from international star architects. In the same time, a number of Danish architects have achieved success in Copenhagen and abroad. Buildings in Copenhagen have won RIBA European Awards four years in a row ("Sampension" in 2005, "Kilen" in 2006, "Tietgenkollegiet" in 2007 and the Royal Playhouse in 2008.) The last three mentioned projects are all by Lundgaard & Tranberg Architects. At the 2008 World Architecture Festival in Barcelona, Bjarke Ingels Group won an award for the World's Best Residential Building 2008 for a house in Ørestad. The Forum AID Award for Best building in Scandinavia went to Copenhagen buildings both in 2006 and 2008. In 2008 British design magazine Monocle named Copenhagen the World's best design city 2008.

Blessed with a rich architecture history, presently different parts of the city see new architecture and completely new neighbourhoods are being realised. Copenhagen benefits from its location near the water - with the former docklands falling vacant especially those parts of the city can be turned into real showpieces. The new opera, the royal theatre and the extension of the library are great examples. The southern harbour is redesigned with the Amsterdam Java-eiland (urban design by Sjoerd Soeters) as a source of inspiration. The Sluseholmen urban design proposed, just like its Dutch counterpart, an urban structure with closed building blocks and new canals.

Apart from the former docklands also new inner city neighbourhoods are in the process of redevelopment. In Frederiksberg a former porcelain manufactory is turned into housing, and around the metrostation the realisation of small squares combined with new developments creates a new centre for the neighbourhood. In the residential areas around the centre architects show their skills with various architectural interventions, at the same time dealing with the 1900s block structure in a respectful way.

Also the tradition of (sub)urban extensions is innovatively modernised with the urban development of Ørestad. Internationally renowned architects were asked to design parts of it: Jean Nouvel has designed the recently completed the Danish Radio Concert Hall and Daniel Libeskind created the Ørestad downtown masterplan. But apart from these far-famed architects especially young, Danish architecture offices practice the art of sublime Scandinavian architecture.

Ørestad and Amager

The university campus of Amager is extended with culture, media and housing and new faculty buildings, aiming at creating a 'network city' in which different functions and activities stimulate each other. As part of the university extension two new student residences were built, amongst others. The first is the 'Tietgen Dormitory' by Lundgaard & Tranberg, and the second is 'Bikuben' designed by Aart. Another team of architects, among which Jean Nouvel, designed a cluster of buildings for the Danish Radio, which now has its own Concert Hall. In the neighbouring district Amager city renewal processes created several exquisite projects, too, like a cultural centre, a sportshall and a 2 km-long linear 'street-park'.

Situated on a belt-railway and a crossing of both metro and railway, Ørestad-City becomes the new centre of the linear settlement. A gigantic shopping mall is the main attraction, while the Ferring tower is a landmark visible from afar. Around a newly developed green park a housing area with large apartmentblocks is realised. And along the metroline some remarkable and prominent luxury housing blocks, like the VM Housing and Mountain dwellings designed by JDS/BIG, and a Gymnasium designed by 3X Nielsen, create an interesting variation.


In the northern part of the city centre, on the former docklands of 'Amerikaplads', a diverse structure of living and working will be created, based on plans by West 8. Different building blocks and offices complement the existing structure of buildings. The ferries to other Scandinavian countries depart from a new passengers terminal, designed by 3X Nielsen.

Not far from the inner city area, on the left and right side of the inland waterways, different developments are taking place at this very moment. Islands Brygge is a new district which is connected with the city centre by a shore park. Especially the conversion of two grain silos, dubbed Frosilos and turned into apartments by MVRDV, is noteworthy. A pedestrian bridge interlinks the smaller development of Havneholmen where high-end housing is realised.

As a southern final piece of the development alongside the water the harbour island Slusehomen has become a city quarter with closed building blocks. Dutch architect Sjoerd Soeters was asked to design an urban plan like he did for the Amsterdam Java-eiland in the 1990s. The blocks are structured by a grid of new canals. The houses and facades of each block are, exactly like in Amsterdam, designed by different (local) architects as to ensure the liveliness of the new development.


In the city district of Frederiksberg a new local centre is situated on the terrain of a former railway yard. Several old buildings of the rail yard were preserved and new developments like the Copenhagen Business School (by Lundgaard & Tranberg) and the Gymnasium (by Henning Larsen Architects) were added to the area. Special attention was payed to the design of the public spaces. SLA designed a succession of small squares in which both water and light were the main themes. Two new metrostations ensure a rapid public transport connection. Not far from the Frederiksberg centre a former porcelain manufactory is becoming a new residential area.

Malmö (SE)

It only takes half an hour to reach Malmö (and therewith neighbouring country Sweden), by taking the new Øresund-bridge and the connecting tunnel from the Copenhagen airport Kastrup. The 16 km-long bridge, with its two typical high pylons, symbolises the Øresund-Region growing together and becoming one of the most important economic regions of Scandinavia. On the lowest level of the two-storey bridge a speedy railwayline connects Copenhagen, Kastrup and Malmö. Kastrup therewith became the main airport of southern Sweden, too, and many Copenhageners moved to Malmö and south Sweden.

Malmö got, with the 'Turning Torso', yet another icon. The 190 meter high spiralling structure, a design by Santiago Calatrava, is the highest residential tower of Europe. The docklands at its base, in the western harbour, are becoming a new city district on Øresund. This process started with the development of the ecological European Housing Expo Bo01.

Source: |
Photo © Stig Nygaard | CC BY 2.0, via Flickr

Featured Projects

  • Address: Richard Mortensens Vej 61, 2300, COPENHAGEN, Denmark
  • Latitude: 55.6177
  • Longitude: 12.5702
  • Address: Hellerupvej 11 2900 Hellerup, COPENHAGEN, Denmark
  • Latitude: 55.7317
  • Longitude: 12.5741