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Tall building Typologies

A study on tall buildings and their urban life in Copenhagen

Tall building Typologies

A study of urban life around tall buildings in Copenhagen
Morten Kent Hansen
Student ID: Prn270
Master Thesis: 30 etcs points
Landscape Arcitecture and Urban Design
Department of Geoscience and Natural Resource Manaement
University of Copenhagen
Superviser: Gertrud Jrgensen
Department of Geoscience and Natural Resource Manaement


Tall building Typologies

A study of urban life around tall buildings in Copenhagen

This 30 ECTS point thesis marks the ending
of my master studies in landscape architecture with a specialization in Urban
Design at the University of Copenhagen,
Faculty of Science.
I would like to take the opportunity to
thank my supervisor Gertrud Jrgensen
for guiding me through the project and
for her specific insight in showing me relevant literature and her inputs regarding
model building to visualize my project.
I would also like to thank Niels Boje Groth
for his alternative critical views on my
ideas and helping me along the way.

As urbanization continues to rise in
Denmark as well as globally, Tall buildings
are increasingly being constructed in
cities around the world to accommodate
the population growth. Denmark saw the
arrival of its first tall building following the
World War II, with a particular inspiration
from the modernist movement, CIAM
(Congres International dArchitecture
Moderne). Since then, different planning
periods have influenced the development of and against tall buildings in
This thesis explores tall buildings and their
urban life in and around Copenhagen.
Different types of tall buildings are established
through an investigation of the existing
tall buildings in Copenhagen.
Design proposals for selected tall buildings
is developed in search of possible potentials
to enhance the public space around

Urbanisering fortstter med at stige i
Danmark svel som globalt.
Dette betyder at hjhuse i stigende grad
bliver bygget i byer rundt om i verden for
at imdekomme befolkningstilvksten.
Det frste hjhus projekt p dansk jord
blev opfrt efter Anden Verdenskrig, med
srlig inspiration fra den modernistiske
bevgelse, CIAM (Congres International
dArchitecture Moderne).
Siden har forskellige planlgnings
paradigmer pvirket udviklingen af og
imod hjhuse i Kbenhavn.
Denne afhandling udforsker hjhuse og
deres byliv i og omkring Kbenhavn.
Forskellige typologier af hjhuse er blevet
konstateret igennem en analyse af de
eksisterende hjhuse i Kbenhavn.
Design forslag med henblik p at
undersge mulige potentialer for at
stimulere det offentlige liv i relation til
hjhuse, er skabt ved udvalgte cases

Table of content



Structure of thesis


Chapter 1: Historic development of the tall building




A techincal history of tall building


Introducing the tall building to DK


1970s and 1980s


1990s - Renaissance


Avoiding urban sprawl


Nature vs city


Chapter 2: Theorizing the tall building


Chapter 3: Analyzing tall building in Copenhagen


Case summary


Categorization of the tall buildings in Copenhagen


Chapter 4: The urban life around 2 tall buildings cases


Chapter 5: Discussion




Reference List




The existing tallest structure in Copenhagen
is the spire of the Danish parliament at
106m; second place the town house at
102m and then Vor frelsers church 91m
The highest structures in Copenhagen are
political or religious symbols. This stands in
contrast to the majority of other big
cities around the world where tall buildings
dominate the skyline.
Inquisitiveness, eagerness to understand
constantly hit me whenever I travel
abroad through different metropolis of
the world.
Copenhagen, in comparison even to
smaller cities, seems to have a
characteristically low skyline. This made
me wonder why?
Does it pertain to the local opinion
regarding tall buildings? I have for as
long as I can remember felt attracted to
city life with its energy, hustle and bustle. Maybe, it is because I come from a
sleepy town in Northern Zealand, where
there is not much happening outside the
local supermarket.
I was eager to move to the capital of
Denmark, by far the biggest city in the
It has to be mentioned here that my

interest in cities and urban development

drove me to become a member in a
website where
I take part in the discussion and news
about the ever changing urban development with its construction sites, cranes,
new spectacular buildings etc.
Furthermore this interest drove me to
study urban planning and is the underlying motivation behind this masters thesis.

The thesis focus on tall buildings in Copenhagen and the urban life around them.
To start off this topic the thesis will presents some common assumedly
positive and negative aspects of the tall building:

Pros: Economics, Symbolic(company brand, city brand), sustainability... (CTBUH,2015).

Regarding the topic of tall buildings the

urban life is in focus as the tall building
assumedly imposes a negative impact on
the spaces around it.
The tall buildings receive critics for blocking sunlight, creating wind turbulence
around them and seeming to be out of
scale with their context(Gehl, 2013).

Other studies on the tall building have

concluded similar negative effect on the
tall building such as the Danish building
institution in 1969 (Planstyrelsen, 1991).
The tall building have thus suffered a poor
reputation in Copenhagen.

" There is a special level of Hell

dedicated to architects who design buildings
over six stories."
Brent Toderian, 2015
Hence the thesis wants to explore the
urban life influenced by the tall buildings
in Copenhagen.
The founding president of the council
for Canadian urbanism, Brent Toderian,
heard this sentence from a renowned
architect, whom he do not reveal but
associates with urbanists such as Jan
Gehl and Leon Krier who are not in favor
of building tall.
Jan Gehl an influencial urban planner in
Denmark has with detailed observations
described how buildings loose contact
with the ground when going beyond the
6th floor.
The building becomes isolated from the
public life on the ground, hence residents
leave less often for recreation and
parents will not be able to keep an eye
on their kid on the
playground (Gehl, 2013).


To obtain the necessary square meters

to accommodate the rising population
growth in Copenhagen without expanding the city into rural land, an integration
of tall buildings can be unavoidable,
despite a risk of going to hell.

The aim of this thesis is to explore the
urban development around existing tall
buildings, how do they contribute to their
Considerable factors may be how tall
buildings meet the ground, enliven the
street and avoid casting shadows on key
I will engage in this topic by understanding the Danish circumstances in the development of tall buildings, from the
ideas of modernism up till today. Based
on the above issues this thesis will aim at
To what extent can urban life be stimulated around tall buildings in Denmark?
This thesis is not a solution for the planning
of tall buildings in the municipality of Copenhagen, it only presents a small aspect
of tall buildings, and should be seen as a
possibility out of many and as an input to
a debate of the topic.

First knowledge on the history of topic is
gained through relevant literature.
Simultaneous to the study of literature,
field trip observations in Copenhagen
were made.

by Anne Skovbroe, director of the

Finance administration in the city of
Copenhagen, also helped the selection
of buildings. Based on this, the thesis looks
into 16 cases of tall buildings in the greater
Copenhagen area.
These 16 cases do not cover all the tall
buildings in Copenhagen, but give an
indication of what kind of tall buildings
exist in the Copenhagen area. Analyzing
each case has been done using relevant
urban theory as well as interviews with
urban experts, and field trips observations.
This has shaped the creation of different
typologies of tall buildings.
The proposals represent a physical
solution to the potentials that derived
from the analysis and stakeholder
interviews. The design proposals are used
as a tool to visualize the potentials around
tall buildings.
There are a lot of aspects related to the
constructions of tall buildings and it would
probably have been relevant to cover
many others aspects e.g. demographics
or brick construction traditions in
Denmark, but limited by time, the thesis
will only look at a fractional aspect of the
tall building development in Denmark.

I detected tall buildings by moving around

in the city supported by published material about tall building in Copenhagen, by
the municipality of Copenhagen
(Municpality of Copenhagen, 2006).
Attending a symposium for the inauguration
of Council for Tall Buildings and Urban
Habitat (CTBUH ,2015) and a presentation


Structure of thesis
A brief summary of the structure of this
thesis. First chapter will run through the
history of the tall building, from the birth
of tall buildings in north America through
to Europe where another version of the
tall building seemed to be shaped by the
CIAM movement.
Then the thesis will focus on the Danish
circumstances that have influenced the
development of tall buildings in Copenhagen.
Second chapter, a guide through the
chosen theory used to analyze the different
tall buildings found in the Copenhagen
Third chapter contains summary of the 16
cases throughout greater Copenhagen.
Based on the findings different types of
tall buildings are categorized. This set the
division of 3 tall building typologies.
Fourth chapter, a case study of the tall
building typologies results in design proposals of possible potentials found in the
public space around two existing tall
buildings projects.
Fifth and last chapter presents the discussion
and conclusion of the content in the thesis.
An appendix with the 16 cases of tall
buildings in Copenhagen as well as a
process of design drawings and model
photos is made.


Before the thesis explores the tall building

development in Copenhagen an essential
question must be answered, what is a
tall building? No official definition of tall
buildings exists internationally; but
according to Emporis, a global provider
of building data, a building of 12 floors or
35 meters and above is considered being
tall (Emporis data standards, 2015).
The building can also be seen in relation
to the context of the building
( see diagrams), e.g. in a low rise building
area, a building of less than 35 meter
could be considered a tall building. The
same goes for the proportions.
A building, not particularly high, can be
slender enough to give the appearance
of being a tall building. So buildings lower
than 12 or 35 meter can be considered
tall depending of their context and
The focus in the thesis is on tall buildings in
and around Copenhagen, thus the
official definition of tall buildings provided
by the municipality of Copenhagen,
being 35 meter or 12 floors and above
with exceptions in relation to context and
proportions, will serve as a guideline (municipal of Copenhagen, 2006).

Diagram 1: a building Less than 35 m can be considered to be a tall building

within a low context

Diagram 2: Same building will not be classified a tall buildingwithin a tall context



1. Historic development of the tall


To understand the present situation of tall

buildings in Copenhagen the thesis will
have a run-through the history, from the
birth of the tall building up till today.

a big boom of constructing tall buildings

took place. In the beginning of the 19th
century, New York became the leading
city in building tall (Faber, 1962).

Throughout this, the thesis will look at the

modernstic influence tall building developments, the tall building through a
Danish technical point of view; the tall
buildings arrival to Denmark post World
War II following a period of no tall buildings projects from the 1970s till the new
millennium; subsequently a renaissance
from the millennium up till today with new
tall building projects emerging.

Europe plagued by two wars, was still

reluctant to build tall. It was only after
World War II that, the construction of tall
buildings found a foothold in Europe, as
demonstrated in Copenhagen by the
construction of Bellahjhusene in 1950s,
the first tall buildings in Denmark
(Rasmussen, 1994).

The history of the tall building took off in

North America, Chicago to be precise.
It became possible to build tall buildings
with a new constructing technology, a
steel framework instead of load bearing
masonries, discovered in 18th century.
The invention was pushed by high
population density and thereby high
property prices in Chicago, which created
new ways of thinking for making profit for
landowners (Faber, 1962).
The solution was to build high. After the
technique was successfully implemented
in Chicago, New York soon followed and


Van Eesterens proposal for Rokin, a tall building, arguely forms an equilibrium between tall and low, old and
new.(Guarda, 2013)


However while tall buildings were not
built in Europe as in North America, a
highly influential european urban group
was founded in Europe, the CIAM (Congres Internationaux dArchitecture Moderne) movement. The growth of the European cities, as well as the problems that
followed; such as urban unsanitary and
overcrowded living condition
associated with poverty, were recognized
at the CIAM congress in Athens in 1933
and would later be included in the
Athens Charter, a document for modern
planning published by Le Corbusier
(Corbusier, 1943).
That document would turn out to be highly
influential in European urban planning
and tall building developments of the
19th century.
Cornelius van Eesteren, an influential
Dutch urban planner, became the
chairman of the CIAM movement in the
1930s (Guarda, 2013). He became internationally known through his participation
in international architectural
competitions and his participation in the
Dutch de Stilj group.
His first entry (1925) was for the
transformation of the canal street Rokin
in Amsterdam (see photo below).
At that time, Amsterdam consisted, like
Copenhagen of a building structure of
predominately 4-5 floors.
Eesteren argued for an interruption of the
classic 4-5 floors buildings in the city of
Amsterdam, with a strong vertical
component(p.82 Guarda, 2013).
This component should define the street
The jury did not see the potential though
and the project did not pass the first
evaluation round.

One year later Van Eesteren won the first

prize in Berlin in a project competition
aiming at the transformation of Unter der
Linden into a street of a modern metropolis.
The entry called equilibrium was closely
related to the Rokin entry. He thus tried to
create equilibrium through contrasting;
The existing tension between old and
new, high and low, street surface and
street faade(p.85, Guarda 2013)
The project emphasized the integration between old and new. Radical elements at
the time, such as tall buildings, are blended with traditional closed blocks, and
used for their aesthetic value rather than
only their functional value.
He saw the city as composed of arbitrary
accumulation of needs, demanding new
design methods.
However despite the importance of aesthetics, the driver for Eesteren seems to
have been to radicalize urban planning
into a functional system.
A system, later to become the modernistic
principle, based on separation between:
Living, working, recreation and transportation. Hence Eesteren in his later years
taught his student to abstract urban
form into design elements can only lead
to a good result when the functional essence emerges (p.90 Guarda).
Eesteren had since his plan for Rokin
evolved his interest for the aesthetic
planning of the tall building to a more
functional matter.
Van Eesteren, in association with the
CIAM movement, would play a significant
factor for the arrival of tall buildings in
Denmark, as described in the following


A technical history of the tall building

To understand the development of tall
buildings in Denmark it is important to
look at how Danish legislation has treated
tall buildings.
Buildings with a height above 4-5 floors
were not allowed until 1939 due to fire
risks and overpopulation (Rasmussen,
The lift of the ban might have been
caused by a better technology and
security in building tall, but could also be
a sign of political will for letting the CIAM
ideology into Danish planning. During the
1940s a number of architectural competitions
in Copenhagen had selected projects
which included taller buildings. That none
of these towers, despite the intentions,
was built was allegedly due to the poor
economic situation in these war-torn
years (Lindvald, 1987).
Even though no tall building was allowed,
tall constructions had existed for centuries
in Denmark. Tall building structures have
been built in the form of religious structures
and later juridical and parliamentary tall
These structures were much taller than
the rest of the old towns and symbolized
an ideological strength above the rest.
The hierarchy of society seemed at the
time symbolized in the height of structures. This has been the unread rule to follow in the development of Copenhagen
and as mentioned in the introduction still
applies for the city today.

Ideological strength still seems to weight

higher than the individual or any
economical power in terms of building
height, even though no law proscribes it
today. This stands out as a unique feature
for a big international metropolis in the
world today.
Aditionnaly, the close distance to the airport of Copenhagen has put a height restriction on buildings over a big part of the city
of Copenhagen (Justesen, 2015).
This restriction can be observed at the
new district restad City, as many
buildings are planned at the same height
around 80 meters, which is the height
limit in that area.

150 meter
150 meter

100 meter
50 meter

50 meter

Diagram showing the height restrictions over

Copenhagen due to proximity to the airport
(CTBUH, 2015)


Introducing the tall building to Denmark

As mentioned, the tall building did not make
its entry to the Danish architectural scene in
the period after the technological breakthrough to build high.
Tall buildings began to pop up in
Copenhagen in the years post World War
II. A shortage of housing accommodation
and population and economic growth
triggered the implementation of new
building technologies, such as the tall
building (Rdtnes, 2005).
Prefabricated elements seemed to be
the solution. Cheap, fast to put up and
containing a lot of new apartments were
plausible reasons for authorities to choose
prefabricated tall buildings.
The ideas of the CIAM movement became
noticeable when it came to tall buildings
in Copenhagen. Indeed, the first wave of
tall buildings that really made inroads in
Denmark and Europe seemed not to be
of American descent as the buildings in
New York or Chicago, but on the contrary
to a great extent a European invention ,
based on CIAM ideas(Rdtnes, 2005). The
CIAM movement was the symbol of a democratically lift to the population by creating habitations for the general population,
lifting them away from the overcrowded
urban areas into tall buildings consisting
of apartments with fresh air and plenty of
greenery around them.
This stood in contrast to the American
tower that seems more to symbolize the
individual rise by economic wealth and
Integrating tall buildings into an already
existing urban landscape, which for centuries

had evolved and as mentioned, affected

by a governmental or religious
hierarchy, could be highlighted as one
of the reasons behind the difficulties in
getting American rooted tall buildings
to Denmark. This could also explain why
a functional version of the tall building
as embodied by the CIAM movement,
placed in the outskirts of the cities, fitted
better in an European hierarchy than the
American iconic building.

Example of CIAM inspired tall buildings in Copenhagen,


Example of american rooted tall building in Copenhagen (SAS hotel).


These CIAM rooted tall buildings have

or perhaps more the worse.
The experiences with modernism residential tall
buildings can be mentioned among the
possible reasons why tall buildings would
later get such a poor reputation in Denmark and Europe.
CIAM modernistic architecture did not
live up to the intention and is by some
critiques seen as almost synonymous with
social problems and crime. Project leader
at Akademisk Arkitektforening, Annette
Holek believe that this kind of architecture
does not attract people who can afford
to choose. She believes that people, who
can afford to choose, simply

disregard these areas. Thus you end up

with the disadvantaged, who have no
choice (Holek, A 2008).
Other types of tall buildings were also
built at the period post World War II, such
as the iconic Arne Jacobsen SAS Hotel.
This tall building was built in a central spot
in Copenhagen, in front of the central train
station. It resembled the American
towers, in proportion, materials and
location more than prefabricated CIAM
buildings. The construction of centrally
placed towers were more the exception
than the habit in Copenhagen since the
vast majority of tall buildings getting build
in the years after world war II was inspired
by the CIAM movement.

Chicago, The birth place of the tall building as it is today. The buildings strive for height is symbolic of the
american rooted tall building (Skyscrapercity, retrieved 17/05/15)


The 1970s and 1980s

A strong economic and urban growth occurred post World War II till it was interrupted by the oil crisis in the 1970s (Revsbech,
1987). The planning system was reformed
because of this, while simultaneously
the critiques of the modernistic CIAM tall
buildings increased. As a result a new trend
in the planning emerged, and the human
scale and the environment were in focus
with key words for a good urban environment being low and dense.
A lot of the prefabricated
construction that had happened in the
past two decades received critics, notably for a lack of life around the buildings.
ceeding that of the single family houses areas as e.g. tall buildings in Hje Gladsaxe,
pedestrians, huge open space between
the buildings; this made areas around the
tall building seem over dimensioned and
empty (Copenhagen municipality 2006).
Criticism of the prefabricated buildings
(and especially the taller ones) culminated
in 1969 when a report by the Danish Building Research based on British and Swedish
studies stated that the tall buildings were
generally poorly suited for family homes
as children thrive poorly in high buildings
(Planstyrelsen, 1991).
Apparently As Gehl have stated, the higher you live up, the slimmer chance of you
using the outdoor spaces on ground level.
report and the there from
derived debate led to the decision of the
nancing of large-scale prefabricated constructions (Planstyrelsen, 1991).

Since then few residential tall buildings a la

CIAM, have been built in Denmark. The tall
building became instead a symbol of an
urban unattractive brutality and the poor
reputation of the tall building typology
seemed established. Low houses and connectivity to earth and everyday life was
much more appreciated than the ugly
tall building from the 1970s and forward.
The reform of the planning system resulted
in a decentralization of power to some degree from state level to municipality level;
the public now became involved in the
planning process and actually had a say
in the planning process (Revsbech, 1987).
Since the feedback from the general public as well as expert reports did not see tall
planning authority were distributed more
horizontally, the climate for building tall became very improbable.


1990s Renaissance
for the city and a symbol of improvement
had a renaissance from the late 1980s and
throughout the 1990s.
In Copenhagen this time around, globalization and competition between cities
to attract investors and wealthy taxpaying citizens, was the main driver (Bisgaard,
2010). The American concept of the tall
building thus seemed to be the main
inspiration. The tall building could be seen
as a landmark, icon, and a signature of the
position of the city. It was seen as a way
of signaling success and hopefully attract
high income citizens.
However, even though a certain political
will in favor of the tall building was returning, the breakthrough of tall buildings was
long in coming. A lot of people remained
skeptical, both local citizens and professional. Architects were incentivized to create projects with taller buildings without
their consensus(Hansen, 1994).
The lack of embracement from the professionals themselves is likely to have been
one of the reasons why almost no tall building got built in the 1990s Copenhagen in
spite of the political will to do so. The tall
penhagen at the turn to the new millennium.
Indeed, a favorable economic climate in
the beginning of the 00s saw a lot of new
investment in Copenhagen. In 2005, Mayor Ritt Bjerregrd, wanted a debate about
tall buildings to be on the political agenda
(Bisgaard, 2010). She saw a strategy for tall
buildings necessary in Copenhagen as a
response number of


prestige projects had failed to be completed. Prior to 2005, tall buildings could be
built everywhere, pending a case by case
This created great uncertainty for investors,
among other illustrated by the failure of
the Norman Foster (Tivoli hotel), a tall building project next to the town hall at Tivoli,
cancelled due to public protest (Bisgaard,
Upon this backdrop, a desire to make a
thorough tall building strategy emerged,
with the aim to highlight functions and
neighborhoods of the city.
No tall building strategy made it into legislation though. On the contrary, the public debate the mayor Bjerregrd had
initiated, ended with a bylaw prohibiting
constructions of tall buildings in the inner
city. Hence, outside the inner city of Copenhagen, tall building projects are still assessed as on a case by case basis by the

Tivoli hotel proposed by Norman foster, few meters

shorter than the town hall. (Skyskrapercity, retrieved

A clear strategy for tall building projects

that points forward is still missing in Copenhagen, states Bisgaard in 2010. (Bisgaard,
That being said, a limit on the footprint of
tall buildings were adopted under Bjerregaard, and set considerably small, 800
square meters (By&Havn, 2015).
Legislating regarding footprint ensures that
only slim tall buildings will get built in the
future. This leaves out any future classic
CIAM tall buildings, since their footprint has
a tendency to be bigger, and the proportion more cube shaped than slim.
However, the small footprint policy also
puts restraint on how tall the building can
be since services such as elevators increase with the height, thereby making the
useful square meters smaller.
Hence legislative framework has been put
up as barrier to the (CIAM) tall building in

The urbanization of Denmark does not

seem to stop; thus the city is the future and
for our futures sake it should aim at being
as sustainable and pleasant to live in as
possible as the municpal of Copenhagen
has emphasized(municipal plan, 2011). A
compact city can be a way towards sustainability, agues Poul Bk Pedersen in
the book a sustainable compact city; to
achieve this, the tall building
thesis will look into in the
following section.


Avoiding Urban Sprawl the sustainable city

Density is a factor for the urban life around

tall buildings. A higher density can generate a more active urban life. Another
aspect of density is the possibility to limit
the citys physical growth into rural areas.
Having a high population density with tall
buildings is necessary to obtain a sustainable city according to Mau, as: Tall buildings tend to require less transportation;
fewer sewer lines, fewer power lines, fewer
roads, and more tightly packed structures,
which in and of themselves are more ener-

Pedersen highlights the importance of density in achieving a sustainable city, e.g. in

(Pedersen, 2011). the Danish planning act
has previously limited the allowed density
to 110 Floor Area Ratio (FAR) in new districts.
This has recently been eased, but it has resulted in much lower densities allowed to
be built compared to areas built prior to
the planning acts implementation (Pedersen, 2011). As a result of this many projects
built since the modernistic time have had
a much lower density than in the livable
dynamic urban areas in Denmark such as
in the Vorstadt(brokvarter) around the old
center of Copenhagen, developped prior
to the planning acts density limit. This shows
that tall building and density are far from
equals in Copenhagen; e.g. The Vorstadt
contain almost no tall building, with high
FAR. And Hje Gladsaxe: Tall buildings, low
Pedersen underpin that tall buildings should
be placed in dense urban setting. But density puts pressure on the free spaces for
public use. It can be relevant to create the


public areas high up, as roof tops for instance, to achieve higher density of open
spaces, the ground level gets to packed/
narrow/crammed. This way, the tall building becomes an active part of the city and
can contribute to its aesthetic and functional character. This can also help integrate the building to its surroundings, and
break down traditional barriers between
the public and private space.
An example of seeking integration of the
public vertically in tall buildings in Copenhagen is seen in the LM project in Marmormolen, North habour. Here two tall
buildings should stand on each dock with
the oslo ferries going in between them. A
bridge in 65 meter height (to allow the Oslo
ferry to pass under) should connect the two
tall buildings. The bridge would be open to
the public with platform, a bike path and

Proposal for two tall buildings, with a public accessible bridge by Steven Hall (skyscrapercity,
retrived 22/08/15)

As Rita Justensen head of planning and

architecture in a big Danish development company By&Havn pointed out, The
bridge is a creative idea, bringing the tall
building under a distance of 600 meter to
a public transport station, thereby allowing
ings proximity to stations (Justesen, 2015).
So far despite being approved 5 years ago
by the municipality the project is still not
undergoing construction; perhaps a public
access vertically is too ambitious and has
frightened the investors.

big scale in the spaces around and thereof the building and the public space is important to soften the big scale (Pedersen,
According to Poul Bk Pedersen the biggest challenge to achieve a compact sustainable city in Denmark is the legislations
and regulation regarding height limits for
construction such as in the Danish planning act and local plans. The authorities
must have the courage to build dense and
even tall he argues

Pedersen states the importance of scale

around tall buildings. They can create a

Public space

Public space

Public space




Diagram showing integration of the public spaces vertically as to break

down traditionnel barrieres between private and public


Summing up
As mentioned above, climate, historical
developments and legislative frameworks
of or against the tall building and their urban spaces in Copenhagen.
In parallel to the above reasons, the perception of nature also plays a big part
in shaping the de toward tall buildings in

Nature Vs City A Danish view

In Denmark, the city is to some extent seen

as in opposition to nature. The Danish
Planning Act clearly divides between rural zones and urban zones where Sweden
have a looser division between the city and
nature, given their larger country maybe.
The Coastal Protective Directorate limits
the city expansion as well as the visual impact along the coast; in a 3km distance to
en to get the authorization to build there.
(Danish coastal authority, 2015).
The restriction to build along the coastline
has made many Danish cities grow into
the land instead of along the coast even
though it might have been more economic desirable, with attractive sea view plots.
This shows strong pro-nature arguments in
danish urban planning.
Tall buildings are a machine that makes
the land pay
The international pro tall building organiza-


tion (CTBUH), recently held a conference

how to integrate taller buildings in a Nordic context. Tall buildings are to a large extent market driven claims Julian Chen The
chairman of CTBUH in Denmark, (CTBUH,
2015). The resistance to build in places that
might have an impact on the landscape
and nature etc., even though it would be
economically desirable, highlights that
construction, tall or not, should not only be
economically sustainable but contribute
with more than just being a machine that
makes the land pay (CTBUH, 2015).
These demands for constructions should,
ban life around the tall.
The public debate has shaped some tall
buildings projects, as the thesis will describe in the following section.

A public debate
A tall building project made by Tivoli, started an organization, called Tivolis venner
(Tivolis friends), who in spite of the name
were against the plans made by Tivoli
(, 2015). The project was a
100 meter slim hotel next to the town hall.
The protest resulted in a cancellation; as
did a 55 meter tall project on Kryers plads
made by Ege Van Eegeraat. A survey
made by Rambll in 2006 found that 1/3
of the citizens of Copenhagen would not
like to live close to a tall building. (analysis institution Rambll in Berlingske Tidende
One of the leitmotivs in the arguments
used against tall buildings in Copenhagen
seems to be that they will destroy the skyline of old spires from the towers of the city.
This was also a main argument to ban all
tall buildings inside the old town of Copenhagen in 2005 (By&havn, 2015 ). The public
protests may have protected the city for
further harm in the shape of over dimensioned urban and wind turbulent spaces or
it may have haltered progress to a typology that can be a tool to obtain a sustainable city.

Building high as a form of inferior city complex

Many tall building projects can be seen as
a way for a city to cope with an inferior
complex. Julian Chen chairman of CTBUH
in Denmark makes the comparison to a
man buying a Porche just to prove to the
world that he is a success (CTBUH, 2015).
Malm saw the need to boost the city with
an iconic landmark that being Turning Torso 190m high. This could be a way of coming out of the shadow of Copenhagen and
advertizing the city in a global city competition
But Julian Chen, who grew up in tall building in Hong Kong, argues the tall building
can be more than advertizing; there can
also be livable in tall buildings areas. The
idea that tall building is bad does not seem
to exist in Hong Kong, as it is the foundation
of its dense city structure.

In the following chapter the thesis will look

at what have been built in Copenhagen
and what the issues is around these buildings.
First, an introduction to the aspects used to
analyze and understand the tall buildings
are outlined and explained. These aspects
serve to form a general categorization of
the tall building in Copenhagen into 3 typologies; a CIAM related tall building, an
American rooted tall building and a group
of slim tall buildings.



2. Theorizing the tall building

tools for analysis

Based on societal and architectural design aspects chosen by the author, the tall
buildings and their urban life are analyzed. Some of the aspects are based on concrete theory on the subject, others are based on observation and research on the
The aspects of the tall buildings are:

FAR (Floor Area Ratio)

Relation to other buildings

Free outdoor spaces

Function (monotoni)

Lower floors relation to street level

Position of building relating to the street

Visibility (Far vs. Local)





The prominent visual features of the city are

its landmarks.
Kevin Lynch, 1960


These aspects are used to analyze tall

building projects in the Copenhagen area.
The aspects are of equal importance. further details are described below:

FAR (Floor ratio area):

The density of buildings in the area is by
Poul Bk Pedersen highlighted as a crucial factor for the livability of an area
(Pedersen 2011). In that aspect, a high
FAR is desirable for a tall building area if
it should obtain a dynamic public life. Tall
building is not equivalent with a high FAR;
tall buildings areas can have the same FAR
as a single family house area if only a corner or small part of the plot have been built
but tall and big green areas take up the
rest, as seen in some projects inspired by
the CIAM movement. A high FAR is a great
opportunity to achieve a good urban life
but on the other hand it can put pressure
on the local green spaces available.

Relation to other buildings:

To determine the theoretical ambition
behind the tall building it is interesting to
see if the building is part of a plan, a unity
that is far bigger than the individual building, as e.g. Corbusier has highlighted in
his thoughts of the modern city (Corbisier,
1943). Building vertically is described in the
Athens charter by Corbusier as a tool to allow huge green spaces accessible for everyone. Hence tall buildings are constructions with big distances between them to
allow areas of recreation. This aspect focus
on how the building relate and contribute
to the existing city; Is it standing alone or
is it a cluster of tall buildings or in a mix of
typologies? The thoughts of Van Eesterens,
that the tall building should interact with


the surroundings through harmony and

rhythm between the high and low, old and
new, could be interesting to look for. Are
the tall buildings used for their aesthetic as well as their functional value?
Leon Krier argues for a strict separation of
the city and the countryside in opposition
to Corbusier. Larger budgets have resulted in larger building blocks he says. These
large structures destroy the city because
they lack a human scale. Building typologies should in Kriers opinion be as small in
length as in width as in typologically viable (leon Krier 1984) and they should form
as possible. This can create an intimate
character of the city.
Rem Koolhaus is against conventional architecture and want the urban dwellers to
look forward with new sensational buildings. This attempts to wow the consumer in
and built an environment with an ever-wilder provocative architecture and urbanism.
be seen with few references to its surroundings (Koolhaus, 1994). So is the tall building
modernistic a la Corbusier, single standing
wowing to admiration or a group of tall
buildings in a dense urban setting, forming
squares and smaller streets?

Free outdoor spaces:

Open space is understood as the non-building part of the site, regardless of usage.
Pedersen states that 30% of open space
ensures adequate open spaces in even a
dense urban residential setting (Pedersen
2011). The function of the urban spaces
around the tall buildings; does it stimulate a
possible use of the space? Are recreational
elements a central structure of the area?
Does the public space consist of semi private small spaces or large coherent open
spaces? Are the open spaces in a human
scale which Jan Gehl point out is essential
for providing good city spaces for pedestrians? Secondly he says that good walking
opportunities are a prerequisite for a lively, safe, sustainable and healthy city(Gehl
2013). Look at possibilities for resting, staying and conversing the scale of the place
The importance of the relation between
the building and its open space and vice
versa ; the buildings position can be in a
clear relationship to its opens spaces Some
buildings can be placed on strategic significant places, to give a desired expression
of the city landscape(Andersson, 1988).
Sven-Ingvar Anderson determine that a
general consensus for or against the position of a building in the landscape is based
on our ability to identify with the building.
Basic human functions to feel secure and
to make an impact are important. If the
buildings landscape can express these
needs we can identify with it (Anderson
1988). As e.g. Kronborg is in a powerful position in front of the resund passage while
having land in is back to give it security.

Bellahjhusene, being positioned on top

of the hill, interpret and highlight the landscape it is placed in.
cant landscape is equivalent to what Kevin lynch regard as a Landmark( Andersson

Function (Monotoni):
Building can shape the identity or the function of an area Is it monotonous or sticking
out? Does the building help the orientation? Orientation is based on the natural
structures we can identify. If we cant make
an image of the system we feel lost (Lynch,
Lynch criticizes projects with repetitive
structures and lack of human scale that
leaves the human without a sense of belonging. Projects inspired by the CIAM
movement can be seen as more based on
the function of the place than creating an


Lower floors relation to street

The importance of the relation between the
been emphasized by many urban scholars. As Pedersen writes tall buildings create
a big scale in the spaces around and its
therefore crucial to have a relationship beto reduce the big inhuman scale.
Integration of a tall building to its urban
context is dependent on its relation to the
street (Pedersen 2008).Gehl further emphasize this, Physical and visual transparency is crucial to how much and what kind of
activity is generated alongside a building
just as scale and details play an important
role in how a building and its effect on the
public space is perceived(Gehl P:20 The
brewery site, 2006). Jane Jacobs highlights the streets (sidewalks) as being the
lifeblood of the city, and important public
spaces, for social interaction, hence the importance of interaction with buildings and
street. Multifunctional neighborhoods with
dense street oriented residential buildings
and small-scale local commercial shops
create a sidewalk life and social contact,
resulting in trust and safety (Jacobs, 1964).
shopping mall Fields in Copenhagen; the
faades become monotonous with few
entrances and no contact between inside
and outside. The lower building level can
have a varied faade, with many entrances and transparence between inside and
outside as in the tall building complex from
Vancouver, see photo.


Example of a tall building from Vancouver. The

meeting with the ground has public functions and
transparence, with lower building shaping the street
in a human scale, (Toderian, 2015)

Position in relation to the street:

This aspect is, as relation between lower
the meeting between the building and the
public space. Does the building follow the
street or does it stand out of the street grid.
It can be an enclosed building as a block
structure or in an open park landscape.
A tall building can be set back from a lower
street bound base, to lessen the impact of
the tall scale on the street. This is what Eesteren argued for doing in his project Under
Der lInen, Photo. A lot of top

have a setback, notably Vesterbro in lborg (Photo).

Siegfried Giedions, a member of the CIAM
movement, conceptual form of Bauhaus
(Giedion 1973) could be seen as opposition
to the street bound building. Here the building can create a public place for interaction as a square in front of the building.

Van Eesteren project Under Der LInden, with Set

back to a tall building, (Guarda, 2013)

Diagram showing buildings in and away

from the street grid

lborg, Vesterbro, example of setback on the top

floors (skyscrapercity, 2015)


Visibility (far vs local):

The building can function as a landmark
as Kevin Lynch puts it(Lynch, 1960); an idenand effect up close different from a far
distance? It might be less visible from the
street up close, hidden behind other buildings. From a distance it is much higher than
others (e.g. Rigshospitalet, Photo).
Can the building relate in a regional scale,
e.g. through visibility, infrastructure connection or functions (e.g. regional shopping
centers) and relate in its local environment
though squares and buildings next door?

spaces between them allocating plenty of

sunlight to reach in the public areas around


How do the tall building project

Corbusier saw the car as the main form of
transportation and would accommodate
the need of the car by constructing wide
highways/boulevards between each tall
building. The sidewalks should, according
to Corbusier/CIAM be separated from the
differentiation. She saw empty and unattractive sidewalks because of the modernTo obtain a sustainable city, the public
transportation system should be encouraged (Pedersen, 2011); this could be done
by building dense around public transport
stations. What form of transport is prioritized
to and from the areas.

The tall building of Rigshospitalet is hidden behind its

smaller neighbor building seen from the street

Plenty of sun exposure has been highlighted
by Gehl as a major factor for creating recreational attractive urban places in Denmark.
How are the buildings affecting the public
space with shadows around the building?
New York had already in the 1920s implemented a regulation that ensures sun light
to the street by making the high-rises slimmest at the top.(Pedersen 2011)
The thoughts of the modern city by Corbusier are based on the notion that everybody will receive sunlight. The modernistic
tall buildings indeed tend to have larger


Steen Rasmussen states, to experience architecture one must be aware of all the elements and their effects, such as hardness
or softness of a building (Rasmussen 1959).
The faade has a great impact on the experience of buildings. It can be simple or
have a characteristic expression; it can
appear heavy or light.

mally less strong than in rural areas (Jensen, 2014). But wind turbulence can still occur more frequently around tall buildings
than in other areas, as the tall buildings
sticks out and captures a lot wind. Making
small scale shifts or set backs to a wider
base building can prevent some wind turbulence at the bottom of the building; additionally an aero dynamic design of the
tall building can prevent/reduce the effect of wind turbulence. This can be done
by rounding the building(Jensen, 2014).

Ferring restad City,dark heavy facade, in an open

context. (skyscrapercity, retrieved 22/06/15 2015)

The tall building in restad has a dark and

heavy faade but appears rather elegant
because of the open context it is placed
in. The faade can have a classic tectonic principle where some parts are carrying the building, as seen in the traditional block structures; or the faade can be

Diagram showing a tight tall buildings structure

can shelter smaller spaces and buildings from
the wind

like the SAS Hotel. The faade can be re-

Dense urban areas provide shelters from
mean winds thus the wind in cities is nor-



3. Analyzing tall buildings in


Tall buildings must be environmentally

sustainable and architecturally unique.
They should be placed with an eye for the city
and its qualities and support urban life, the
local environment and promote the use of
public transport
The municpal plan of Copenhagen 2011


This chapter will apply the previously outlined aspects to selected tall buildings in
Copenhagen and aim at categorizing
them. The cases have been selected due
to their location and height. The height
nicipality of Copenhagen on tall buildings.
The location is sought around Copen-


hagen from the suburbs to more central

places. This selection do not cover all tall
buildings but gives an indication of the existing types of tall buildings in the Copenhagen area.

Map over the location of the cases in Greater Copenhagen


Timeline of tall buildings

A gap is seen from the 1970s to the millennium.


Sas Hotel


Brndby strand
Bella Hj

Domus Vista


Hje gladsaxe







Bella Sky

Amerika plads
Islands Brygge
2014 -

2002 -


Turning Torso
Slvkysten Amager
2014 -






Case Summary

See appendix for the analysis of the cases

throughout Copenhagen.
Each case has been analyzed and has been

7 tall building projects with strong associations to CIAM have been found
Brndby strand
Domus vista

5 single standing tall building project with

strong resemblance to the American rooted
tall building have been found.
Sas Hotel
Radisson Hotel
Turning Torso
Bella Sky
4 tall building projects consisting of an ensemble/group of slim tall buildings have
been found.
Amerika Plads
Islands Brygge
East Amger (slvkysten)


Building on the cases analyzed, a division between the tall buildings has been
made by the author. A clear association
is observed between tall buildings built
after modernistic principles. Single standing tall buildings seeking attention, as the
American version of the tall building is as
well found in several cases. Finally an ensemble, a cluster of slim tall buildings, is
found at several contemporary projects in
Copenhagen; thus creating 3 types of tall
buildings: A CIAM tall building, American
rooted tall building and a group of slim tall
A further distinction can also be made between projects that are placed outside
existing urban areas and projects that
are transforming existing urban areas or in
a close proximity to existing urban areas.
This is most relevant in modernistic CIAM
inspired tall buildings where e.g. Lundtoftegade is tall buildings built in an urban
context, while e.g. Hje Gladsaxe is built
in a more open context. Both have clear
bonds to the modernistic principles.
In the following section the thesis will look
more into the 3 tall building typologies.



Categorization of tall buildings

After exploring the cases, 3 typologies of
tall buildings have been found in Copenhagen. The CIAM inspired tall building, tall
building with roots in America and the ensemble/group of slim tall buildings .

The CIAM inspired tall building:

An outline of the CIAM inspired tall buildinand its urban life:
The CIAM inspired tall buildings are usually
residential buildings placed in the suburbs
of a city. The tall buildings is part of a plan,
an unity that is far bigger than the individual building, as e.g. Corbusier has highlighted in his thoughts on the modern city (Corbusier, 1943).

Photo of Brndby strand, wtall buildings meeting

with the ground

Building vertically is a tool to allow huge

green spaces accessible for everyone;
therefore the tall buildings are placed with
big distances between them to allow areas of recreation.
The proportion of the buildings are to some
extent horizontal, making them seem more
massive or big rather than just tall, as a
ship in the ocean (Corbusier, 1943).
Indeed the open spaces are usually large
coherent public spaces, thus the ocean.

The buildings meeting with the ground is

mostly anonymous and enclosed, without
any lower base building.
Projects inspired by the CIAM movement
are foremost intended to shape the function of the place more than the identity.
The buildings are mostly placed in an open
landscape, away from the street grid.
The visibility of the tall buildings is great
from a far distance, but they often do not
function as a landmark up close because
of an anonym repetitive structure.
The thoughts of the modern city by Corbusier are based on the notion that everybody

Tall Buildings in parc landscape, Bellahj

will receive sunlight. Indeed, while the modernistic tall buildings tend to be bigger and
wider than the American towers, thereby
casting more shadow, they have larger
spaces between them allocating plenty of
sunlight receiving areas to the area.
The car was planned to be the main form
of transportation. This is why many projects
have accommodated the need of the car
by constructing wide parking areas into
the plans. Additionally, sidewalks are often


CIAM tall building areas, because the plan

incorporates big open spaces into it. Hence
building tall is not a tool to increase density
but to free up space around the buildings
space. This being said, high density is also
seen by many scholars as necessary to obtain a sustainable city. Adequate density
supports different form of transportation as
Pedersen has highlighted (Pedersen, 2011).
The faade and materials are often plain
light repetitive materials that make each

Photo of parking lots at Brndby strand

The car was planned to be the main form

of transportation. This is why many projects
have accommodated the need of the car
by constructing wide parking areas into
the plans. Additionally, sidewalks are often

other. The light faade materials can help

the massive cluster of tall buildings to appear less heavy though.
Wind turbulence tends to occur more frequently around tall buildings, and especially if these are placed far apart from each
other. These wide open areas leave no
shelter for prohibiting the wind in creating
wind turbulences near the bottom of the
tall buildings in the CIAM inspired tall building.

photo from Hje Gladsaxe. Large green spaces keep the FAR low on the plot


Photo from Brndby strand Windy at the bottom of

the buildings,

Defense of this typology:

A democratically lift to the population. The
CIAM buildings provided for bigger apartments with extensive amounts of sunlight,
integrated open green spaces within the
city. They allow for the average Joe to be
lifted up and out of unsanitary, overcrowded urban conditions into bright roomy
housing. Also, a number of sun-lit areas are
made available to the general public.

The big open spaces created in between
the buildings create a public realm that do
not seem to have any intimacy and feels
uncomfortable. Cheap building materials results in damaged apartments and the
cars not the people have taken over the
Wind turbulences are heavy around the
freestanding CIAM tall buildings. These are
unpleasant in a cold climate like the one in
Copenhagen. The projects have vast open

spaces resulting in a low building density,

FAR and closed meeting with the ground
with no connection to street; This generates
a dimensioned, unpleasant and uninviting

The CIAM inspired tall buildings had good
intention by providing better habitations for
the urban dweller. But public realm around
the tall buildings seems to suffer. Over dimensioned outdoor spaces with no intimacy spaces, permanent wind turbulences and a repetitive structure that give no
sense of belonging to local residents are
some issues reigning in these areas.
The placement of the buildings, faced
away from the street, do not contribute to
the street life around it. The parking often
in between the buildings and street seems
to further distance the buildings from any
public life around them.


The American rooted tall

The American rooted tall building is
usually not residential and is located inside
or in proximity to the city center. The buildings from this typology seem slimmer in proportion compared to the CIAM version.
It appears to be striving for height with its
proportionality. This building typology traditionally symbolizes individual economic strength and relates to the quote from
CTBUH, a machine that makes the land
pay(CTBUH, 2015).
This building typology consists of individual buildings. These buildings are seeking
attention and admiration by making a big
impact on the city skyline with sensational
architecture. Often, the American rooted
tower can even seem to disregard its context, appearing out of scale compared to
its surroundings.
The open spaces, as a recreational public
space, are often not planned for in single
tower projects even though some
contemporary projects make an effort to
integrate the public realm.
Normally, a large share of the open space
is made of parking functions.
The American rooted tower can be meeting the ground with a transparency and
public function but this is usually not the
case. Instead as seen in recent constructions such as Bella Sky, the faade limits
the transparence of the building thus it is
not connected to the urban life around it.


A landmark from a distance, Turning Torso and

Radisson; both striving vertically.

The building is shaping the identity of the

surrounding area by standing out. It funcmark as lynch puts it (Lynch, 1960). It can
help with orientation in the city, though
usually the building does not relate to its
local environment with plazas/squares nor
the buildings next door. Hence, its function
is better from a distance rather than up
close. This type of tall building is often positioned in strategic important areas of the
city, such as harbor fronts so as to increase
visibility and highlight the citys expression.

The faade is crucial to the experience
building over a lower base. The building is
often seen in Copenhagen with a lighter
top and a darker base, a way to create
a lighter atmosphere into the townscape
and prolong the seasons. The limited light
the building, while the darker base will absorb the heat and create an urban heat

The slimness of the tower usually prevents or

reduces its shadowing. The big scale shitfs
of the towers compared to the adjuvant
buildings let a lot wind to be captured by
the tall faade and whirled around (Jensen, 2014).

The FAR is normally not greater than in a

typical block structure in Copenhagen, as
the tall building has a smaller footprint with

A lot of wind turbulence around the single towers,

Radisson base building,

Floating tall building on a lower base building, Sas



Defense of this topology:

Group of slim tall buildings:

The American rooted tall building puts the

area on the map. It has great visibility and
an iconic factor which creates a mental
association to the neighborhood, a brand
so to speak that shapes the identity of the

This tall building typology has emerged

after a renaissance of building tall in the
beginning of the 00s in Copenhagen. This
typology however is yet to be seen in fully
completed projects, thus a conclusion on
its outcome might prove immature
The ensemble/ Group of slim tall building
(GSTB) often consist, of a blend of different
scales, a mixture of row houses, a transformation of the Block structure and slim
towers in large coherent projects. The proportion of these tall buildings have more in
common with the American rooted tower
than with CIAM, but the large size of the
projects is more like the CIAM examples
which exist in the Copenhagen suburb.
Their function varies from residential only,

The American rooted tall building often
does not really contribute to the public
realm around it after hours. It can seem
to be disconnected to the urban life and
the neighboring buildings, thereby making
it a monolith in the city. It often contains
big parking lots around it which further reinforce the lack of human connection to
the building.
The sharp height difference attracts a lot of
wind and creates wind turbulence around
the tower, which makes it unpleasant for
any stay at the bottom.

The single standing American tall building
is a highly noticeable element in Copenhagen. It creates a new dynamic in the
city but it tends to be like a disintegrated
fragment, not relating to its context. The
lack of interaction between the building
and its local context can give an oppressive expression for people in it, a lack of
human scale. Parking lots and unpleasant
winds are other negative factors.
The slim proportion of the tower makes it
more suitable for the climate in Denmark
than the wider CIAM tall building, because
of the reduced shadowing. It can even
with a dark base and a light top.


Mix of typologies - East Amager

Mix of typologies - Islands Brygge

GSTB, as the name indicates, involves more

than an individual building, yet each building has its own expression. The relationship
between the slim tall buildings and the other buildings is often done with a scale transition in steps from the tall buildings down

The building blocks are much smaller than

found in many CIAM project. This allows for
more pedestrian friendly streets and plazas
to be incorporated to the area, something

At the same time the multiple tall buildings
relate to each other thereby creating a
dynamic rhythm in the contrast between
tall and low as Eesteren has described.

local citizens. Squares or smaller public

spaces are often created in relation to the
tall buildings.
The slim towers meeting with the ground
comes in a lot of varieties. A lack of transparency still seems to be the rule rather
than the exception.

Intimate public spaces found in a Group of slim tall building area, East Amager


The GSTB are mostly placed near major

public transport elements. This ensures that
a great part of the population in the area
use sustainable ways of transport. This is in
line with the policy of the municipality of
Copenhagen which aims for sustainable
ways of transportation (Municipal plan of
Copenhagen, 2011).
The FAR is relatively high in GSTB areas, as
great as in the block areas of Copenhagen. This dense urban fabric puts pressure
on the local open public spaces but are
a great opportunity for a great urban life.
Hence the possibilities to integrate the
open public spaces, vertically could be a
solution as Pedersen points out (Pedersen

Lower building next to the tall building in - restad City


The faade tend to have unique features
in each tall building though having common traits. This could be of materials, colors, the shape of windows/balconies etc.
Wind turbulence can be prevented or reduced in dense urban areas, if planned
carefully. With integration of lower buildings
next to the slim tall building and/or letting
bigger buildings shelter others, wind turbulence at the bottom will be less strong. A
high density with small scale steps can help
shelter for the wind by letting the wind pass
over the buildings (Jensen, 2014). This is
seen implemented to some extent in GSTB

Defense of this typology:

The GSTB seeks to create a bridge between
the tall and the low. In the dynamic mix of
building typology the otherwise sharp conban landscape can be softened with this
GSTB have a dense building structure with
small blocks that creates a dynamic of
squares, small public places and pedestrian friendly paths which according to
several scholars is good for stimulating the
public life. The dense building structure
can also help shelter against the wind.

The GSTB typology can have far reaching
negative consequences if the tall buildings
do not land well as they are large sized.
The landmark effect of each tall building
ects. The tall buildings become a trivial/ordinary building typology that does not give
an identity to the area because it exists all
GSTB has high density and highly dense
built areas can put strains on open public
spaces. The amount of sun receiving public spaces could be pressured if the public
realm is not integrated vertically which still
lacks to be seen to a large extent in the
GSTB projects in Copenhagen.
The GSTB has the goal of attracting wealthy
taxpaying citizens. This could create an exclusive homogenization of the area for only
one social class, thus reducing the diversity
and possibly the public life in the area.

The GSTB given their large size is built over
several years, even decades; this can be
a quality as so feedback during the process can modify the project according to

the responses. The GSTB seems to improve

some conditions around the tall buildings
that other tall building typologies, have
been negativly affected by. The slimmer
building blocks forms more intimate spaces around the tall building, thus stimulating
more public life around them. The mix of
tall, low, old and new create a dynamic
setting, as something Eesteren would describe to be in a harmonious rhythm. The
interaction of the tall buildings can make
them seem less intimidating in the public
The GSTB area can seem to work great as
unity although the external connections
to the neighboring areas can seem to be
missing. Measures to integrate and soften
the boundaries of the projects must be taken.
The tall buildings can seem to lack a transopening the area up to the public.
The GSTB are dense urban fabrics, where
the open spaces might be pressured.
by a vertical integration into the plot; this
stills lack to be accurately implemented in
the Copenhagen projects.

Tall building projects today, without being

tions for urban life around them better than
the tall building projects from yesterday;
although it might be too early to judge.
Existing tall buildings and their urban life,
has issues that have been found. In the following chapter the thesis will look at cases
of 2 different tall buildings typologies. The
found improvements will be implemented
in a design proposal.



4. The urban life around 2 tall building typology cases

Hje Gladsaxe for the CIAM inspired tall

building and Radisson for the American
rooted tower typology will be evaluated.
As projects of the Group of slim tall buildings is yet to be seen fully completed no
design proposal are illustrated for this typology.




The case
T hrough regis tr ations and inter views on site, a foundation for a design con cept in Hje Glads axe has been developed
Is sues found relating to the urban life: wind turbulences, lack of intimac y, a
repetitive plain s truc ture and no visible connec tion bet ween front and back
of the t all building s.
A visible connec tion bet ween the wide open spaces and the other building
side towards the s treet, is desired; Fur thermore intimate spaces, s timulating a sense of owner ship for the lo c al resident s as well as a protec tion from
the wind are likewise ways desired.
Many tall building s projec t s of the t ypolo g y, CIAM inspired tall building s
cont ain a lot of similar is sues to their urban life. Hence this projec t c an
ser ve as an inspir ation or guideline to other c ases while being aware of spe cif ic conditions on each site.
T he gar a ges and their s tr uc tured spac es in b et we en the t all building s are found
to have p otentials. From lo c al s t akeholder s i t b e c ame ev ident that the f unc tion of
c ar gar a ges is not desired to b e changed, bu t that an ac ti v i t y in c ombination wi th
the e x is ting c ould b e a p os sibili t y.


Registrations on the site


To understand the area, I have made field trip registrations of the area. Here
photos of building and the visual character of the site



Flow registrations
Flow regis tr atio n, Walk ing p e ople - Made o n si te
26.05.1 5 14.0 0 -17.0 0

Inter view - selected quotes

Inter v iew wi th Iv an Kjr A nder s en (mana ger of maintenance in Hje Glads a xe)
14.0 6.1 5 - Made o n si te

W ind is a major problem, i t is alway s blowing

T he resident s are pleas ed ab ou t their par king gar ages and do not want them to
b e remove d

A lot of new ac ti v i ties have b e en made, bu t p e o ple do not us e them much. If

the public space had a smaller

S c ale that mi ght change. At the s quared building blo ck, lower building for ming
a mo re clos ed building

Ty p olo g y ne x t to the t all building s, there are more p e ople using the area, such
as ur ban f ar min g

C over in g o r prote c tio n f ro m the wind in ou tdo o r spac es will b en ef i t the area



Qualit y in the area and atmosphere

Sur rounde d by nature

I have established the issues on the site as e.g. the lack of public spaces
in a smaller scale. This moodboard highlights some of the qualities on the
site that i want to incoporate in my design


1:150 0

Hje gladsaxe
The area in focus is the existing car garages. The squared form contain a potential for a more intimate room for the locals, as well as being a link bet ween the
front and back of the tall buildings



Info over view

Road course
Hje gladsaxe main buildings
Storage buildings
Green areas 1
Green areas 2



I have in my sketch work, tested a lot of ideas, that all had the issues relating to
the site as star ting points. I worked with the idea of the stair and the rooftop being
a central element for stay and causal meetings. While working fur ther the garage
structures, turned out to be great as a dynamic link bet ween the back and the front
of the buildings.


It is more and more important to make the cities

inviting, so we can meet our fellow citizens face to face
and experience directly through our senses. Public life
in good quality public spaces is an important part of a
democratic life and a full life.

- Jan Gehl


Roof ga rden

Form and materials for inspiration to the development of a roof top


Stai rcase

Form and materials for inspiration to the development of a stair case


Ya rd activit y

Form and materials for inspiration to the development of a yard



3d sketching -volum/scale exper iment

3d sketching - Mater ial/colo r exper iment

Based on the registrations, sketches and work developing the

design concept, the design concept is progessing


20 Apr il
11.0 0 - 19.0 0

2 0 Apr i l 11.0 0
Based on the light registration it is clear that
the yards are situated
on the nor th side of the
buildings; but because
of the gap bet ween the
buildings there will be
sunllight in par ts of the
yard all day
2 0 Apr i l 13.0 0

2 0 Apr i l 15.0 0

2 0 Apr i l 17.0 0

2 0 Apr i l 19.0 0


Hje gladsaxe


1:15 0 0 0
Hje gladsaxe



0.0 G roundfloor - Cour t ya rd
0.1 4 m Hight - G reen roof top



G rass


Design solution
B reak down the repetitive str ucture of the a rea; 4 dif ferent ya rds, the
same design concept, but 4 dif ferent expressions and functions.






I llustration of the rooftop, a place for recreation, sheltered by a transpa rent wall from the wind.

I llustration of the stai rs in front of the cou r t ya rd, a possible meeting place
in bet ween neighbo rs


I llustration of cour t ya rd with water landscape, using ha r vested rainwater

from the sou r rounding roof tops

The design concept constitute a rooftop embedding a ya rd, a publ ic

space in a human scale stimulating neigbo r ing interactions. Fur ther mo re
the rooftop functions as a l ink bet ween the bui ldings front and back.
The 4 dif ferent designs of the ya rds wi ll create a dif ferent expression to
the a rea that can reduce the monotonous feel ing at the site; the publ ic
space wi ll be protected from the wind have places and reinfo rce a sense
of ownership fo r the local residents.




The case
Based on registrations and interviews, a design concept for Radisson is developped.
The La rge pa r k i ng lots and the tal l st r uctu re have an opp resive feel i ng on the
visito r, mak i ng o r ientation and the sense of belong i ng dif f icult. The w i nd is al so
dom i nati ng the a rea.
Radisson do not have any u r ban l ife o r any connection to its local contex t
despite its cent ral location.
Many tal l bui ldi ngs p rojects of the t ypology, Ame r ican rooted tal l bui ldi ngs
conta i n a lot of si m i la r issues to thei r u r ban l ife. Hence this p roject can se r ve as
an inspiration or guideline to other cases while being aware of specific conditions
on each site.
A connection to the sou r roundi ng cit y is desi red. Creati ng an i nviti ng a rea,
that g ives the publ ic l ife oppo r tunit y fo r stay w ith an sense of safet y and
belong i ng of the site.


Registrations on the site

To understand the area, I have made field trip registrations of the area. Here photos of building and the visual character of the site


Flow registrations
Summer d r y day, not pa r ticula r y windy.
few use the a rea for stay, only nea r the hotel entrance 5 -10 min. The rest use
the a rea as transit

Inter view - selected quotes

Question 1 - Do you stay o r wo r k at the hotel?
Question 2 - Are you using the outdoo r a reas?
Question 3 - What to change?

Question 1:
Most of the people inter viewed was associated to the hotel, either tour ist or
working. 2 out of 16 inter vied were not going to or from the hotel. This shows
that few from outside use the area,
Question 2 :
Mainly to walk to or from the hotel intrance. Stay near the bottom for (smoke)
break or wait for taxi or others.
Question 3 :
summar y of the answers: Change the tall building (facade), it is ugly. Change
the parking lots, get r id of them. Give the space more green or more stay op por tunities.



Qualit y in the area and atmosphere

I have established that one of the issues in the area is the lack of integration with its context.
This moodboard highlights some of the qualities on the site that i want to incoporate in my


A good environmental image gives its possessor an important sense

of emotional security. He can establish an harmonious relationship
between himself and the outside world. This is the obverse of the fear
that comes with disorientation.

- Kevin Lynch




Info over view

Road course


Radisson main building

1:150 0

Radisson Hotel

Gas station
Green areas

The focus area is the southern par t of the plot. The area is characterized by parking
lots and a gas station. The tall building visually dominates the area without any sense
of belonging for the obser ver


I have in my sketch work, tested a lot of ideas, that all had the issues relating to the site as
star ting point. I have as e.g. worked with the idea of a furniture with sails to protect against
the wind. I discovered though that I had to work with a design that grabs the whole area
south of Radisson with its parking lots. Thus an idea to work with a parking house as green
hill, that both offer a lively public space as well as solving the parking issue.


Activ hi ll

Shape and material for inspiration to the development of the hill


Pa r k ing faci l it y

Shape and material for inspiration to the development of a parking house



Based on my registrations, sketches and work developing the design concept, the design
concept is taking shape

Hill increase model

The model shows an average increase of 18 degrees, with four quotas,
as examples of the conditions that displays.

Q4 = L: 39m H 12m Q3 = L: 39m H 12m

Q2 = L: 39m H 12m

Q1 = L: 39m H 12m




Situation plan; showing the recreational connection from the Radisson plot to
neighboring recreational areas
1.20 0 0


Plan and section
1.150 0


Plan and section
1.10 0 0



Illustration showing the gas station integrated into the new parking house with small
greener y in front.

Illustration, view from the hotel entrance, the hill and a public path in front generating
a public flow through the plot


I llustration showing the roof of the pa r k ing house with possibilities for stay
and long sightl ines

A protected niche is created where the public will want to stay, Radisson hill.
The existing parking lots are replaced by a parking house that will be street
bound and embed the gas station; but more impor tantly the parking house
will break down the larged scale imposed on the visitor.
Lifted up overground, the public will have a secure over view of the plot. The
impact of the tall building can be obser ved as well as sightlines to
Amagernaturepark and the for tification of Copenhagen. The hill will have
references to the sour rounding landscape, the for tifcation of Copenhagen
with its hills as well as connecting existing recreational areas to it.



5. Discussion


Tall buildings projects are evolving in Copenhagen as shown with the typology
group/ensemble of slim tall buildings. The
ensemble tries to adapt and improve issues tall buildings in 20th century have exWhile the urbanization continues and Copenhagens population increases current
tall building projects today must prove
that they can increase density without
compromising the urban life around it; or

Future of tall buildings:

with a wide/big sensational design seeking

admiration as Rem Koolhauss building in
T he tall building, designed by Koolhaus,
in China shows a possible very distant future type of tall building in Copenhagen.
In Oslo, an architectural competition for a
new parliament had 4 out of the 7 archithose, the buildings were not aiming vertically as the American rooted tall building
e.g. Bjarke Ingels Groups (BIG) proposal
was a massive pyramid shaped tall buildings, as to honor the fjeld landscape of
Norway. (Aftenposten, 2015)

Today examples of all imaginable types of

tall buildings can be seen; buildings not especially striving vertically to obtain height
as traditional American rooted tower, but

Rem Koolhauss version of a tall building in Shanghai (, retrieved 12/04/15)


Despite tall building projects are met with

protests, many new tall buildings projects
are popping up in Copenhagen in recent
years. In the city center right across the
main entrance to Tivoli and thereby in the

Bormestervangen another tall building

project approved near Nrrebro station,
100 meter high. This project has an important factor, highlighted by Pedersen, incorporated in its proposal: the public space is

ought to think, an evidence is found.

the building being a publicly accessible

platform at a 100m height.

The construction of 5 round shaped buildings, the highest being 61 meters, Axel towers, are planned to have a public square
promises of an active urban life around it.

These new projects seem to indicate a

more public acceptance on tall buildings
in Copenhagen, or a less horizontal planning.

Proposal by BIG, for the new parlement in Oslo (Aftenposten, retrieved 12/05/15)

Future view from the public platform at Bormestervangen, Nrrebro


Summary of existing conditions:

The research on tall building started with
the notion that the urban life around tall

CIAM and American rooted tall buildings.

The study only highlights a fraction of the
existing tall building and also of the aspects
regarding the urban life around tall building. Further and more comprehensive studencing the urban life around tall buildings
and tall building development in general
Nevertheless based on shown issues of the
urban life in cases and with the help from
local residents and stakeholders, programs
to enhance the areas have been proposed. Many tall building projects in the
same typology face similar issues hence
the proposals can serve as a guideline for
the tall building typology, while taking the


I have learnt as Toderian puts it:

Its more about how tall buildings,

any buildings really, contribute to the
urban design of the city. Its about
how a tower design lands and
about the design of the
community it lands in how it
strengthens or weakens the street,
block, neighborhood the essential
urban quality of any urban place

taken to create a sense of intimacy, shelter against the wind or connect the public
better to the building and its site.
However each tall building project in Copenhagen is unique and the generalizations are merely a guideline for plausible
challenges for the urban life around tall

(Toderian, 2015).
The thesis has worked with issues relating to
the urban life around tall buildings in Copenhagen. This had led to an exploration of
the history of the planning paradigms, the
public debate and other factors that have
shaped the tall building development and
its urban life in Copenhagen. As a result of
case analyzes, 3 different tall building typologies have been created, The CIAM tall
building, the American rooted tall building and the ensemble of tall slim buildings.
A further investigation on the CIAM and
American rooted tall building has led to
2 case studies with design proposals. The
proposals can serve as a tool to tackle similar issues of other tall building projects especially within the same typologies.
The tall buildings have often, even in contemporary projects, a negative on the urban life around them; in Copenhagen especially wind, scale and lack of coherence
with context are pronounced. In order to
stimulate these areas, measures can be


Reference list:
Aften posten, 2015 - En mulighet til markere regjeringsmakten (Retrieved 12/05/ 2015)
Andersson, S., 1988. Bygninger og landskab : spredte tanker om at ligge smukt i landskabet Kunstakademiets Arkitektskole.
Andersson, S. I et al. Parkpolitik boligomrderne, byerne og det bne land, Dansk Byplanlaboratoriums skriftserie nr. 29, 1984.
Bisgaard, H,. 2010. Kbenhavns Genrejsning 1990-2010, Bolvrket.
CTBUH, 2015. Council on Tall Buildings and Urban Habitat. Symposium at Henning Larsen HQ, Copenhagen, 26 may 2015.
Danish coastal authority, Kystdirektoratet, ministry of environment (2015),


Emporis (global provider of building data) (retrieved 12/03/15)

Faber, T., 1962.Rum, form og funktion. Berlingske forlag Kbenhavn.
Howard, E., 1902. Garden Cities of To-Morrow, London: S. Sonnenschein & Co.
Gehl, j & Svarre, B., 2013. Bylivsstudier studier af samspillet mellem byen for og byens liv. Bogvrket
Gehl. J, 2006 The Brevery site catalogue of ideas Gehl Architects urban quality consultants, Copenhagen 2006.
Guarda, S., 2013. Cornelis Van Eesteren - Meeting The Avant-garde 1914-1929. Thoth.
Holek, A et al., 2008. Arkitekter der forandrer: Fra ghetto til velfungerende omrde, Gads Forlag.
JACOBS, J. 1961. The Use of Sidewalks: Contact. In Larice, M. & E. Macdonald (2013) (eds.) The Urban
Design Reader. London: Routledge, pp. 139-151
Jensen, M., 2014; Lecture Urban Climate and Green Infrastructure. Course, Urban Ecosystems; Structures, Functions
and designs, Faculty of Science, Copenhagen University, Sep. 22, 2014.
KOOLHAAS, R. 1994 The Generic City. In Larice, M. & E. Macdonald (2013) (eds.) The urban design reader. London
KRIER, L. (1984) Critiques and Urban Components. In Larice, M. & E. Macdonald (2007) (eds.) The Urban Design Reader. London
Le Corbusier, 1943 The Athens charter, Grossman publishers.
Linvald, S. 1987.Gammelholm and Frederiksholm. Volume 2 of Copenhagen then and now and never, Forlaget Palle Fogtdal A/S.
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(2013) (eds.) The Urban Design Reader. London
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Municipal plan 2011, City of Copenhagen -


sity press
Pedersen, P., 2011. Sustainable Compact city( Bredygtig kompakt by), Arkitektskolens forlag
3 edition 2011
Planstyrelsen, 2011. Miljministeriet rapport, ministry of environment: Hjhuse og byarkitektur.
Rasmussen, S., E., 1994. Kbenhavn Et bysamfunds srprg og udvikling gennem tiderne. G E C GADS forlag
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Rasmussen,S., E., 1959. experiencing architecture 1959
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rhus Kommune.
Skyscrapercity, 2015 - internet forum with news and discussions on urban developments around the world. (Photos retrieved, April - June 2015)
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(Retrieved 12/06/2015)
Local plans and city plan regulations obtained from the municipalities of Copenhagen:

-East amager. Lokalplan nr. 425 Krimsvej (2009)(Retrieved 30/03/15)

restad. Lokalplan nr. 309 restad city nord(2000) (Retrieved 28/3/15)

SAS hotel. Servitude protocol XIII nr. 134 (1952) (Retrieved 31/3/15)

Radisson Scandinavia Hotel. city plan regulation Retrived 12/04/15

Bellahjhusene. Servitude protoco XIII nr. 152 (1953) (Retrived 31/3/15)

Rigshospital. Lokalplan nr. 493 Rigshospitalet III (2012) (Retrived 25/3/15)

Panum. Lokalplan nr. 469 Panum II (2012) (retrieved 05/04/15)

Bella Sky. lokalplan nr. 342 Bella Center II (Retrieved 05/04/15

Islands brygge South Lokalplan nr. 410 Artellerivej syd (2013) (retrieved 02/04/15)

Amerika plads. Lokalplan nr. 347 (2001) (retrived 07/04/15)

Brndby Strand. Byplanvedtgt nr.12 (1969)
Hje gladsaxe. Partiel byplanvedtgt nr. 23 (1962) : Lunde- og Hyldegrden

Domus Vista. Byplanvedtgt nr. 10A, (1964).




Hje Gladsaxe (50 m, 1963-1966):

Concise summary of aspects
FAR: low
Relation to other buildings: not relatable
Free outdoor spaces: plenty
Lower floors relation to street level: closed
Function (monotony): Function
Position of building relation to the street: Away
Visibility: high
Sunlight: Good
Traffic: Car
Faade: simple
Wind: Highly windy



No: 1 and 2


Above 8 floors
3-8 floors

1-2 floors
Parking area



City plan regulation:

This plan allows the construction of 5 build-

ect is built at the same time as another huge

housing project in Copenhagen, Alberstlund

shaped like a block structure. There is a possibil-

North. This last mentioned, however, consists

ity of building a shopping center and an eight

of low rises and is seen as a direct opposition

to the urban planning of Hje Gladsaxe. These

mon areas and semi public functions can be

two projects in comparison seem in retrospec-

installed for the residents of the buildings. The

tive decisive for many large housing projects

wide open green area is protected (Gladsaxe

in Copenhagen afterwards. Hje Gladsaxe re-

Byplanvedtgt 23).

ceived a lot of criticism for being empty and

lacking human scale for people and therefore


not pleasant to live in. Hence big funded build-

As the name indicates (Hje=tall) this buildings

ing projects shifted towards low rises as seen

in Albertslund North in the decades after Hje

was a big population growth in the municipali-

Gladsaxe got built (Planstyrelsen 1991).

Hje Gladsaxe is built away from the street with

ings, with some low-rise buildings and a huge

parking lots in front of it and huge green areas

green area in front. It is built with a prefabrication technique, which just began to get used in

equivalent to a detached housing area.

Denmark at the time of construction. The proj-

FAR: 30% in the total plot with big open green areas as well as parking. As low or lower than many
single family house area.

Relation to other buildings: Part of hje gladsaxe consist of lower buildings.The low rises seem
separated in context with the tall buildings, although they are part of the Hje gladsaxe plan. The
lower building are more enclosed and resemble the block structure. North of the tall buildings, the
football stadium of Gladsaxe relate in width to some extent to the tall buildings. South of the tall
buildings a vast park area descends until Tingbjerg, that have one tall building as a marker of that
area. There is a social relationship with Tingbjerg, that is also visually connected across the highway
south of Hje Gladsaxe Tingbjerg is as Hje Gladsaxe a large scale project of social housing


Free outdoor spaces: Huge wide open area south of the buildings and parking lots on the other side
towards the street. There is plenty of open space available for the public.

Lower floors relation to street level: A center in the eastern part of the towers, which was planned as
serving everyday needs for the buildings. But no connection between the buildings lower floor and
the streetscape as parking lots dominate.

Function (Monotonies): The dominance of single houses in the suburbs is interrupted by 5, in context,
monumental buildings. These buildings are creating the function for the area and with their size, total
length approximately 600 meters, give a monotonous expression of the area from within.

Position in relation to the street: Buildings placed away from the street with wide open spaces in front
and behind. It does not relate to the street.

Visibility(far vs. local): Standing on top of a topography which slopes down towards a major high
way, theses towers have significant impact on the image of the area and far beyond. Locally the tall
buildings do not seem to function as any landmark but are seem as a plain repetitive structure.

Sunlight: To the south are huge open lower green areas, which allow a lot of sun intake to visitors as
well as the buildings. The parking side is primary shaded with a gap between the tall buildings to let
some light in.

Traffic. Highway running nearby. A lot of parking places dominating the spaces in front of the tall
buildings as so the area seems planned for the car. A bus service is connecting downtown Copenha
gen and Hje Gladsaxe.

Faade: Plain monotonous faade.

Wind condition: No real feeling of intimacy or shelter from the wind, only a few trees in the wide
open green area near the towers create some shelter for the wind.

Hje Gladsaxe, have 5 very massive tall buildings that in proportion just seem more big than
high, despite their height of 50 meters. The
spaces around the repetitive buildings and
plain facades are not stimulating for the public
life. The open spaces is over dimen
sioned and do not shelter from an
apparent permanent wind turbulence. Standing on top of a hill looking over the Copenhagen region these tall buildings are icons for the
area they stand in, Gladsaxe, and also for the


Bella Hjhuse (30-38m; 1951-56)

Concise summary of aspects
FAR: Low
Relation to other buildings: Not relatable
Free outdoor spaces: Plenty
Lower floors relation to street level: Closed
Function (monotony): Function
Position of building relation to the street: Away
Visibility: High
Sunlight: Plenty
Traffic: Car
Faade: Simple
Wind: Highly windy

Scale: 1:2000
No: 3 and 4


Above 8 floors
3-8 floors

1-2 floors
Parking area




City plan regulation:

2650m2 must be built there ( aprox 70 cars).
Description: First mover in Denmark when it comes to prefabricated techniques. It was built in the
1950s with a great need for housing in the capital. The height of the building is on the edge of the

FAR: 108%

Relation to other buildings: The buildings stand in symbioses with each other.
They only relate to them selves and not surrounding neighborhoods.

Free outdoor spaces: The towers are placed inside a parc. You literately seem
to walk into the park from the doorstep of the building.

Lower floors relation to street level: The buildings follows the topography and
play into the environment

Monotonies: The building are repetitive and can be perceived anonymous

when in-between them.

Visibilities: standing on the top of a topographic elevation, they constitute a

highly noticeable part of the Copenhagen skyline. As a navigation point for the area.

Sunlight: The buildings are placed to each other to allow a maximum of light in
fall. A lot of open areas with high sun intake is also available.


Towers in a parc.

Wind condition: a lot of wind around the area. Trees seems to reduce to some
degree the amount of wind turbulences.

The placement and adaption to the terrain is particular for the area, with height differences the buildings in between. However Bellahj has a lot of characteristic in common with other modernistic tall
buildings. It has a monotonous
facades and anonymous meeting with the ground. A seemingly over dimensioned park area embeds
faced away from the main street.


Brndby strand (46m; 1969-1973)

Concise summary of aspects
FAR: Low
Relation to other buildings: Not relatable
Free outdoor spaces: Average
Lower floors relation to street level: Closed
Function (monotony): Function
Position of building relation to the street: Away
Visibility: Medium
Sunlight: Plenty
Traffic: Car
Faade: Simple
Wind: Windy



No: 5 and 6

Above 8 floors
3-8 floors


1-2 floors
Parking area




City plan regulation:

tance of building restriction in proximity to a highway, 150 m, has to be complied according to management or roads in Denmark. Inside the area in question there is the option to construct common
areas for the inhabitants. No personal material must affect the faade of the buildings. (Brndby
strand City plan regulation)
Brndby strand is a large scale area in the suburbs of Copenhagen, built in beginning of the 1970s.
The area blends tall buildings with smaller building typologies as the row houses and block structure.
This pattern is repeated for a 2km in a approximately 200 wide strip. Prefabrication technique, named
sausage town, since everywhere you cut it, youll get the same piece.. It is in alliance with the
modernistic thoughts about a zoning city. It consists of high building blocks build with a distance so

FAR= 77%

Relation to other buildings: The towers stand in a row and relate to each other.
Lower buildings are placed in between and create smaller, more intimate
public rooms.

Free outdoor spaces: A green corridor (50 meter wide approximately) runs
along the row of tall buildings, for recreational use.

Lower floors relation to street level: Anonymous meeting with the ground. The
building lands directly with no base building.

Monotonies: Highly monotonous and repetitive structure. The tall buildings have
got their faade painted in different colors, an effort to better distinguish
between them. Still the area seems anonymous and clearly shapes the function
rather than the identity.

Visibilities: The buildings stand as noticeable elements close to an international

highway in the west suburban areas of Copenhagen, but within the area the
buildings do not help your orientation.

Sunlight: The parking spaces next to the tall buildings receive plenty of light,
and the green recreational corridor south of the towers as well.

Position in relation to the street: Buildings placed away from the street. A large
parking space in the front of the buildings

Traffic: Following the modernistic principle on traffic differentiation. Pedestrian

bridges or tunnels over/under car roads. S-train station near the area.

Wind condition: The areas around the tall buildings a highly exposed to wind,
even on not particularly windy days.

Despite the blend of typologies and an effort to paint the faades in different colors, a strong repetitive structure in the large area becomes monotonous. The area seems to follow to a great extent
the modernistic system of dividing living recreation, transportation and work. Almost only residential
from the street with parking lots in between and no connection between the streets and the ground


Lundtoftegade (45m;1965-1970)
Concise summary of aspects
FAR: Medium
Relation to other buildings: Semi relatable
Free outdoor spaces: Average
Lower floors relation to street level: Closed
Function (monotony): Function
Position of building relation to the street: partially away
Visibility: Medium
Sunlight: Average
Traffic: Car and bike
Faade: Simple
Wind: fairly windy

Above 8 floors
3-8 floors

1-2 floors
Parking area



No: 7 and 8




settlement for the modern family in 1970. Large bright apartments with sun receiving balconies, tall
buildings with views as far as the eye could see, low rises with retirement homes, institutions between
the tall buildings, located in attractive town with a small stream as its nearest neighbor.
But hardly had the residents moved in before the stream next door was laid in pipes, and a semi high-

FAR: 180%

Relation to other buildings: The tall buildings are embedded by block structures
that dominates the area context south and east of the area. There is another tall
building though, the TDC tower, nearby. It can seem like a prolongation of the 4 tall buildings.

Free outdoor spaces: Semi public spaces in-between the buildings with different
activities. Few people seen using them though, on a sunny summer afternoon in June.

Lower floors relation to street level: The meeting with the ground is without any
public function and seems anonymous.

Monotonies: The building are repetitive and can be perceived anonymous

when in-between them. Different activities in each yard between the buildings,
creates a more nuanced expression of the area.

Visibilities: Next to a major infrastructure, it seems highly visible, but is somehow

overshadowed by the TDC Tower from far away.

Sunlight: The buildings are placed to each other to allow a maximum of light in
fall. A lot of open areas with high sun intake is also available.

Position in relation to the street: The tall buildings stand and face away from
the street. Lower, 6 floors buildings, follow the street grid and embed the street
scape, and connect the buildings to street.

Traffic. The Car seems to dominate the area with large parking in between the
buildings, even though not at the extent seen in other projects, and with a 6
lanes motor road going right next to the buildings in a 1 floor height.

Facades: Facades with little detail, a monotonous expression with some trans

Wind condition: The dense urban fabric seems to reduce the dominance of the
wind compared to more open tall building areas.

Lundtoftegade is a tall building area with 4 proportionnaly wide tall buildings and smaller blocks
following the street. It is placed in a central and dense urban context. The open spaces have resemblance to courtyards found in block structures in Copenhagen, without being enclosed completely.
Despite of this the relation to the CIAM tall buildings is evident. The tall buildings are meeting the
ground away from the street and do not contain any transparence or open function at ground level.
wide proportions of the tall buildings, all point toward a CIAM inspiration.


Sorgenfrivang (40m; 1952-1957)

Concise summary of aspects
FAR: medium
Relation to other buildings: not relatable
Free outdoor spaces: few
Lower floors relation to street level: Semi transparent
Function (monotony): Function
Position of building relation to the street: Away
Visibility: medium
Sunlight: Good
Traffic: Car
Faade: Simple
Wind: windy


Scale: 1:2000


No: 7 and 8

Above 8 floors
3-8 floors

1-2 floors
Parking area




The 3 tall buildings were like many tall building project at the time, seen as a modern and futuristic
way of living. The project was a vision of the city inside a building complex. Many functions were
planned to be inside the tall building complex, such as a posthouse, groceries stores and other common functions, as laundry rooms etc. It consists of 3 tall buildings connected together through a one
to inner Copenhagen through it.

FAR: 130%

Relation to other buildings: The 3 tall slim but long buildings clearly stand out in a
predominately single house as well as low building block area. The plot is narrow, set
between rail road and street, hence the tall buildings seem squished inside a low building
area creating a momentous scale gap from the tall buildings to its context of low buildings.

Free outdoor spaces: Parking dominates the outdoor spaces in front of the tall buildings,
with pockets of playground and recreation.

the local residence as well as public functions as post house give an open impression
of the building complex from the ground.

Monotonies(function): The tall buildings stand out in the urban context of single family
houses or row houses, but the buildings themselves are monotonous. Intended to be
apartments without kitchen and having all common facilities inside the building complex.

scape around them. The repetitive structure lessens the landmark effect up close.

Sunlight: The tall buildings have good light in fall, but some areas in between them are
often affected by the shadows they create.

Position in relation to the street. Set away from the street with a strip of parking lots in
between the buildings and the street.

with a station close by.

Faade: The facades are currently undergoing a renovation. It had until now a plain
repetitive faade and that do not seem to change, according to the drawings put
up at the site. The different functions form some variation and transparence at the ground facade.

Wind condition: The tall scale gap from the tall buildings to the rest seems to create
significant wind turbulence at the bottom of the buildings.

Sorgenfrivang seems to be built on purely economical basis with disregard to its surroundings. No
harmony or connection between the tall building plot and the other building areas. Despite public
functions, the functions in the buildings seem mostly addressed to the citizens of Sorgenfrivang rather
than people from exterior.
The long proportions of the tall buildings, the position in relation to the street as well as the monotonous facades gives the area resemblance to modernistic planning ideas as the CIAM movement.


Domus vista (102m; 1969)

Concise summary of aspects
FAR: High
Relation to other buildings: Not relatable
Free outdoor spaces: Few
Lower floors relation to street level: Closed
Function (monotony): Function
Position of building relation to the street: Away
Visibility: Medium
Sunlight: Average
Traffic: Car
Faade: Simple
Wind: windy

Scale: 1:4000


No: 9 and 10


Above 8 floors
3-8 floors

1-2 floors
Parking area



City plan regulation:

building and contain restaurants, banquet facilities and others. As the plan argues, the apartments in
the building will be small and target young couples without children, thus a need for such functions.
Description: When built in 1969 it was the tallest residence complex in Europe. It was the symbol of the
area in front of the building.

FAR: 225%

Relation to other buildings: based on its height (102m) it is far out of reach for the surrounding
buildings. No real coherence with any other structure but a cluster of tall buildings is
nearby, NAME.

Free outdoor spaces. Few recreational options as parking lots dominates the area. An
skate arena have been integrated into the parking lot.

are situated at the lower block in connection to the tall building. The tall building meets
the ground inside the center, where a public interior square is.

Function (Monotony): Being a radical tall element the building gives an identity to the
area. Additionally the building shapes the function of the area with a shopping center
and providing a large number of apartments for the common public.

Visibility: Laying behind at the bottom of a hill, its impact on the skyline seems lessen.
But because of its height of 102m it is one of the most visible buildings south west of the
city center. Up close the building seems as a massive plain element that do not give
much back to its context.

Sunlight: The tall massive building creates a big shadow, but mainly on the parking lot.

Position in relation to the street: The tall building is set back from a big lower base building.
Large parking space is in-between the building and the street.

Facades: Plain monotonous facade.

Wind condition: Turbulent wind condition at the street level on both sides.

Domus Vista does not seem to scream for attention despite being a single standing above 100 meter
tall building. The wide proportions of the building do not appears to strive for height and its location
behind Valby Bakke away from the city center gives it a more discrete impact on the citys skyline. It
has a plain faade and it is encircled by anonymous parking lots. The residential tall building does not
seem to open up towards its context and meet the ground with an interior square, in a semi private
space inside the lower base building.


Rigshospitalet (75m, 1970)

Concise summary of aspects
FAR: medium
Relation to other buildings: semi relatable
Free outdoor spaces: average
Lower floors relation to street level: closed
Function (monotony): Function and identity
Position of building relation to the street: Away
Visibility: high
Sunlight: average
Traffic: Car
Faade: Simple


Wind: windy

No: 11 and 12

Scale: 1:2000



Above 8 floors
3-8 floors

1-2 floors
Parking area




the tallest building of Rigshospitalet are built in 1970 under a renovation of the original buildings from
the 19th century. A new plan has been made to demolish some of the oldest building in the area
the existing national hospital area, and do not change the tallest buildings, as the central complex.

174% to 234%.(local plan, Rigshospitalet)

FAR: 174%

Relation to other buildings: The whole area stands by itself and do have little
relation to the surroundings, but the tall building of Riget, is countered by the new
Panum tower to the west in height and Parken Stadium to the east in

Free outdoor spaces: The hospital area is encircled by parks, Flledparken a

huge recreational park behind and Amorparken in front of the buildings.
In between the buildings there is a recreational area with many smaller intimate
spaces in it.

Lower floors relation to street level: Few efforts have been made into integrating
the buildings lower floors outward to the public.

Function: The tall building complex shapes an identity for the whole hospital
area outwards. The recent addition of a helicopter pad reinforces that image,
as well as the function is made more visible.

Visibility: The tallest building of Riget is one of the most prominent features of
the Copenhagen skyline, especially because of its large width. Up close it
seems hidden away and do not function as a landmark as from far away.

Sunlight: The sunlight receiving areas seem sparse near the tall building, but the
neighboring park contain a lot New plan greatly increase the public space
around the building and will create a square with the most intake of sunlight.

Position in relation to the street: The buildings stand away from the main streets
with the tallest, furthest away.

Traffic: major traffic roads go nearby the hospital area. The car seemed to be a
main form of transportation despite the central location.

Faade : Plain monotonous faade with a heavy/dark expression.

Wind condition: Wind turbulence occurs frequently in the area. The courtyard
area next to the tallest building seems to some extent protected from the wind.


Rigshospitalet is unique for its combination of
proportionally wide tall building placed centrally in the city; this makes it one of the most visible
features in the Copenhagen skyline. The building area is surrounded by parks but the green
landscape is mostly left out of the space in between the buildings. The large building blocks,
the plain facades, the proportion, the meeting
with the ground and the position away from the
streets have much resemblance to the modernistic tall buildings.


Radisson Scandinavia hotel (86m, 1973)

Concise summary of aspects
FAR: medium
Relation to other buildings: not relatable
Free outdoor spaces: few
Lower floors relation to street level: closed
Function (monotony): Identity
Position of building relation to the street: Away
Visibility: high
Sunlight: Good
Traffic: Car
Faade: characteristic

Scale: 1:2000

Wind: windy


No: 13 and 14


Above 8 floors
3-8 floors

1-2 floors
Parking area




City plan regulation:

to the era of the construction, during the cold war. The project behind the permission of the plan
argues for strong elementary contrast between low and high. The tall building should be light and
precise, while the low rise should be heavy and dark with strong dramatic facade relief. (Radisson
city plan regulation)

Built in 1973, 86m high. It was built on a former military ground. A lot of protest met the project,
because of the height and location, but the municipality insisted since the city needed more hotel
capacity (Rasmussen, 1994).
hoods, Christianshavn, islands Brygge and Amagerbro, without being part of neither one of them. It
has a huge visibility in Copenhagen as it stands alone with no interaction at all with other buildings.
It is placed away from the street in the middle of the plot, with parking lots all around it.

Floor ratio area: 150%

Relation to other buildings: None. It stands alone as a monolith between

Isandsbrygge, Christianshavn and Amagerbro. Waiting for new buildings to come. It is
a fragment of the city and does not interact with any of its neighboring areas.

Free outdoor spaces : Parking spaces dominate the open space between the
street and the building.

Lower floors relation to street level: The lower base building consist of public
functions, casino and fitness ect. Monotonies: erupting in the monotony of 4-5
floors Karrebebyggelse that exist in the other neighborhoods.

Sunlight: A lot of sunlight into the parking lots south of the tall building.

Visibility(far vs. local): A big visible structure from the inner city as well as most
of amager. It works as aiming point on the road from Rdhuspladsen and other
major roads. When youre close to it, it is not that relevant, have to bend you
neck to see it.

Position in relation to the street: placed away from the street with a set back
on lower base building.

Traffic: major traffic roads of Copenhagen passing next to it.

Faade: Light faade on the top building, with slim vertical windows. Dark/
heavy base building.

Wind condition: Wind turbulence seem to occur frequently even in day without
much wind.

ter and a 6 lane road it is a highly visible element of the city. But it has no relation to other buildings
in its context; it seems to be screaming out in the void, look at me. The slim form and the vertical
faade seems to emphasize the buildings strive for height. The building is away from the street and
set back on a lower base building that has public functions but seems; however its public functions
and facades are not transparent and do seem uninviting. The open space around the buildings seem
unpleasant with a dominating windblown parking lot and no places for stay.


Panum science tarn (75m; 2015)

Concise summary of aspects
FAR: High
Relation to other buildings: Semi relatable
Free outdoor spaces: Few
Lower floors relation to street level: Transparent
Function (monotony): Identity
Position of building relation to the street: Partially Away
Visibility: High
Sunlight: Average
Traffic: Bike
Faade: Characteristic
Wind: -

Scale: 1:2000


No: 15 and 16


Above 8 floors
3-8 floors

1-2 floors
Parking area




Local plan:
Panum is created through an architectural competition. This has according to the plan ensured a
broad grounding and consensus of the plans architectural qualities. The ambition of this plan is to
make a landmark not only for the neighborhood but the science research globally. Optimal integration to the surrounding areas was highly prioritized in the architectural demands for the plan. The
building shall consist of material as such it does not take the attention away from Sankt Johannes
church which should still appear tallest seen from Sankt Hans square. Free space in the area should
be minimum 15 % of the ground area, and it should invite for stay and recreational activity. (local
plan, Panum)

FAR: 210%

Relation to other buildings: Relates in height to the church on St Hans square

and to Rigshospitalet on the other side.
through the area generating a new public life to the site. Other open space is
planned to consist of grass and squares

Lower floors relation to street level: Public spaces will be formed by the building
that aims for transparence.

Monotonies: it interrupts the monotony of the tedious existing Panum buildings.

It will give the area a new identity.

Visibility(far vs. local):. Locally it relates to the existing Panum building and the church
Sankt Hans. It will be an iconic building on Nrrebro and the rest of the city with a huge visibility.

Sunlight: The slimness of the tower prevents wide shadowing. It is also estimated
that the shadow of the tall building mainly will be on the existing Panum building,
thus not disturbing any key recreational areas.

Position in relation to the street. Away from the street, with branches of the
lower building going out to the street.

Traffic: close to major roads, but in a dense area in central Copenhagen, with
a new bike lane going by, the bike seems to be the prioritized as transport form.

Faade: A characteristic warm red colour with a light open expression.

Wind: - (Yet to be experience cause of the construction)

This single standing tower aims to be a landmark for the city of Copenhagen. It has great potential
with efforts to interact with the public life in this central location. It will have a new bike path through
the building. In addition the building pays attention to its impact in the context, as scaled to relate
well and not dominate Sankt Hans Church from the square Sankt Hans.


Turning torso (190m; 2005)

Concise summary of aspects
FAR: High
Relation to other buildings: Not relatable
Free outdoor spaces: Average
Lower floors relation to street level: Closed
Function (monotony): Identity
Position of building relation to the street: Away
Visibility: High
Sunlight: Average
Traffic: Car
Faade: Characteristic


Wind: Highly windy

No. 17 and 18




Above 8 floors
3-8 floors

1-2 floors
Parking area




Turning Torso is the single most noticeable element in the region. It has, as Koolhaus requests, a sensational wow effect to it, partially because no buildings near this height existed or exist in the region
and because of the buildings structure as the name indicates, imitates the movement of a human
torso turning around. It is visible placed in Malm Vstra Hamnen area near the coast, across the sea
towards Copenhagen. Built in the era of competition for attention in between cities, Malm sought to
brand itself through a tall building, a skyscraper of 190 meters in. Originally a similar skyscraper was
planned in Copenhagen but the city decided against it.

Floor ratio area:225%

Relation to other buildings: The building do seem to relate more to the sky than
the other buildings in the area that consist of lower building of 4- 6 floors. No
connection seems to be made.

Free outdoor spaces: Recreational areas exist in the area, as along a canal
close by, though not relating to the building.

Lower floors relation to street level: Private and not inviting. Small water pond
around, seems almost to function like a small fortification.

Function (Monotony): The building clearly shapes the identity of the area

Sunlight: The tall building stands alone in casting shadows. It is rather slim which
reduces the shadow.

Visibility: The tallest building in the region, placed at the coastline. The single
most visible building. Intended to be a symbol of a lighthouse.

Position in relation to the street: Set back from the street and not relating.

Traffic: Many parking lots dominating the area

Faade: It has a characteristic white faade turning around into the sky.

Wind condition: wind turbulence does seem to occur more frequently near the
bottom of the building.

An icon; this single standing tower strives for
height and admiration. It is placed strategicalpact of the citys expression outwards. From the
ground level it is surrounded by water and has
no public life or approachability , thus Turning
Torso seems to be Turning away from its local
context, and rather seeking fame in the globalized world.


Bella Sky (76,5m; 2011)

Concise summary of aspects
FAR: Low
Relation to other buildings: Not relatable
Free outdoor spaces: Few
Lower floors relation to street level: Closed
Function (monotony): Identity
Position of building relation to the street: Partially away
Visibility: High
Sunlight: Plenty
Traffic: Public transport
Faade: Characteristic
Wind: Highly windy

Scale: 1:2000


No: 19 and 20

Above 8 floors
3-8 floors

1-2 floors
Parking area





Local plan:
The purpose of the plan is the construction and de-


sign of a hotel, formed as 2 sculpturally shaped tow-

Finished in 2011, consist of two towers of 77m, the

maximum height due to airport restrictions. The tow-

function as a landmark for the entire neighborhood

ers are leaning away from each other from the same

and create functional and architectural context

with Bella Center congress facilities and entrance
facade. The two towers should be no less than 70

huge parking areas and the congress center, Bella

meters and not higher than 76m. They should be built

center which consist of a massive low rise building

with an added glass faade over the common base,

complex. The towers are visible from far distances

with a level of detail to ensure that they are each

and it can be seen as a strategy for the congress

perceived as an individual tall building from all an-

center to increase its visibility by the tower and signal

its success to the world.

building may not be bigger than 750m2. Open free

is included, roads, sidewalks etc.

Floor ratio area: 100%

Relation to other buildings: It responds to the tall buildings at the same height in
restad City 1 km south from it. Not any other relation in the area; the area is planned
to be developed in the future.

Free outdoor spaces: The free spaces are dominated by parking lots.

Lower floors relation to street level: Lower base building forming the base of the 2 towers,
containing a reception that do not seem transparent from outside.

Monotonies: standing out as an iconic building, forming the identity of the area.

Visibility(far vs. local): great visibility in most of amager and from some parts of the city
center too

Sunlight: The shadows are towards the large scale parking lot, where there is still plenty
of sun receiving parking areas.

Position in relation to the street: the two tall buildings form a portal and are street
bound, as a street is going through the building complex;. Parking lots encircle the rest
of the building complex from the main streets.

Traffic: Proximity to metro, but the oversized parking lots make it seem built for the car.

Facades. Characteristic V shaped windows adding a wow factor to the expression of

the building.

Wind condition: Windy area.

from all over Copenhagen with a different expression from each angle. It does not contribute much to its local
context though. The fancy faade seems to enclose it instead of opening it up. The meeting with the ground
is not contributing to the large scaled parking lots.


Sas hotellet (70 m; 1959)

FAR: Medium
Relation to other buildings: Semi relatable
Free outdoor spaces: Few
Lower floors relation to street level: Semi closed
Function (monotony): Identity
Position of building relation to the street: Streetbound
Visibility: High
Sunlight: Low
Traffic: Bike
Faade: Characteristic


Wind: Windy

No: 21 and 22

Scale: 1:2000



Above 8 floors
3-8 floors

1-2 floors
Parking area




City plan regulation:

The site is 540m2 big. The total amount of buildable square meters is 2160m2. The visibility of the building must not stand out negatively in the townscape.
Description: Arne Jacobsen built this 70 meter tall building in the 1950s. It was built in the modernist
era of tall buildings in Denmark. That being said, it is very distinct to the other tall buildings built at
that time. It is located in the city center, not the suburbs. Its function was intended to be business, not
The tall building has a set back on a lower street bound building, such as preached by C van Eesteren
in his project Under Linen. To date, it is the only tall building built near the city center, though Axel
towers of 61m are currently under construction.

Floor ratio area: 150% about the same as in a karrebebyggelse of 4-5 floors.

Relation to other buildings: Street bound the building becomes part of an unity
in the city. The Panoptikon building next to the Sas building, a 12 floor bears
some resemblance in facade with the SAS hotel. The ongoing construction of
Axel Towers will create a new relationship as well.

Free outdoor spaces: The backyard of the building is mainly used for parking. Located In
dense urban context, not a lot of open spaces. Axel square is nearby, and lively sidewalks.

Lower floors relation to street level: Function as a Hotel with public functions as
restaurants and other.

Monotonies: Standing out as a modernistic building in the center of the city. No

other building of that height in the city center.

Visibility (far vs. local): Clearly visible as an iconic building in the city center. It has local
connection with buildings with the same expression.( see plan no. 12). At a regional
scale it is situated near the main train station and it is thereby connected beyond the capital.

Sunlight: The slimness limits the shadow of the building to be mainly in the backyard
parking area.

Position in relation to the street: The tall building is set back from the street with
a lower block of two floors following the street grid.

Faade: Tall building is floating on top of the darker lower base. The faade
seems light and elegant.

Wind condition: Wind turbulence can occur more frequently at the area despite
a dense urban context.

This is clearly an inspiration from the American in this tall building. The SAS hotel has with its slim proportion, location and elegant faade have certain characteristics from American tall buildings. The
setback of the tall building make it seem less intimidating on the street and more in harmony with the


Amerika plads (62m and 48m; 2004-07)

FAR: High
Relation to other buildings: Semi relatable
Free outdoor spaces: Average
Lower floors relation to street level: Semi Closed
Function (monotony): Identity
Position of building relation to the street: Streetbound
Visibility: Medium
Sunlight: Average
Traffic: Bike
Faade: Characteristic


Wind: Windy

No: 23 and 24

Scale: 1:4000



Above 8 floors
3-8 floors

1-2 floors
Parking area


Local plan:
The plan emphasizes a mixed use of urban areas of high architectonic quality that takes advantage
of the attractive location near the harbor front. Old warehouse must be preserved and can be ex-


A tall building of 60 m can be built if architectural reasoned. Another tall building, 45m high, can
be in respect with the dimensions and height assessed in the other tall building so as to achieve an
acceptable skyline of this part of the town. The two tall buildings should express coherence with each
other and can be given a faade material and colors to highlights this.

In the beginning of the 00s this area was renewed, at the old harbor where the big ships left to
cross the Atlantic ocean, hence the name American Square. The area is 500 meter in length. It was
planned to contain at least one icon building and this became Kobbertrnet, 62 m. After it was built
another tall building was planned at the other end of development area to counter the existing tall
tall building has been approved and is planned to be next to Kobbertrnet on the last empty plot in
the area. The planning of this area near the harbor can be seen in the light of the globalized competition between cities, as a way of attracting businesses and attractive apartments. A means of showing
the world that the city is successful. A lot of the historic buildings in the area have been preserved and
integrated into new functions.

FAR: 235%

Relation to other buildings: Some old warehouse has been transformed. The two tall buildings relate
in height to each other and form a contrast between high and low. Other tall buildings near the
harbor are relatable but the area seems to connect best with itself.

Free outdoor spaces: Outdoor spaces have been created, but not much life observed, even with the
high FAR.

Lower floors relation to street level: Plesner seems closed off with little transparency. Fyrtrnet adding
recreation and more transparency to the area, through an elevated open courtyard area.

Monotonies: The two taller buildings stand out in height compared to the rest of the warehouse
buildings, shaping the identity of the area.

Visibility(far vs. local): Seen as iconic building close to the harbor front, and it has wide ranging con
nection with the Oslo Ferry. But Amerika plads seems like an island in the ocean, cut off from the rest
of the city by train rails. Visually the two tall buildings connect outside of the area. Inside the area it
feels like a cohesive structure of building that relate to each other.

Sunlight: The dense urban setting cannot prevent shadowing to occur, but efforts made to let a lot
of sun into public key spots

Position in relation to the street: Plesner, the tallest building has a setback on a low building. They
are both away from the street, with Fyrtrnet adding recreation and transparence to the area,
through an elevated open courtyard area.

Faade: Plesner have a Heavy expression. Fyrtrnet is lighter, with a particular balcony pattern and
roof terraces.

Wind condition: A windy area close to the harbor, though the dense urban setting shelter some wind off.

other in height and position across the plot. Ideas from Eesteren can be seen in the area with a contrast between high and low as well as between old and new. The tall buildings shape the identity of the


East Amager, Krimsvej (35-70m; 2013)

Concise summary of aspects
FAR: Medium
Relation to other buildings: Relatable
Free outdoor spaces: Average
Lower floors relation to street level: Semi Transparent
Function (monotony): Identity
Position of building relation to the street: Streetbound
Visibility: high
Sunlight: Average
Traffic: Public transport
Faade: Characteristic

Scale: 1:4000


No: 25 and 26

Wind: Windy


Above 8 floors
3-8 floors
1-2 floors
Parking area



City plan regulation:

should be slim and have a iconic value. Business function vs residential is at 20% vs 80% of the total
square meters being built in the area. Free public spaces should be at 10% in business areas and 43%
in residential areas.
building should have its own architectural expression, though some familiarities e.g. balcony patterns
would be encouraged. For diversity purposes, each area in the plan should have its own characteristic, with one or two tall building relating to a square or open area.


area is 130%. Located just next to a new and the biggest beach in the capital area, this area is developed to create attractive apartments with a sea view close to the city center. The area is built in
the era of city competition, with the intention of attracting good taxpaying citizens.

Floor ratio area: 125% total area, with variations from 15-200% on each building

Relation to other buildings: As a cluster of tall buildings the buildings relate to

each other. a variety of different building typology and scale creates a
dynamic setting, contrasting between tall and low.

Free outdoor spaces: Dominating by parking spaces, but effort made to

create a varied outdoor public space, with small squares, semi private courtyards
and small streets.

Lower floors relation to street level: A lot scale shifts, from 2 floors till 5 and up
till the tall building, gives a different streetscape, with a human scale around
the tall building.

Monotonies: a variety of different building typology create a dynamic setting

between tall and low.

Visibility: The cluster of tall buildings forms a landmark on the east coast of Copenhagen.
Independently each tall building can also function as a landmark in a
small scale with different materials and expression.

Sunlight: buildings placed as to let the most sunlight in to the areas. The slimness
of the towers do as little shadowing as possible on key public areas.

Position in relation to the street. Away from streets with smaller blocks going all
the way out, making them less intimidating.
Parking lots often hidden underground.

Faade: Each tall building has its own characteristics.

Wind condition. Wind turbulence can occur more frequently near especially
near the squared tallest building, close to the metro.

librium. An effort to get different scales mixed in a harmonious rhythm between lower and higher
buildings. The area has a lot of small open spaces and blocks. Each tall building has its own expreschange as the projects matures. The attraction of amager strandpark is close by and it seems to suck
a lot of life out of the area; thus not much life around the buildings. Some tall buildings have public
function at ground level, other a carefully scaled down with lower buildings in same materials extended from the tall building (see photo). A way to integrate the tall building with a smaller scale building
and making it seems less intimidating. There has been established semi private courtyards and material that traditionally have been use in Danish construction. Towards the neighboring residential areas
tween the buildings on Krimsvej, the building scale often feels humane and many of the tall buildings
do not feel oppressing on the landscape next to them. A group of slim towers.


Islandsbrygge syd (35-56m; 2014 - )

Concise summary of aspects
FAR: Medium
Relation to other buildings: Semi relatable
Free outdoor spaces: Average
Lower floors relation to street level: Closed
Function (monotony): Identity
Position of building relation to the street: Away
Visibility: Medium
Sunlight: Average
Traffic: Car and Bike
Faade: Characteristic


Wind: Partially windy

No: 27 and 28

Scale: 1:4000



Above 8 floors
3-8 floors

1-2 floors
Parking area



City plan regulation:

The plan sets the overall structuring elements such as to mark the transition between harbor / city and
nature landscape. There may be buildings in a height of 25-45 m. The tall buildings are solitary, individually shaped and appear with great variation in material effect. They are characterized by lightness
and transparency. Conceptually, they should be perceived as vertical streets with carved balconies,
greenhouses and common areas. The design of the buildings should be respectively 2-4 storey connected buildings, bounding streets, and 25-45 m tall, solitary buildings on open seats to form the basis
for a varied and contrasting architecture that will become the landmark of the neighborhood.
Description: The area is in an old industrial part of the harbor. It is bordered by the biggest nature park
area in Copenhagen, and the harbor. It is still ongoing construction, but 3 tall buildings, named the
are on the drawing board.

FAR: 125%

Relation to other buildings: The three sisters(the towers) forms together a clus
ter of tall buildings. At the moment the three and another have a height that
relate to each other. Old Nokken lies south of the area and seem to be in
another scale completely as do the smaller row houses build in the area. Across
the harbor lies big H.C.rsted plant and is in a completely different expression.

Free outdoor spaces: The outdoor spaces are compressed in-between the tall
buildings. But still to see the finalization of the lagoon a recreation area in the
making. Large recreational area close by, amager naturpark.

Lower floors relation to street level: Private space at the bottom floor of the
buildings, with a margin of bushes set the premise that outsiders are not invited
near the tall buildings.

Monotonies: A variety of different scales in the neighboring buildings and the

different heights of the tall buildings create a dynamic typology of buildings in
the area. The project shapes the identity of the area.

Visibility: Icons of the southern parth of Copenhagen harbor. Visible from Amag
er naturepark and the southern part of the harbor.

Sunlight: Poor sun intake in between the 3 tall buildings and their park.

Position in relation to the street: The buildings are placed away from the street
and placed into small greenery that glues them together, facing away from the

Traffic: Proximity to major infrastructure roads, the car seems prioritized as well
as the bike with bike lanes.

Faade: Rather heavy facades, but with a characteristic round shaped buildings
and fancy balconies.

Wind condition: The tall buildings are shaped round, aerodynamically, which to
some extent could reduce the wind turbulence normally created by tall buildings.

ings are rather massive in proportions and do not seem to be connecting with the lower small scaled
buildings. The tall buildings are placed in an open landscape encircled by smaller buildings; it all
seems to point inwards, rather uninviting. Walking around in snorkeling paths between the buildings
enhanced, all monofunctional. The lack of transparence in the area can be excused or explained
by the fact that the huge recreational wonderland amager naturepark lies just next to it; and/or that
the area is a more expensive residential part of Copenhagen and simply seeks exclusivity rather than


restad city (75 85m; 2001 - )

Concise summary of aspects
FAR: Medium
Relation to other buildings: Semi relatable
Free outdoor spaces: Average
Lower floors relation to street level: Closed
Function (monotony): Identity
Position of building relation to the street: Partially streetbound
Visibility: High
Sunlight: Average
Traffic: Public transport and car
Faade: Characteristic


Wind: Windy

No: 29 and 30

Scale: 1:4000



Above 8 floors
3-8 floors

1-2 floors
Parking area




Local plan:
The area should be an attractive and diverse place with wide range of activities for the public and
buildings of high aesthetic value. 6 tall buildings are allowed to be built near the highway. The areas
prominent character should be emphasized by distinctive building complexes in the form of tall buildings. The tall buildings act as structuring components of the area itself. The tall buildings should not be
lower than 75m high and not higher than 85 m due to airport restrictions.
Description: It consists of large building blocks with slimmer tall buildings. The vision of this place was
that 6 tall buildings of similar height should stand next to the highway forming a portal to Copenhagen
from the resunds bridge. The portal vision seems part of a city competition to attract attention seeking investors and growth to the city. Today only 3 high-rises have been completed at that spot, and

Floor ratio area: 180%

Relation to other buildings: Single family house area bordering the site on one
side, the other completely open green area. The houses scale down towards
the single houses to 4 floors and go up till 80 meters high

Free outdoor spaces: A large park area is available as well as smaller squares in
front of the tall buildings and more intimate spaces along a canal.
activities or transparence to the street level. The area seems privatized and not inviting.

Monotonies: Big residential blocks going from 4 floors to 12 and somewhere 80

meters create a different scale. The slim tall buildings lift the area up and give it identity

Position in relation to the street: Mostly street bound or forming smaller squares
in front of them. Scaling down toward the streets except towards the highway.
The plan of the area has been to create and portal of tall buildings next to the highway.

Sunlight: Large green areas available with a lot of sun intake.

Traffic: Major highway, metro and train connection. A traffic hub

Wind condition: Seems very windy with the wide open area west of the area
and no shelter or intimate spaces to counter the strong western winds.

Scale and strong winds seems to be problematic in this area. This group of slim tall buildings lifts the
or contribute to an urban life in the area though. The effort by building smaller buildings next to the
tall buildings can help the scale from some angles but the wind turbulences in restad is still strong
because of wide gap between the buildings. This place has no protection against the western wind
coming over the vast Amager naturepark and with a giant closed mall as neighbor; the urban life on
the sidewalks is vacuumed inside.


Interviews conducted by the author of the thesis.
Justensen, Rita (Head of planning and architecture in By&Havn). Interview. 29 May 2015 (Recorded on audiotape)
Andersen, Ivan Kjr (Manager at maintenance in Hje Gladsaxe). Interview. 14 June 2015 (Recorded on

Quotes from interview with Rita Justesen at By&Havn HQ in Copenhagen 29/05/15:

Problems with tall buildings often relate to the effects on the microclimate in Denmark, such as sun and
The context of the tall building is of great significance.
The close proximity of the airport of Copenhagen to the city center put strict regulation on building height
limits in Copenhagen.
In the municipality of Copenhagen a limit on the footprint of tall buildings has been set on 800 m2. This set
technical limit to build high also.
Quotes from interview with Ivan Kjr Andersen,the manager for the maintenance in the residential building
complex Hje Hje Gladsaxe:
At Hje Gladsaxe 14/06/15:
Wind is a major problem, it is always blowing
The residents are pleased about their parking garages and do not want them to be removed
A lot of new activities have been made, but people do not use them much. If the public space had a smaller scale that might change. At the squared building block, lower building forming a more closed building
typology next to the tall buildings, there are more people using the area, such as urban farming.
Covering or protection from the wind in outdoor spaces will benefit the area.


Model pictures