Entertainment + Culture

Ørestad, Copenhagen’s Showcase for the Future of Architecture and Design

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By Vicki Halliday

Located on the island of Amager, between Central Copenhagen and Kastrup Airport, Ørestad shows off some of the best in Danish architecture today.

Ørestad’s construction began in the late 1990s and is due to be completed by 2020. Its four districts are nearly half-finished and there are already 10,000 people who call Ørestad home, as do Danish broadcaster DR, Copenhagen’s Concert Hall and Denmark’s largest shopping mall. World-renowned architects like superstar Bjarke Ingels, Jean Nouvel and Dissing+Weitling have contributed award-winning work to the area. The result is nothing short of stunning. Best of all, Ørestad is only a six-minute metro ride from central Copenhagen.

Top 5 Must-See Spots:

1. Copenhagen Concert Hall: At night, the exterior of this Jean Nouvel designed building transforms into huge blue screens against which visual images are projected. The symphony, opera and ballet all reside here—and seeing one of the four halls is a must.

2. VM Mountain: This residential building won the “Best in the World award” at the World Architecture Awards upon its completion in 2008. Its standout feature? The visionary means of connecting city living with nature. Through a system of terrace decks with an automated sprinkler system, what appears to be a mountain of wood are actually traditional dwellings that have spectacular views of the city and the coastal region.

3. 8Tallet: Also called Big House, Danish architect Bjarke Ingels and his BIG (the Bjarke Ingels Group) designed this building—combining apartments, retail and residential space—in the shape of a figure 8. The dramatically slanted roofline containing mown grass leads down to a cafe that has big views of the Kalved Fælled protected marshes below. 

4. Fields: Directly adjacent to the Ørestad metro station, this shopping mall is also a bastion of Danish design. Here’s where you’ll find great home design stores and, when you’re exhausted, spots to relax in the Arne Jacobsen lounge. A visit to the Fields is the perfect rainy day excursion.

5. The Bridges and the Islands: The three large, round structures are the most playful short cut to take across the canal of Ørestad. Each is made of wood and each is meant to be an experiential destination. On one island there are birdhouses and small animals, another offers skating in the winter and boating in the summer. No matter which island you find yourself hopping to and from, you’ll find places to sit and play and take in the views.

Photograph by Ty Stange