Ørestad Syd is an area of great contrasts; tall apartment blocks rise next to the expansive fields of Kalvebod Fælled. During the past few years, construction noise, mud and cranes defined the streetscape, but now other elements are starting to take up space. A green example is the neighborhood park, Mellemrummet, which is placed as a small pause between the tall walls and busy streets. White willow, Chinese meadow-rue, globe thistle and ornamental grasses make Mellemrummet a place where citizens can sit and take an extra deep breath while feeling the grass between their toes.
When BOGL started designing Mellemrummet, the surrounding area was a construction site. Like most of the buildings in Ørestad Syd, the park was placed on a bare brownfield, which gave rise to new questions. How do you work site-specific based on a context that does not exist? The answer was found in the history of the area. Until 1943 the pasture at Kalvebod Fælled was not a pasture but a seabed in the waters between Amager and Sjælland. The waters were characterized by small, underwater skerries, but after land reclamation, the area became what we know today. A wide landscape of pastures with wet meadow and vegetation dominated by grasses and pioneers in subdued earth tones.
The history and geology ended up being the basis for the design of Mellemrummet – both figuratively and literally. Large concrete surfaces create a “coastline” towards the green center of the park, where smaller concrete elements rise as skerries in the landscape. The concrete elements were cast directly in the ground, using the earth as a mold, and thus anchoring the geological narrative as a clear imprint in the concrete element. An imprint which is enhanced by different dyes in the material.
The casts lie as small islands in the green area and create a clear visual connection through the park. Because of the robust material, they can endure wind and weather while functioning as furniture and an urban “playground”. Instead of incorporating traditional play equipment in the park, it is the park itself that encourages explorations, adventures, and movement. On warm summer days, Mellemrummet is wrapped in light mist coming from the small sprinklers between the concrete skerries and on rainy days, the center fills with water reminiscent of the former sea.
In this sense, Mellemrummet becomes a green connection between the past and the present while offering a small break from the buzzing everyday life in Ørestad Syd.
Location: Copenhagen, Denmark
Landscape architect: BOGL
Client: By & Havn
Photo credits: Anne-Sophie Rosenvinge