New entrance to Bispebjerg Cemetery | Copenhagen, Denmark | VEGA landskab

Bispebjerg Cemetery

The plaza and new entrance to Bispebjerg Cemetery, is a new urban space in an area that used to be inside the walls of the cemetery. As a gesture to the neighbourhood, the Cemetery is opened up and made accessible for everybody as a green space in a dense urban neighborhood.

Bispebjerg Cemetery
Bispebjerg Cemetery

The surrounding brick wall is an iconic element in the area of ‘Nordvest’, a neighborhood with a strong character, representing the Danish brick-built buildings at its best, with beautiful housing blocks and a famous yellow brick church building, the Grundtvig’s Church. Paying tribute to bricks and tiles, these are the main materials in the new project. To create the new urban pocket while still keeping the cemetery enclosed and lockable at night, the surrounding brick wall is conceptually ‘pushed back’. The two new wall pieces frame the sides of one of the main paths and hereby weaving the flow of the city together with the flow of the cemetery. The new wall is built in a darker color, with big areas where the wall is perforated, and made semitransparent by a pattern with openings in-between the bricks. Between the old wall and the new walls is a steel fence designed especially for the project, with an effect of vertical blinds that blocks the view into the cemetery from the street but allows a free view of the green areas from the plaza. Two big gates, with the same design as the fence, are open during the daytime and create an overlapping texture with the pattern of the bricks.

Bispebjerg Cemetery
Bispebjerg Cemetery
Bispebjerg Cemetery
Bispebjerg Cemetery

Two old birch trees are incorporated into the new design of Bispebjerg Cemetery. As the terrain of the cemetery was app 0.5m higher than the level of the city, the terrain around these trees is kept in its original position, framed by a simple steel edge and covered with gravel to avoid damaging the roots. Outside the gravel areas, the plaza is paved with brick tiles in a brownish color, coordinated with both the old and the new wall. Around the trees are big circular benches, which, together with the bench next to the wall, provide many options to sit – alone or with more people together, and with the possibility of entering a conversation between benches. A few new trees are planted as well. A Mable tree with a very special color on the bark is placed close to the sidewalk, referring to the color of the bricks, and a new silk pine is bringing the special atmosphere of the pines in the cemetery into the plaza.

Bispebjerg Cemetery
Bispebjerg Cemetery


The lighting of the plaza is developed as an integrated part of the project. All Copenhagen cemeteries are without artificial lighting, so the main issue was to create a soft and gentle transition from the light of the city to the darkness of the cemetery so that ‘the light of the darkness’ was still present. A few precisely adjusted spots placed in the existing light poles provide the general grazing light at the plaza, sweeping through the fences into the cemetery. More scenography lighting is added along the wall. Taking inspiration from a fireplace and from the vision of the whole plaza being the new living room of the neighborhood, the luminaires (integrated in the paving) is washing the new brick wall with a warm light. The light is coordinated with the astronomical sunset, and the intensity is set to change within the seasons.

Bispebjerg Cemetery
Bispebjerg Cemetery
Bispebjerg Cemetery

New entrance to Bispebjerg Cemetery

Location | Bispebjerg Cemetery, Skoleholdervej, Copenhagen, Denmark

Design Firm | VEGA landskab

Collaborators:

Total consultant and landscape architects | VEGA landskab

Engineering Consultants | Eduard Troelsgård

Lighting designer | Lightscapes Aps

Main contractor | Ebbe Dalsgaard

Masonry | Murermester Kim Cordsen

Blacksmith | medemester Gert Bomholt

Luminaires and installation | Lightstructures and Citelum/iGuzzini

Client | Copenhagen Municipality

Photography eye level | VEGA landskab and Naja Viscor

Photography Drone/aerial view | Astrid Maria Rasmussen
Text | VEGA landskab


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About Damian Holmes 5668 Articles
Damian Holmes is the Founder and Editor of World Landscape Architecture (WLA). He is a registered landscape architect (AILA) working in international design practice in Australia. Damian founded WLA in 2007 to provide a website for landscape architects written by landscape architects. Connect on Linkedin at https://www.linkedin.com/in/damianholmes/