Sankt Kjelds Square and Bryggervangen wins Arne of the Year Award

The combined climate adaptation and urban space project Sankt Kjelds Square and Bryggervangen is Copenhagen’s largest and greenest cloudburst adaptation project to date. The 35,000 square meter climate adaptation project, designed by Danish nature design experts SLA, enhances biodiversity in the city, increases health and quality of life for local citizens, reduces air pollution and reduces the urban heat island effect.

For the project, SLA has just been announced the recipient of this year’s Arne of the Year Award – the most prestigious Danish architecture prize awarded by the Danish Architecture Association. The prize is named after legendary Danish architect Arne Jacobsen. The first time a landscape project has won the award.

SLA receives the award for its integrated cloudburst solutions that make Sankt Kjelds Square and Bryggervangen a beacon of nature-based and holistic climate adaptation, urban biodiversity enhancement and social infrastructure.

With the project, SLA shows how effective protection against cloudbursts can go hand in hand with green and recreational urban spaces that reduce traffic and strengthen biodiversity. Here, the rainwater is handled on the surface in lush blue-green public spaces and thus become a resource giving life to plants and trees rather than simply ending up in overflowing sewers.

“Sankt Kjelds Square and Bryggervangen signifies a new paradigm within city development. The project uses a holistic approach that brings together a wide range of features such as cloudburst protection and urban biodiversity enhancement. Through our nature-based design approach, we have transformed 9,000 square meters of asphalt into new nature. 586 new trees – living and dead – and a host of new plants and animal species create a real quality of life for the residents,”

Stig L. Andersson, founding partner and design director of SLA.

The strategic design of ecosystem services has been integral in the design of the large public space. In this way, SLA has aimed to bring nature’s great benefits as close as possible to city infrastructure, overall biodiversity and the daily life of Copenhageners.

“In the design of the project’s new nature, we use ecosystem services to not only protect the city from flooding after cloudbursts, but also purify polluted air, improve microclimate and provide a social foundation for the neighborhood. We also create a whole new experience of what it means to live in a city. In Sankt Kjelds and Bryggervangen, there is a new aesthetic connection between man and nature. A connection that too many people have lost in the city today, and which more and more people are requesting,”

Stig L. Andersson

Sankt Kjelds Square and Bryggervangen is designed by SLA, who has led a multidisciplinary team consisting of NIRAS, Viatrafik, Jens Rørbech and contractor Ebbe Dalsgaard. The client is the City of Copenhagen and HOFOR.

The project was completed in 2019.

Sankt Kjelds Square and Bryggervangen

Location: Copenhagen, Denmark

Design: SLA
Images: Courtesy of SLA

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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