The Mærsk Tower is a new university complex in Copenhagen aimed at world-class health science research. The tower is located in the middle of the SUND Nature Park, a completely new city park in the borough of Nørrebro, designed by SLA. The nature park is a new type of modern campus park that supports and strengthens the good study and research life while providing a wide range of natural, functional and social values to the surrounding city.
Thus the project is a reinterpretation of the urban university campus, merging nature-based amenities designed to enhance creativity and life quality for students and researchers with tangible social and climatic solutions to pressing global issues such as cloudburst mitigation, accessibility for all and social neighborhood inclusion.
Research and public life fused
SUND Nature Park uses nature to create an optimal framework for the good study and research life. Here the building and the landscape melts together in outdoor study places, green recreational areas and plenty of opportunities for informal social gatherings. Nature flows in and out of the building, utilizing the latest research knowledge on nature’s creative and recreational ecosystem services for humans – thus creating the optimal framework for a healthy, innovative and inspiring research and student life.
However, SUND Nature Park is not only aimed at improving the health and creativity of students and teachers; it is also a generous gesture to the rest of Copenhagen, as the park is open and accessible to all and offers new “wild” nature experiences for all Nørrebro’s citizens. Here research and everyday life merge and become an integral part of the urban life in Nørrebro. With its distinctive wild and green expression, the SUND Nature Park meets modern peoples’ demand for nature in the city.
The Græsningsfælled restored
With its hawthorns, meaddows and oak trees, SUND Nature Park rehabilitates Copenhagen’s old public Græsningsfælled (Grass Common), which until the 1840s stretched all the way from the countryside to Skt. Hans Torv. At the same time, the nature park has been supplied with a large number of exotic tree species with different cultural and biological origins – as an homage to the multicultural Nørrebro.
The mix of foreign and native trees and plants not only makes the park’s city nature richer and more varied to look, smell and experience – the park also becomes more resilient and adaptable to future climate change, while also being able to accommodate a huge boost of increased biodiversity for the city with an estimated 1000 animal species ranging living in the park – from insects, bees and butterflies to squirrels and rabbits.
Green breathing spaces
The lush city nature of SUND Nature Park offers many different breathing spaces for outdoor studies, reading groups and research discussions for both students and researchers. But these breathing spaces are not just for the university – all citizens and visitors are welcomed to use and enjoy the new green surroundings: Thus the open design of the park can accommodate a wide range of programs and activities: Informal relaxation on the lush green edges, play in the fields, picnics in the secret oases on benches and tables or in the wild nature, walking the dog, collecting wild flowers, etc. The possibilities are many.
Sustainability and climate adaptation as a resource
SUND Nature Park is state-of-the-art in terms of sustainability and climate adaptation. The park is designed to handle even the most extreme cloud bursts – the so-called 100-year events – without the surrounding buildings or roads being flooded. Thus, all rainwater from park, buildings, green roofs as well as the surrounding streets is collected and naturally cleansed in natural rain beds and in large underground reservoirs. From here the rainwater is recycled for irrigation in the park or for grey toilet water in the building, thus saving up to 1000 liters of water a day.
The Good Detour
Sund Nature Park is designed to encourage Copenhagen’s world-renowned bicycling culture through innovative cycling parking solutions such as an underground bicycle parking basement with space for 1,000 bikes. The park also creates new connections across Nørrebro. This is done via The Good Detour, a 300 meter long floating bicycle and pedestrian bridge which leads across the campus park and the Maersk Tower. The bridge gives everyone the opportunity to get up close to building, the researchers and the trees. On the bridge are several resting areas and lookout spaces where you get a special view of both park and neighborhood – between tower and tree tops.
Nørrebro’s new gathering point
With SLA’s design, SUND Nature Park has become a new social and natural gathering point for researchers, students and citizens in Nørrebro. It is a new type of urban university park, which supports world-leading health science research; while also strengthening the city’s social and environmental sustainability and creates opportunities for good nature experiences for all.
Nationally and internationally honored
SUND Nature Park is highly honored and awarded. Among the project’s many awards and honors are: The World Architecture Festival (WAF) Award, The Copenhagen City Award, The Scandinavian Green Roof Award, and The MIPIM Award.
Project location: SUND Nature Park, Blegdamsvej 3, DK-2200 Copenhagen, DENMARK
Design year: 2016
Year Built: 2018