Dragörkajen is located in Limhamn in the southwestern part of Malmö. Historically it was an area for concrete manufacturing, fishing industries and small-scale residential areas and marinas. Dragörkajen was the starting point for travel to the continent as it was the berth from where ferries to the Danish town Dragör departed. Today, the fishing is strictly recreational, the concrete factory is being refurbished to a high-end residential area and with trains departing to Copenhagen every 10 minutes the berth has been closed for many years.
Reclaiming the coastline
As many other seaside industrial towns, Malmö also, has seen a rapid increase in waterfront residential areas along the coastline. An exiting evolution of a city, where the sea is reclaimed from the industries, adding recreational value. Finding the balance between interesting public seaside space and good residential qualities is challenging especially in a small-scale context as this. The residents need privacy, the public need to be welcomed and feel invited to explore and find their own space in the sun.
The challenge with Dragörkajen was to find the balance between many contrasting needs and varied context. Private/public, fishermen/passers-by, restaurant outdoor seating/availability, outlook/shelter, industrial/historical, barren/lush, detailed/durable, functional/aesthetic, sun/shade.
Points of view
The main features of Dragörkajen is the slope that connect the lower dock and the upper path, the balconies and the alcoves that are cut into and extrude from the slope. The upper path is the main pedestrian walkway that also functions as an accessible road for deliveries to the waterfront houses. The balconies, planted with Pinus Nigra and Eleagnus angustifolia offer shade and a vantage point overlooking the quay. The alcoves, facing west, offer shelter from the ever present wind, informal meeting points in the sun as well as a landing stage for the small boats docked at the quay.
In the east of the site and the short end of the quay a public space opens. The north part of the space consists of a wide set of stairs which merges with a ramp planted with two specimen of Pinus nigra in circular corten steel edges. The space is defined in the east with a raised surface, planted with Gleditsia triacanthos offering seating under light shade in the summer. During winter the southern parts of the plaza acts as a storage space for recreational boats.
Pentagonal concrete slabs with three different surface treatments pave the slope. By removing four slabs surfaces for planting are created and planted with Pinus mugo ‘Hops’, perennial grasses and bulbs. The surface is flat enough to encourage the adventurous to take shortcuts crossing the slope. Others can access the two levels through the solid steel stairs which lay on the slope.
Balconies and alcoves
Retaining walls of corten steel acts as bannisters to the balconies and alcoves. Their form relates to the steel sheet pile the old industrial quay is constructed of at the neighbouring site. The cut-outs int the steel give the bannisters a lighter impression and allows the hidden lighting in the bannister to flow down both sides of the steel facades giving the spaces a warm yellow light.
The wooden dock
The lower pedestrian platform is cladded with diagonal wooden decking. In the alcoves the widened decking is connected with the wooden dock through a herringbone pattern.
The lighting scheme of the site is focused on not disrupting the ambiance from the closeness to the water. At night, the upper level is being lit by pole lighting while the waterfront is being lit only by bespoke lighting in the bannisters of the balconies and alcoves.
Dragörkajen has evolved through a close cooperation between the landscape architect (Anders Dahlbäck), the project manager from the city (architect Pernilla Theselius), structural engineers (Karl Meijer and Alexander Wahlberg at Structor), Johan Moritz (lighting designer at the city of Malmö). The design is a true result of dialogue and openness between different competences. The scheme focuses on quality, openness and accesibility for the public in a context where often private interests are prioritised.
Dragörkajen has been built in sequences over the last 1,5 years. The last trees where planted just this April. Even though the site has barely been finished, it is already being used both by the residents and visitors. The site is an important piece in the coastal pathway that stretches along Malmö’s coastline connecting the city centre with its southern parts.
Landscape architect: Anders Dahlbäck (Berg&Dahl) and Pernila Theselius (the city of Malmö)
Other designers involved in the design of landscape: Johan Moritz (lighting designer), Magnus Svensson (plant design)
Project location: Dragörkajen, Malmö. Sweden
Design year: 2016-2018
Year Built: 2016-2019