The ‘City Dune’ by SLA

SEB Bank hq in Copenhagen by Lundgaard & Tranberg

The City Dune urban landscape

Inspired by Nordic nature, the City Dune provides a bikeable connection from street level to an elevated bike route.

Urban nature on nature’s own terms

The green, winding climb and the elevated green space is a great project. It’s a brilliant experience even missing the future connection for bike commuters to offices, hotels, student housing and an IKEA.

Lundgaard & Tranberg (who also designed the two rounded SEB Bank towers) is behind the masterplan, including also a future extension to the nearby central station. SLA (Stig Lennart Andersson) designed the actual concrete landscape and greenery, completed in 2011.

Most Copenhageners think of the stretch on this side of the harbourfront (Kalvebod Brygge) as a bit of a failure. Before the opening of the Kalvebod Waves-project, it didn’t feature any attractive public spaces and no relation or physical connection to the city behind it. So this masterplan included an alternative public space and bike route for (mostly future) commuters. 

Although for a while yet it’ll remain a dead-end, you can also get to this elevated pathway via stairs or an elevator (if it works) in front of the Tivoli Hotel. So by foot, you can get up in one end and down the other. 

Organic urban nature

The serpentine path and bike ramp is laid out beautifully with ‘urban nature’, collecting and using rainwater for irrigation. SLA is a local, leading landscape architecture firm. They follow a philosophy of organic urban nature, choosing local plants, bushes, trees and grasses. These are more resilient, and arranged ‘organically’ they need less maintenance and nursing.

Furthermore, they contribute to higher biodiversity by attracting more bees and birds, compared to the typical park. Birch trees are chosen specifically as a special reference to the vast Swedish forests, as SEB is a Swedish bank (Svenska Enskilda Banken).

I personally love how the trees have grown into a lush forest. And even more how this place is a generous gesture of space sharing and urban cycling as an art form.

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