a visit to Ørestad

29Jan09

after getting to know mainly copenhagen city center for the past two weeks, my European Urban Design Theories [EUDT] professor scooped us up from class this afternoon and whisked us to the metro.  i love the metro here because the big windows  grant me this view if i squeesh into the very front cart:

its like a tranquil roller coaster

its like a tranquil roller coaster

our destination: Ørestad City, the new developing town on Amager [pronounced ‘AHma(r?gh??)], a tear drop-shaped island to the east of copenhagen.

the question: young + modernized + star-chitecture-saturated [daniel liebeskind, jean nouvel, etc.] as Ørestad is, would people want to live here?

main street....?

main street...

as a true T.O.D. – transport-oriented development, Ørestad City is pretty much centered around the metro.  which is good for public transportation and accessibility to copenhagen, and bad/sad because it bisects the town’s ‘main street’ like a knife down its spinal cord.  apparently, humans need a minimum of 20 meters distance to recognize a person’s face as friendly…and this main street [you can barely see the other side] spans 56m.  i think about all the times that i have waved hi to people standing on the other side of skinny little Vestegrade outside DIS…and hmmm, narrower streets can be very nice.

Ørestad gymnasium (or high school) to the right, metro running to the left

Ørestad gymnasium (or high school) by 3XN

the entry experience

the entry. yes, this is a high school.

(not my photo) -- but i was just so charmed by the lovable beanbag reading lounges on top of the cylinders

(not my photo) -- but i wanted to show this...i was so charmed by the lovable beanbag reading lounges on top of the cylinders!

so Ørestad is currently 998238% housing and very very little commercial shops, except for the monstrous Field’s mall next to the metro stop.  A mall is a mall…meaning that it has a long, closed unfriendly street facade, and makes everyone go inside to bat around for their whatever human needs, leaving the streets empty and forlorn.  so instead of mixed use/shops along the streets, there are lots of landmarky condos instead:

VM Husene by PLOT.  why is it facing a random patch of grass instead of the street?  my professor calls that green patooey a 'S.L.O.A.P.' -- aka 'space left over after planning'

VM Husene by PLOT. (who are now BIG.) why is it facing a random patch of grass instead of the street? and where are the people?

'...the only people who live in Orestad are wannabe architects, easily-persuaded d.i.r.k.s. [double-income-no-kids], and...exhibitionists'

'...the only people who live in Ørestad are wannabe architects, easily-persuaded d.i.r.k.s. (double-income-no-kids), and exhibitionists' (that girl up there was waving/dancing at me)

small private roof gardens for each tenant

small private roof gardens for each tenant in the VM Bjerget by BIG. aka 'the mountain,' and aka...

the most beautiful parking garage in the world.  along what can be called 'the tiring perspective'...3 kilometers of uninhibited vision straight....down....the road

probably the most beautiful and diagrammatic parking garage in the world (this is from the back). along what a very tiring perspective...3 kilometers of uninhibited vision straight....down....the road.

before today, i guess i had really never understood what it means for a city to be ‘at human scale.’  (we’re always taught to ‘design for the human’ in studio, but all that meant to me was making sure not to have monstrous ceiling heights and mousey-sized staircase widths.)  living in boston, new york, and new jersey, and traveling to taiwan, singapore, and bangkok, i guess i’ve only encountered urban environments that were somewhat condensed and crowded…  which i had formerly seen as potentially claustrophobic, but now, compared to this futuristically barren Ørestad, seem scarily comfy.

sigh — i love site visits.

EUDT, i think you will be my favorite class this semester.



6 Responses to “a visit to Ørestad”

  1. Oh my G… those pictures are amazing! >.< I really want to go and see those for myself now!

  2. Mmmm….human scale – sounds yummy.

  3. 3 Lihua

    Hi. I love you and am so excited for you and your term in Scandinavia. Soak it up and update so I can see the world with you!❤

  4. it looks so much more exciting/colorful/fun than middle of nowhere alabama…

  5. 5 inmexico

    I recognize that BIG building and their the diagram from there website!

    do you think the lack of human scale was a result of poor and completely no existent urban planning? did developer + architects take over with little regard for the ‘space between’ (haha jan’s phrase)? or is this the kind of town/area planning that in vogue nowadays?

  6. 6 J. Kang Chu

    i think it should be D.I.N.K instead of d.i.r.k.s. (double-income-no-kids)


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