City Box

a new city park and temporary exhibition space for new urban construction

Copenhagen, Denmark | Denmark International Studies Program 2001

Site Plan

The program calls for a new urban park to replace the current parking lot and for the construction of a temporary exhibition space which will help inform the public and display progress on the construction of a new playhouse immediately east of the site and a new opera house across the harbor.


Axes, primary sight lines, and interstitial spaces functioned as the major generators for the spaces and form of the temporary exhibition space and park. The east-west axis of Sankt Annæ Plads, punctuated with statuary and busts, should continue through the new park addition, with a new punctuation in the form of a small, but high, viewing platform, symbolizing the replacement of monarchy with democracy. The site should also connect directly to the north-south Langelinie axis. Lines of sight to the new playhouse and opera are of primary importance, as they are the major works to be displayed in the exhibition space. Finally, the creation of interstitial spaces served as the primary spatial concept in the development of the exhibition space itself.

Temporary structure, top half. Permanent park, bottom half.
Sections and Elevation

The design of the project focuses upon first creating the park space which will remain following the removal of the temporary exhibition space. The park is designed to be predominantly a place of movement and journey as opposed to a place of relaxation or play. The primary elements of the park thus are focused most around the two axes of the site. A long inclined path occupies the middle of the site and stretches for 72 meters towards the harbor. Beginning at a height of one meter, the path’s sides of Corten steel grows in height to three meters as it climbs to the top of its six meter tall pedestal of stone. Adjoining the pedestal and intersecting the site are four six-meter-tall sheets of Corten steel which define the two major viewpoints towards the proposed playhouse and the new opera. These sheets create a narrow interior space through which one has a controlled view of the new cultural complexes. They also function as a transition to the lower part of the park by the harbor--a small sunken plaza with a reflecting pool and fountain flowing from the pedestal. Along the longitudinal sides of the park between the pedestal and the Langelinie axis are a series of three meter tall sheets of Corten steel alternating with plantings of short, thin willow bushes which wave and bend in the wind of the harbor. The Langelinie axis remains clear of all objects and is the last place to cross underneath the inclined path. Moving farther towards the city, the inclined path dominates the center of the park, while the edges are again planted with thin willows directly in the open pavings which cover the ground plane. At the end of the site lies a planting of five maples--the old end-point of the Sankt Annæ axis.

The temporary exhibition space resides on top of the park layer. The interstitial space created by the transverse Corten steel becomes the core of the building, functioning mainly as vertical circulation and comprising the majority of the solid vertical massing. The exhibition area itself, its administrative offices, viewing platform, and a cafe all revolve around this central corridor/axis. Entrance to the building is achieved by ascending the inclined path to the third floor. The building exists along either side of the path, and once at the pedestal, the building occupies nearly the full width of the site.

The exhibition building is constructed of materials based upon those found in and around construction sites in Copenhagen. The structure is a simple post and beam system, mimicking scaffolding. The exterior skin, made of translucent and transparent glass, is based upon the plastic wrapping which surrounds buildings under renovation. The flooring is wooden planks like those found resting upon scaffolding.

Plans and Section