Copenhagen gives green light to giant skyscrapers

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Copenhagen gives green light to giant skyscrapers
The Oceankaj area in Copenhagen's Nordhavn could get a radical new look. File photo: Nils Meilvang/Scanpix

Copenhagen’s municipality has approved in principle plans for skyscrapers that would be among the tallest buildings in Europe.


A majority in the city’s municipality has given its support to the further development of skyscraper projects in the Ydre Nordhavn area in the city’s Østerbro district, the Politiken newspaper reported Tuesday.

The municipal approval means that either the tallest building in western Europe at 330 metres, housing a hotel, shopping centre and apartments; or a 280-metre tall skyscraper complete with Hans Christian Andersen-inspired theme park can be built at the Oceankaj harbour area.

One of the two projects is now a step closer to becoming reality after the Technology and Environment and Economy committees of Copenhagen’s municipality voted for further development of the two projects.

But support for the projects in the municipal committee is not entirely shared by the city’s Technology and Environment and Economy Authority (Teknik- og Miljøforvaltningen og Økonomiforvaltningnen), which recommended that the proposals be rejected, citing their mismatch with current development projects in the area.

“Nordhavn is in dire need of cheap housing and green areas. That will not be provided by these two projects,” Technology and Environment committee chairperson Morten Kabell of the Red-Green Alliance (Enhedslisten) party told Politiken.

“The Hans Christian Andersen adventure tower will, for example, create a commercial theme park and thereby a luxury resort which is enclosed instead of being an open area for the city. This kind of thing is familiar from Dubai, and is certainly not what we need in Copenhagen,” Kabell continued.

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The committee chair added that the majority support for the skyscrapers is a sign of heavy capital investments setting the agenda for the development of Copenhagen.

Kabell’s party and the Socialist People’s Party alone voted in support of the recommendation to reject the projects, according to the report.

Social Democrat Jakob Hougaard, who is also on the municipality committee, said that he was positive about the projects.

“I see it as an opportunity to create growth and jobs in Copenhagen. I don’t think it is a problem to develop Nordhavn with skyscrapers and the facilities associated with that,” Hougaard told Politiken.

Hougaard also claimed that the projects would benefit the city’s lower income residents.

“We will stand by our demand that 25 percent must be normal residences and the municipality also has the option of adding social housing to new projects. If more normal housing is wanted in Copenhagen, then development of the city must be supported,” he said.

The H.C. Andersen Adventure Tower project, designed by high-profile Danish architect Bjarke Ingels, consists of a 280 meter-high tower along with a theme park which would be bigger than Copenhagen’s iconic Tivoli Gardens, which opened in the centre of the city in 1843.

The second, separate project, Great Northern, would see two skyscrapers of 330 and 190 metres in height, designed to resemble the sails of a ship – a design reminiscent of Dubai’s giant Burj al-Arab tower.

At 330 metres, the taller of the two towers would be the highest in Europe outside of Moscow.

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The architect of the Great Northern project has not been made public.

Although the projects have been approved in principle, there is still some way to go until the can be seen towering over the Scandinavian skyline.

The H.C. Andersen project is not expected to be completed before 2025.


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