Nørreport Station

010 cobe norreport exterior 170 cobe norreport exterior roof detailg
is public space

Year: First prize in competition 2009, completed 2015

Client: City of Copenhagen, Banedanmark and DSB

Program: Urban plaza and train station

Size: 10,500 m² with 2,500 parking lots for bicycles

Nørreport Station is the busiest train station in Denmark, with more than 250,000 people passing through it daily. Since the 1960s, the bustling station developed into a vast and chaotic intersection in the middle of the city. The new station is composed of a series of rounded, floating roofs, mounted on distinctive glass pavilions. A study of pedestrians’ preferred routes formed the basis of the station’s new design, providing an open and welcoming public space with specific consideration for the needs of cyclists and pedestrians. Nørreport Station is not only a station but an urban landscape for people. It transforms Copenhagen’s busiest space into a single unified flow and becomes an integrated part of the pulsating city around it.

020 cobe norreport exterior history

Nørreport Station 1918.

030 cobe norreport exterior history

Nørreport Station 1950.

040 cobe norreport exterior history

Nørreport Station 2007.

Before the car invasion, Nørreport Station was a lively place where bikes and people took center stage. The station later became a chaotic distribution line of trams, cars and buses, neglecting pedestrians and cyclists.

050 cobe norreport diagram

Public transportation: train, Metro, and bus lines.

060 cobe norreport diagram

Cyclist density.

In Copenhagen, 70% of all movement is on foot or bike or by public transport. Nørreport Station is the busiest intermodal exchange point between traffic modes in Denmark, connecting the historic city center with all of the adjoining neighborhoods by train, metro and bus.

Form follows
070 cobe norreport exterior snow

Before the transformation of Nørreport, the station was worn down, and passengers were forced to cross busy roads to access it.

In wintertime, organic pathways emerged in the snow created by people’s movements in and around the station, clearly showing us where there was a need for passages, shelter and bicycle parking.

081 cobe norreport gif 080 cobe norreport gif

The station pavillions and bike parking were arranged in between the main flow lines, which provides optimal access without disrupting the natural flow of movement.

090 cobe norreport exterior
100 cobe norreport exterior before

Urban plaza and train station.

Nørreport Station used to be an isolated chaotic island surrounded by traffic, making it difficult to access for pedestians. Today, the station has an extended public space and a new and improved connection to the main shopping street in the medieval city of Copenhagen.

110 cobe norreport exterior
120 cobe norreport gif

Nørreport before and after

Nørreport Station was once a difficult place to navigate – a traffic junction where people had to wait patiently for all the cars and busses to pass. Now it functions as an important public space where pedestrians have reclaimed priority, and the cars have to take other routes.

130 cobe norreport exterior
140 cobe norreport diagram
A station becomes
an urban space

In Copenhagen, 60% of all daily trips to work and studies are made by bike, resulting in a need for large-capacity bicycle parking at Nørreport Station. This challenge provided an important premise for the design of the public spaces.

190 cobe norreport exterior bikes
200 cobe norreport exterior bikes

Thousands of bikes used to clutter the space around Nørreport Station. Without an efficient structure, they were randomly scattered, creating a messy and dysfunctional public space.

210 cobe norreport diagram

How to organize thousands of bicycles in a dense urban setting, while avoiding clutter and eyesores?

220 cobe norreport diagram

The solution was to place the bikes in well-defined areas slightly lowered into the ground, like flower beds in a park.

230 cobe norreport diagram

In this way, the bicycles have their designated space and are less visually obstructive.

240 cobe norreport exterior guy
250 cobe norreport exterior bikepit
260 cobe norreport exterior detail

The sunken bicycle beds offer a clear indication of where to park and where to walk. At the same time, the lowered bicycle sections provide a calm visual expression and serve as rainwater containment areas in case of extreme weather events.

270 cobe norreport exterior detail people
280 cobe norreport exterior detail
290 cobe norreport exterior detail
150 cobe norreport exterior
160 cobe norreport exterior
170 cobe norreport exterior roof detailg

The roofs hover above the station elements providing cover for round glass buildings, parked bicycles and the entrances to the underground platforms.

180 cobe norreport exterior stair
300 cobe norreport exterior
310 cobe norreport exterior

Location: Copenhagen, Denmark

Client: City of Copenhagen, Banedanmark and DSB

Program: Urban plaza and train station

Size: 10,500 m² with 2,500 parking lots for bicycles

Year: First prize in competition 2009, completed 2015

Collaborators: Gottlieb Paludan Architects, Sweco, Bartenbach LichtLabor, Aarsleff Rail

Awards: Brolæggerprisen 2015, The Danish Lighting Award 2016, WAN Transport Award 2016, European Prize for Urban Public Space 2016, The Copenhagen Award 2016 – Best Urban Environment, Landezine International Landscape Award 2017, Civic Trust Award 2018

Team: Caroline Nagel, Clement Bue Maali, Dan Stubbergaard, Johanne Holmsberg, Jonas Snedevind Nielsen, Karl Love Sverud, Mads Birgens, Mateusz Mastalski, Morten Emil Engel, Rasmus Bernhard Nielsen, Rosanna Borsotti, Tabea Treier, Thomas Krarup.

Photographer: Rasmus Hjortshøj – COAST

Image credits: Please note that we have used a small number of images for which the copyright holders could not be identified. In these cases it has been our assumption that such images belong to the public domain. If you claim ownership of any of the images presented and have not been properly identified, please notify Cobe and we will make a formal acknowledgement.