The Opera Park

1 cobe operapark ariel 0.625
628 trees
for Copenhagen

Year: First prize in competition 2019, completed 2023

Client: The Opera Park Foundation. Donation by The A.P. Moller Foundation

Program: Public park including greenhouse with café, a covered pedestrian bridge, and underground parking facility for up to 300 cars

Size: 21,500 m²

The mixed-use densification of Copenhagen’s inner harbor has resulted in a lively and buzzing capital city. However, as increasing density and activity result in more residents and more visitors, green recreational spaces have become more and more scarce. The Opera Park is a public park on the Copenhagen harbor front designed for recreation, relaxation and contemplation in the middle of the dense city center. A green lung offering a diverse variation of trees, bushes, plants and flowers. Organized with inspiration from the European capital’s historical gardens with winding paths and carefully crafted viewpoints, The Opera Park consists of six gardens from various parts of the world, a café and greenhouse, underground parking garage for up to 300 cars as well as a covered pedestrian bridge connecting the park with the neighboring Royal Danish Opera.

020 cobe operapark exterior

Located next to The Royal Danish Opera, the site has been a modest green lawn since the completion of the Opera nearly 20 years ago. Utterly transformed today, the island which was otherwise prime for the development of new housing, is now home to a diverse and natural landscape.

In the middle of the 19th century, the site where the Royal Danish Opera now stands was the center of an amazing period in Danish history. Copenhagen was the center of trade in Europe: A place where ships would return from the far corners of the world with cargo and stories from places that people had barely even heard of.

2 cobe operapark ariel

Today, The Opera Park offers a green and recreational escape from the bustling life of the city, and creates a counterpoint to the otherwise densely built inner harbor of Copenhagen.

A romantic garden in a
contemporary context

Since the beginning of mass urbanization, gardens in the historic European cities have offered a refuge from the busy, noisy and polluted cities that surrounded them. Evidence-based studies have later concluded that classical gardens shaped with winding paths, defined views and a natural scenography have a healing effect on stress-related health issues. During the earlier era, however when the Copenhagen was a melting pot of trade and impressions from the seven seas, its most beautiful gardens were designed inspired by the classical English romantic garden.

3 cobe operapark ariel

With its six gardens, winding paths small niches, carefully crafted viewpoints, and a central greenhouse, The Opera Park seizes elements of Copenhagen’s historical, romantic gardens in a modern setting.

071 cobe operapark collage
080 cobe operapark collage diagram

The Opera Park is a place where nature comes first amidst Copenhagen’s bustling urban development. The Opera Park uses the elements of the historical romantic garden to tackle contemporary challenges such as decline in biodiversity and water management. Designed for recreation, relaxation and contemplation, the park provides the city with a much-needed green oasis. As you stroll through the park, you get the feeling of having left the city and being immersed in nature, almost forgetting you are in the middle of the dense city center.

4 cobe operapark exterior
5 cobe operapark exterior
A year-round green oasis,
setting the stage for all
kinds of life
6 cobe operapark exterior
7 cobe operapark exterior
8 cobe operapark exterior

The park is green oasis in the city center, consisting of six gardens from various parts of the world: the North American Forest, the Danish Oak Forest, the Nordic Forest, the Oriental Garden, the English Garden, and the Subtropical Garden housed within the greenhouse.

131 cobe operapark the english park

English garden

132 cobe operapark birch park

Birch forest

133 cobe operapark northamerican forest

North American forest

134 cobe operapark cherry grove

Cherry Grove

135 cobe operapark oak forest

Oak forest

136 cobe operapark winter garden

Winter garden

The diverse gardens hold surprises such as a fountain, a water lily pond, and a reflecting pool where drops of water from a mast gently strike the water’s surface in a soothing rhythm. Meandering paths and organically shaped flowerbeds knit together the park’s elements.

9 cobe operapark exterior
100 cobe operapark diagram
10 cobe operapark model

Like an opera stage, the park is a composed landscape with a foreground, a middle ground and a background. The plants and trees are placed, so their natural heights create the scenic setting facing the harbor.

Designed to be an inviting, year-round public attraction, the park features no less than 628 trees, 80,000 herbaceous perennials and bushes and 40,000 bulb plants from all around the world. In total, 223 unique exotic and local species provide a vibrant and ever-changing backdrop for visitors.

10 cobe operapark collage

Rainwater is considered a valuable resource for the park, channeled from the roof of the Royal Danish Opera into underground water reservoirs used for greenhouse irrigation. Excess rainwater is collected in rain beds for infiltration and evaporation. The green roofs of the landscaped bridge and greenhouse capture and delay the release rainwater to the site while also serving as a food source for the park’s fauna.

251 cobe operapark gif rain 252 cobe operapark gif water reservation 253 cobe operapark gif evaporation

The abundance of trees and plantings shield against strong winds coming from the harbor and the sea, reducing turbulence and increasing the level of comfort for park users. Furthermore, the elevated terrain safeguards the island from flooding during heavy rainfall and significant rises in the harbor water level.

11 cobe operapark exterior
A green house as the
centerpiece of the park
12 cobe operapark exterior

The park features a central greenhouse with a café, giving access to car parking underneath the park’s surface. The greenhouse and café will ensure that The Opera Park remains a vibrant destination year-round, even during winter when many of Copenhagen’s parks are desolate.

13 cobe operapark exterior
14 cobe operapark exterior
15 cobe operapark exterior
16 cobe operapark exterior
17 cobe operapark interior

The greenhouse is designed as an organically shaped glass structure with a hovering roof, intended to surprise and delight visitors as they navigate the lush landscape.

18 cobe operapark interior
230 cobe operapark plan underground
19 cobe operapark interior

Inside, the greenhouse terraces down to the parking levels, which accommodate up to 300 cars, while its subtropic biotope also descends to vertically weave together the park with the underground levels.

20 cobe operapark interior
A covered landscaped
bridge to the Opera
21 cobe operapark exterior

The park also features a covered connection to the adjacent Royal Danish Opera via a covered walkway atop a landscaped bridge, allowing a weather protected link between the parking facility and the Opera. Echoing the architecture of the greenhouse, the walkway’s curved glass and a floating roof evokes the landscape design in its meandering path - fully integrating landscape and architecture into one.

22 cobe operapark exterior
23 cobe operapark exterior

Location: Copenhagen, Denmark

Client: The Opera Park Foundation. Donation by The A.P. Moller Foundation

Program: Public park including greenhouse with café, a covered pedestrian bridge, and underground parking facility for up to 300 cars

Size: 21,500 m²

Year: First prize in competition 2019, completed 2023

Collaborators: Vita, Via Trafik, DBI and Lüchninger Meyer Hermansen, Hansson og Knudsen, Bauer, Redtz Glas og Façade, HSM Industri, GK Danmark, Bravida Danmark, Høyrup & Clemmesen, KONE, Phønix Tag, Jakon, Areo,, Raadvad Maleren, Snedkerierne, OKNygaard, Palmproject Europe, Scanview Systems, Zurface, Retail Reflexions, Vector Foiltech

Awards: AZ Awards 2024, Architizer A+ Awards 2024, ArchDaily Building of the Year Award 2024, City of Copenhagen's Architecture Award 2024

Team: Alberte Danvig, Alena Veselova, Alexander Ejsing, Andreas Kloster, Ariel Norback Wallner, Andreas Benn, Bastian Weinreich Ben Goss, Bertram Stubbergaard Mørk, Caroline Krogh Andersen, Carsten Udbye, Casper Borg, Christian Kuczynski, Christian Sander, Claes Nilsson, Clement Bue Maali, Connor Forecast, Dan Stubbergaard, Daniel Braat Carlsen, Emanuele Biscaro, Francisco Tirado, Frederik Lykkeberg Larsen, Iselin Bjørnevik, Jacob Lantow, Julian Bokej, Kasper Bak Mikkelsen, Katarzyna Starczewska, Lauren Catterson, Liv Moodie, Mads Herskind Møller, Maiken Høj, Maj Wiwe, Margarita Nutfulina, Marlena Lipnicka, Matilda Andersson, Max Neumeister, Mikkel Reedtz Morris, Morten Engel, Nikola Antonijevic, Rasmus Lassen, Roberto Barbosa, Rosa Bui, Sanna Funck, Stefan Mylleager, Stine Bærentzen, Stine Holmbo Hansen, Thea Gasseholm, Thomas Krarup, Thomas Hobbs, Vera Tarp, Yuhui Yang