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Esbjerg Bypark in Denmark to get redesigned by Henning Larsen

The winning design for the historic Esbjerg Bypark in Denmark, by Henning Larsen and Topotek1, attempts to transform the industrial identity of Esbjerg.

by Palak Maheshwari Jul 29, 2019

Danish architecture firm Henning Larsen won an open competition to revitalise Esbjerg Bypark -  a historic harbourside park in Esbjerg city, located on the west coast of the Jutland peninsula in southwest Denmark. The restoration of the 30,000sqm park will help strengthen the city’s cultural offerings and reshape its urban identity. The project will be made in collaboration with Berlin-based landscape architects Topotek1, artist Eva Kock, and engineers In-geniør’ne.

The park dates back to the city’s founding, as early residents planted fir trees along the waterfront’s steep terrain to prevent coastal erosion. As the city grew so did the harbour, eventually cutting off public access to the waterfront. While the establishment of Esbjerg’s Music House and Art Pavilion within the park in the late 1990s brought new visitors to the city, these structures eventually overshadowed the park’s natural landscape.

The new design aims to emphasise the park’s existing features rather than building everything from scratch. This includes strengthening the topography, adding new plantings, defining winding paths and introducing refined artistic water elements.

  • Early images of Esbjerg Bypark. The site was planted with fir trees and featured a classical park plan| Henning Larsen| STIR
    Early images of Esbjerg Bypark. The site was planted with fir trees and featured a classical park planImage Credit: Courtesy of Henning Larsen
  • Over the years, the park took on a more romantic appearance and a social atmosphere, hosting celebrations in warm months and recreation in the winter| Henning Larsen| STIR
    Over the years, the park took on a more romantic appearance and a social atmosphere, hosting celebrations in warm months and recreation in the winterImage Credit: Courtesy of Henning Larsen
  • Site plan| |Henning Larsen| STIR
    Site plan Image Credit: Courtesy of Henning Larsen
  • Esbjerg Bypark - playground plan|Henning Larsen| STIR
    Esbjerg Bypark - playground planImage Credit: Courtesy of Henning Larsen
  • Esbjerg Bypark – slope plan| Henning Larsen| STIR
    Esbjerg Bypark – slope planImage Credit: Courtesy of Henning Larsen

“We did not design a park because the park was already there,” says Salka Kudsk, Head of Landscape at Henning Larsen. “Now it will once again be the heart of Esbjerg, offering sensory experiences all year around – a stark contrast to the surrounding industry, sea and farmland.”

The new design includes a number of water features to re-establish the park and its once close relationship with water in the public realm. An amphitheater, on a terraced slope connecting the city and the port, will be extended and the area would also house a playground, and a rest point. At its centre and perched atop a concrete platform, rests a mountain lake, which can be covered to become a stage for public events in summer, and frozen for ice skating in the winter. This concrete platform connects to similar bunkers in the park that would transform into backstage areas for artists and performers. Other similar structures will be used for pop-up ice cream shops, temporary events, and park repository.

  • Esbjerg Bypark – diagram of site plantings| Henning Larsen| STIR
    Esbjerg Bypark – diagram of site plantings Image Credit: Courtesy of Henning Larsen
  • Esbjerg Bypark – diagram of the site topography| Henning Larsen| STIR
    Esbjerg Bypark – diagram of the site topography Image Credit: Courtesy of Henning Larsen
  • Esbjerg Bypark – diagram of the water elements| Henning Larsen| STIR
    Esbjerg Bypark – diagram of the water elements Image Credit: Courtesy of Henning Larsen
  • Esbjerg Bypark – Section 1| Henning Larsen| STIR
    Esbjerg Bypark – Section 1Image Credit: Courtesy of Henning Larsen
  • Esbjerg Bypark – Section 2| Henning Larsen| STIR
    Esbjerg Bypark – Section 2 Image Credit: Courtesy of Henning Larsen
The project’s intent primarily lies in bringing back the lost connection between the residents and the city’s waterfront. As Esbjerg continues to grow, the park will be a hub for the city’s evolving cultural and social life, offering respite from the industrial surroundings and telling the story of the city.

The next phase of the proposal will be developed in collaboration with the city of Esbjerg and its citizens.

  • Esbjerg Bypark – diagram, site history| Henning Larsen| STIR
    Esbjerg Bypark – diagram, site history Image Credit: Courtesy of Henning Larsen
  • Esbjerg Bypark – playground| Henning Larsen| STIR
    Esbjerg Bypark – playground Image Credit: Courtesy of Henning Larsen
  • The hills around the southwest coast (left), and 1868 sketch of the cliffs at Esbjerg| Henning Larsen| STIR
    The hills around the southwest coast (left), and 1868 sketch of the cliffs at EsbjergImage Credit: National Danish Archive; courtesy of Henning Larsen

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About Author

Palak Maheshwari

Palak Maheshwari

As standing on the first step of structuring herself, Palak seeks avenues that can serve as an outlet for her creative energies. A commerce graduate and an avid reader, she has been working as an intern for STIR. Her ‘outside’ approach towards architecture and design reflects as a fresh perspective in her work.

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