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