Henning Larsen combines a public park with a water treatment plant in Hillerød
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Henning Larsen combines a public park with a water treatment plant in Hillerød

A wastewater treatment park in the city of Hillerød, Denmark, integrates landscape with public facility, creating avenues for awareness on sustainability and climate change.

by Zohra Khan Sep 02, 2019

A new municipal facility in Hillerød, a city in Denmark’s northern Zealand, reveals a bold approach to water treatment by involving the community into its built fabric. The Solrødgård Water Treatment Plant blends the landscape with public utility, where people are exposed to the natural cycle of wastewater treatment in a relaxed verdant setting.

Danish architectural firm Henning Larsen has contributed to the open park with its exterior design and landscape services.

An aerial view of the Solrødgård Climate and Environmental Park  | Solrødgård water treatment park | Henning Larsen | STIR
An aerial view of the Solrødgård Climate and Environmental Park Image Credit: Courtesy of Henning Larsen

The architectural vision of the project involves the division of various functions into three equal volumes to house a recycling centre, a wastewater treatment plant, and an administration block. Nearly invisible in its surroundings, these volumes are hidden under a rooftop park whose landscape invites the community to the industrial facility.

The operational facilities of the plant are hidden under the landscape | Solrødgård water treatment park | Henning Larsen | STIR
The operational facilities of the plant are hidden under the landscape Image Credit: Daniel Baumann

Various skylights dot the green cover, its glass façade providing visitors a chance to watch the processing and filtration activities of the plant underneath. “The design concept,” the architects explain, “allows the community to connect with their own use of resources, while minimising the visual and olfactory presence often associated with water treatment plants.”

Various skylights dot the green cover that give a view of the facilities below | Solrødgård water treatment park | Henning Larsen | STIR
Various skylights dot the green cover that give a view of the facilities below Image Credit: Daniel Baumann

Other than the sized apertures, a web of meandering pedestrian paths weaving through perennial planting beds within the park entice people with its colourful blossoms. The beautifully sprawling roof overlooks the rest of the park, which includes a large water feature, a bird watching tower, and a roosting hotel for local bats amid vast greens.

A service road cut the built volume into two where a steel bridge and staircases create access points from the park into its sunken space | Solrødgård water treatment park | Henning Larsen | STIR
A service road cut the built volume into two where a steel bridge and staircases create access points from the park into the sunken space Image Credit: Jacob Due

A service road divides the built volume into two parts, where the sunken space is flanked by the building’s façades on either side and topped by a sculpturesque steel bridge that connects the two sides of the park. Clad in a combination of weathering steel and glass, the exterior, interestingly, renders an impression of a poche section cut out of the earth. A small creek trickle through a narrow garden within this space, demonstrating how natural foliage cleans and filters groundwater, an apparent organic contrast to the industrial treatments inside.

A small creek flowing through a narrow garden within the central passage demonstrate natural foliage cleaning the water | Solrødgård water treatment park | Henning Larsen | STIR
A small creek flowing through a narrow garden within the central passage demonstrate natural foliage cleaning the water Image Credit: Jacob Due

“It’s (central passage) symbolic of us cutting into the landscape to look within, creating a contrast between the natural water cycle and the constructed process that support the communities,” says Marie Ørsted Larsen, Senior Landscape Architect at Henning Larsen.

  • Access points into the service road | Solrødgård water treatment park | Henning Larsen | STIR
    Access points into the service road Image Credit: Daniel Baumann
  • Corten steel bridge allows for seamless movement within the park | Solrødgård water treatment park | Henning Larsen | STIR
    Corten steel bridge allows for seamless movement within the park Image Credit: Daniel Baumann

Offering a unique setting within the site, the passage allows visitors to get a first-hand glimpse of how their community water cycle works, while being exposed to views of the plant’s internal operations.

The Solrødgård Water Treatment Plant is part of the Solrødgård Climate and Environmental Park that seeks to shine a bright spotlight on the global challenges of climate change and sustainability. Developed from a 50 hectare, 1 billion DKK masterplan, it invites an open dialogue for the community to gain awareness on the fast depleting resources and to take action.

Site Plan and Section | Henning Larsen | STIR
Site plan and section Image Credit: Courtesy of Henning Larsen

Project Details

Name of the project: Solrødgård Water Treatment Plant
Location: Hillerød, Denmark
Client: Hillerød Forsyning
Built up area: 12,800 sqm
Masterplan architect: Gottlieb Paludan
Landscape: Henning Larsen
Engineer: Orbicon Contractor: Jakobsen & Blindkilde
Design and construction period: Orbicon Contractor: Jakobsen & Blindkilde

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About Author

Zohra Khan

Zohra Khan

A formal education in architecture combined with an avid interest in architecture journalism and design criticism led Khan to professionally venture into writing and research. She has worked in design communication for more than two years, generating content for mondo*arc india journal. When not writing, she kicks back by dabbling on social media for STIR.

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