In their latest design, Arup and Cobe have partnered to design two new metro stations of the Nordhavn metro line extension connecting the docklands to Copenhagen’s city center: Orientkaj and Nordhavn Stations. Opened in March 2020, the new infrastructure unlocks the potential for the redevelopment of Copenhagen’s northern docklands, one of the most significant urban regeneration projects in the north of Europe.
Orientkaj Metro Station Technical Information
- Architects: Cobe + Arup
- Location: Copenhagen, Denmark
- Client: Metroselskabet
- Type: Infrastructure
- Topics: Pilotis, Concrete, Anodised Aluminium
- Engineers: RambøllArup JV
- Collaborators: Lighting Design: Arup | Landscape Architects: Cobe, Sleth, and Polyform | Contractor: Metnord
- Platform Size: 44×9 m
- Project Year: 2013 – 2020
- Photographs: © Rasmus Hjortshøj – COAST
The design of Orientkaj Metro station celebrates the character and industrial past of the docklands, but most importantly, it provides a great passenger experience for visitors to this growing area of Copenhagen.
– Kristian Winther, Arup’s lead architect.
Orientkaj Metro Station Photographs
Text by the Architects
The Orientkaj Metro station possesses distinct visual characteristics that reflect the character of the urban areas it serves. Tracing the outline of a shipping container, the overground Orientkaj station celebrates the large-scale volumes and brutalist features of the dockland’s industrial past. Still, it opens up to reveal a passenger-focused, human-scaled detailing on the inside.
The above-ground Orientkaj station has been designed as a prototype for future stations under the ongoing development of Copenhagen’s Nordhavn – a new city district – also designed by Cobe – which will add over 1,500,000 m2 of sustainable mixed-use buildings and provide homes for 40,000 residents and workspaces for another 40,000.
Nordhavn is a city of sustainable mobility, where it is easier to walk, bike, or use public transport than it is to drive your own car. The two metro stations unlock the potential of this new Copenhagen city district enabling more efficient and sustainable transport between the individual neighborhoods, and to the rest of Copenhagen while adding a new chapter to the story of Copenhagen harbourfront
– Dan Stubbergaard, Cobe founder
The harbor scale meets human detailing.
Anchored by bold concrete claws onto the Copenhagen harbor, the station is designed as a glass, concrete, and aluminum box commandeering panoramic views over the Orientkaj dock. As a prototype, the Orientkaj station is designed to make a statement, offering a model for any future overground stations in the Nordhavn development. Despite the station’s scale and sharp outline, the architects’ passenger-focused approach is highlighted by the detailing inside, from the lighting to the material palette.
Serving a mixed-use urban area with offices, transformed warehouses, and new housing developments, Orientkaj station needed to be distinctive enough to become a local landmark, while blending in with the surrounding white buildings.
Anticipating a possible future high-rise development next to the station, the architects have used anodized aluminum panels on all façades as well as roof and soffit: placed at angles, the aluminum cladding catches the colors of the sky and ensures the station offers beautiful lines of sight from all angles.
Views from the station platform have also been a critical design consideration: the large, glass platform screen doors mean that on a clear day, passengers can look across the Øresund into Sweden. Two rotated, concrete staircases connect the station to the ground level. Under the station, the 33-meter long concrete spans and V-shaped piers minimize the station’s footprint while maximizing the open, flexible urban space to accommodate a range of future uses, including bike lanes and public urban space along the waterfront.
Inside the station, the vast rectangular hall is column-free, supported by the external concrete frames. Skylights mimicking the shed roofs found in the area’s former industrial buildings allow natural light to flood the station during the day, while integrated luminaries give a pleasant light at night.
The scale of the brutalist concrete exterior is juxtaposed with polished detailing inside, adding practical materiality to the station: white hexagonal mosaic covers the stairs and lift towers. At the same time, corners have been rounded for a softer, more human-friendly finish.
Metro Stations Image Gallery
Cobe is an architecture firm founded in Copenhagen, in 2006 by the architect Dan Stubbergaard, and aspires to create surroundings that actively contribute to extraordinary everyday life.
Other works from Cobe
Founded by Sir Ove Arup in 1946, Arup is an independent firm that has over 16,000 staff based in 96 offices across 35 countries around the world.
Other works from Arup