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UNDERGROWTH: KONGELUNDEN IN AARHUS

We have created ‘Undergrowth’ – a vision for transforming Kongelunden in Aarhus, Denmark. With Undergrowth we have made a regenerative strategy that supports nature’s ability to restore itself, that contributes to local happiness and public health, and not least contributes to sustainable living in the city. Our proposition acquired an honorary mention from the evaluation committee in the competition, which states that it might be “the most ambitious proposition on behalf of nature with its focus on sustainability, biodiversity and a conservation strategy for the beech wood”

Project information
Responsible partner: Flemming Rafn Thomsen
Employees: Christian Brink, Kirstine Lorentsen og Julia Östlund
Client: Aarhus Municipality, Salling Fondene and Lind Invest
Place: Kongelunden, Aarhus, Denmark
Type: Open competition
Team: MatterbyBrix, TwentyFifty and Manifestus
Status: Finished, honorable mention
Kongelunden with its grandiose, authentic nature is just a five-minute bike ride from the central train station in Aarhus. Besides the breathtaking natural surroundings, Kongelunden has great facilities for culture and sports. At the same time, it is an area that has many unfulfilled potentials and therefore calls for a forward-looking strategy
to how the area can get a new relevance for Aarhus and play a central role in the green transition by strengthening the qualities of the area – recreational, biological and sports-wise. We have approached the task with a wish to open Kongelunden for visitors by creating new external and internal connections.


Vision 1:4.000

New systems of paths create synergy
From several perspectives, Kongelunden lies relatively hidden and the places with the easiest access to the forest are also where the noise from nearby traffic is most noticeable. With our proposition, it has been our wish to create better everyday use of the forest through a strengthening of Kongelundens connections to the center of the city, the harbour, and the neighbourhood Frederiksbjerg – primarily for pedestrians, cyclists, and for public transportation. Despite Kongelundens many great qualities, the area is still characterised by inward and monofunctional programs that are primarily accessible from the areas of the forest-facing roads. Thereby, a good part of

Kongelundens facilities are empty most of the time, there is a lack of synergy between them, and moving around in the area is frustrating because of the many fences and traverse roads. 

To open the area and the woods for visitors we have made a new system of paths inside Kongelunden. The new loop, as seen in the visualization above, has an elastic and playful form that is thought to tie the various areas of Kongelunden together. The loop primarily follows existing paths but links the forgotten places, the currently decoupled functions, and the new functions together in an eventful path. 

The stadium of the future – a hybrid between nature and culture
The arena, the stadium, and the football fields are a central part of the identity of Kongelunden. The planned renewal of the football arena offers a great momentum to rethink the functions and relations of the area. We believe that the stadium of the future is a hybrid between nature and culture. By rethinking the arena as an integrated topography in the landscape, we invite all the users of the forest to a spontaneous, recreational everyday use of the arena. 

Simultaneously, in our vision, the new internal paths will increase the movement around and through the stadium and further on to the nearby trotting track. Between the trotting track and the bicycle-racing track exists 75.000 square meters of lawns without a defined purpose. In our vision, the lawns are re-arranged to be areas with higher biodiversity in dialogue with the Science Museums and the Botanical Garden in Aarhus. 


From the perspective of the natural sciences, ‘the undergrowth’ is the concept for the particularly naturally potent growth layer that exists between tree trunks.

Biodiversity in Mindeparken and Slotsparken
Mindeparken, Slotsparken, and the surrounding gardens ooze of historical charm that we are not supposed to change fundamentally. However, by seizing parts of the 150.000 square meters lawn we can create natural spaces that are more relevant for visitors while

contributing to the biodiversity of Kongelunden. By allocating at least 20% of the lawn to temporary events, growth experiments, biodiversity, and playful user experiments we can involve all of Aarhus in the park areas future.

Increase of the forests natural value
Today, the Southern and Northern parts of Kongelunden are characterized by magnificent beech woods. A disadvantage of the beech wood, however, is that shadow from the grand beech woods makes it difficult for herbs and insects to live in these densely planted areas. Simultaneously, the big lawns and the paved areas around the stadium have a very low natural value. We have proposed to nuance the relation between dense woods and glade by creating a more coherent experience with the area having a higher natural value by


transforming parts of the woods to forestry in close touch with nature. Thereby we increase the biodiversity and robustness and gives a more varied experience for visitors.

In the perspective of the green transition, Kongelunden has great local potentials, both in the possibilities of creating a closer connection to nature for the city dwellers and not the least with the various opportunities of creating biodiversity and heighten the natural value.

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ENGHAVEPARKEN – CLIMATE PARK

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MALMØ 2030

The Norra Bunkeflo area in Malmö, Sweden, can become a sustainable model example for the realization of the UN's World Goals and how we can live up to the 2030 goals of the Paris Agreement.

NEW ANGLE

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