the city’s largest infrastructure project in 400 years
Today marks the launch of Copenhagen’s new Cityringen metro line, the city’s largest infrastructure project in the last 400 years.
Arup, in a joint venture (JV) with Cowi and Systra, has worked with Copenhagen’s metro authority Metroselskabet since 2007 to design the new 16 km metro line. Within the JV, Arup led the architectural design for the project, including all the 17 new stations.
Combining aesthetics with practicality, the Cityringen metro’s minimalist design provides Copenhagen with a simple and convenient means of travel, while celebrating the city’s diversity and placing local communities at its heart.
The stations are constructed as part of a modular system so that they could easily be slotted under the city. Each station has been specifically designed to pay tribute to the character of their respective areas; all 17 are uniquely clad with materials that reflect their vibrant local communities.
In Marmorkirken, the fossil-embedded, sand-coloured Swedish limestone echoes the 19th century Marble Church above, while, in Trianglen, high-shine mirrored glass panels reflect the colours of sports fans flocking to the national stadium.
Each station features a new landscaped plaza, providing a welcoming entrance and forecourt for passengers and a civic space for the surrounding community. Stations also feature intuitive wayfinding to provide a seamless street-to-platform journey. Upon entering, clean lines of sight allow passengers to see all the way to the platform and similarly view the exit as they disembark their trains, allowing for minimal signage.
One of the most prominent features are the spectacular origami ceilings installed across all the stations, which allow natural light to flood in. Designed using 3D simulations, the origami ceilings act as giant reflectors bouncing daylight and artificial light into the depths of the stations. Beyond their function as luminaries, the sculptural glass skylights above can be lifted as part of the station’s emergency ventilation system. Their unique geometry juxtaposes with the orthogonal station architecture, providing a dramatic focal point of interest while guiding passengers to platform screen doors and other key places.
The Cityringen line also intersects with five existing railways and metro stations, as well as overhead heritage structures like Slotholmens Canal and “Graverboligen” at Assistens Kirkegård. Marmorkirken, the deepest of all the stations, has been built 36 meters underground and fits in a narrow urban space next to the iconic Church. To overcome this, a deep atrium stairwell floods the station with light and gives the illusion of a spacious environment. All the new stations are sympathetic to their surrounding buildings, which necessitated design within tight constraints.
Nille Juul-Sørensen, Global Leader of Architecture at Arup said “Good architecture is functional, simple, and elegant – but great architecture can create an emotional connection between people and a place. Although the stations are built as part of a modular system, we have designed all 17 of them to reflect the architecture of the surrounding areas. We’ve taken inspiration from the city’s unique heritage to create a distinctive metro line that the people of Copenhagen can be proud of.”