Prags Blvd (Part 1)

09.04.2011 § Leave a comment

Prags Boulevard is one of a couple of elongated green urban spaces throughout Copenhagen (One documented in a previous post was in Federicksberg, a couple of others to be posted in the future include the Nørrebro Park and Nordvestparken). It supports ped and bicycle traffic, and was designed by Kristine Jensen in 2005. Conceived of as part of the “facelift scheme” for the Holmbladsgade neighborhood, the goal of the design was to provide new spaces for local residents. The proposal aimed to create a network of spaces for alternative activities. Many of the housing developments already had the more traditional sporting fields, so the plan was for “a green area with a high utility value for people of all ages.”

The areas were branded with names like “the Garden, the Stage, the Pitch and the Box”  and give local residents places that they can use for relaxation or socializing (diagrams below from architect website). One immediately visible aspect is the use of a couple of props that reinforce the creation of a neighborhood identity. Planters, stages and fences all work to guide users through the narrow park while providing seating and signage that can act as a wayfinding device. However, the most unique items are the “Prags Lamp” and the “Prags Chair.” There are 100 lamps that line the entire length of the boulevard, which are painted a neon shade of green and glow softly in the evening. There are also approximately 700 dark green steel chairs that can be moved around by visitors to the park, all stamped with the name Prags. They have been handed out to local businesses and organizations with the intent that they keep tabs on them (some more obviously than others), which also form a bond between businesses and the park. To relieve some of the burden from local chairkeepers, the use of steel means that they are too heavy for many users to carry back to their homes…

Aside from the boulevard/park itself, the facelift scheme has led to some nice architectural results, which will follow in later posts (decidedly sooner than my recent blogging hiatus). Two of the buildings were commissioned by the city and designed by Dorte Mandrup Arkitekter, Kvarterhuset and Prismen. The other one was more of a grassroots effort by the organization Givrum.nu, which focuses on the reuse of empty structures and spaces. Their recent project lies across from the Prism, and is a cooperative known as Prags Boulevard 43.

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