The urban park by Big, Topotek1 and Superflex, conceived as a giant exhibition of urban best practice by incorporating everyday objects from more than 60 different cultures, constitutes a rare fusion of architecture, landscape and art.
The kilometer long urban park through the Nørrebro area north of the Copenhagen city center creates a different yet unifying space in one of the most ethnically diverse and socially challenged neighborhoods in Denmark.
Superkilen is divided into three color-coded areas, each with a distinct atmospheric and functional condition: the large and expansive red square which serves as an extension of the adjacent sports hall offering a range of recreational and cultural activities; the black square as the heart of the Superkilen where locals can meet by the Moroccan fountain or a game of chess; and a linear green stretch as a natural meeting place for large-scale sports activities providing vantage points over the surroundings.
The three areas form the backdrop to the surrealist collection of global urban diversity of more than 100 objects from 60 cultures which reflect the true nature of the local neighborhood. The objects were selected through an intensive curatorial process in close collaboration with the local population.
The objects ranging from exercise gear, including muscle beach LA to sewage drains from Israel, palm trees from China and neon signs from Qatar and Russia are all accompanied by a small stainless plate inlaid in the ground describing each of the objects and their origin.
The Copenhagen-based art group Superflex took the public participation further into the extreme by handpicking five groups of people and travelling to the country of their origin to document the process of selection.
Throughout the Superkilen red maple, Japanese cherry trees, larix, palm trees from China and Lebanese cedar trees are planted to offer more shade and vegetative interest, augmenting the existing trees. The diversity in tree and plant species complements the diversity of the site furniture.
A bike path runs through the entire park improving the infrastructure locally in the area while integrating it into the broader, citywide context.
The aim of the invited competition initiated by the City of Copenhagen and Realdania Foundation back in 2005 was to create a truly unique urban space with a strong identity on a local and global scale. The 13.4 million euro development started construction in 2009 and opened to the public in June 2012.