Køge Coast (Køge Kyst)
2010 - 2035

Life be­fore the city – a city for life

Knitting the city, the harbour and the railway terrain more closely together

The industrial harbour and the railway terrain in the city of Køge is to be developed into a vibrant and sustainable urban district. A district that is to knit all of Køge more closely together in a process lasting until 2040, strengthening the city’s efforts to become an attractive spot in the Copenhagen and greater Øresund region, the area extending on both sides of the strait between Denmark and Sweden. Vandkunsten has been involved in this highly ambitious project from the outset.

The urban development project was launched in 2009 by Køge Municipality and the development fund Realdania with a competition for a development plan for the area. Vandkunsten won the competition  as part of a consortium involving several other partners. In 2011, the motto ‘Life before the city – a city for life’ was selected as the overarching concept for the project.

The development plan contains both a plan for the physical design of Køge Coast and a number of strategies for the focus areas that are going to drive the development of the area. These interdisciplinary focus areas involve culture, sustainability, construction and business promotion.

Transformation toolbox

”‘In individual municipalities, there are often many years between large-scale transformation projects. Vandkunsten brings specialized experience with this type of work, which enables us to take on an extraordinary role as consultants to the municipal decision-makers with the purpose of developing the basic tools that are needed in the development process.”

- Pernille Schyum Poulsen, Arkitect MAA, partner

A solid partnership

So far, Vandkunsten has been involved in most project phases and handled tasks for the partner company Køge Kyst P/S, Køge Municipality and several developers. The project is well aligned with our experiences from large-scale transformation processes, where new elements are combined with the existing setting in an interaction with history and the physical environment. Therefore, Vandkunsten also serves as a consultant to the Køge Kyst development company in order to ensure an optimal long-term development in agreement with the project vision.

The culture house was sound insulated

‘Tapperiet’ is a youth cultural center in an old building in the former industrial neighborhood at the Southern Harbor. City codes change as the area is transformed to housing and in order to comply with new codes for domestic neighborhood, Vandkunsten was comissioned to design the new insulation for the old building. ‘Tapperiet’ now has an oversized, green coat on.


Bridging the cap between the new and the old

The competition for a new pedestrian bridge by the train station is one of the contracts that Vandkunsten has won after the development plan was completed.
In combination with a wide underpass, the bridge is to link the existing urban area by the station with  the former industrial area on the other side of the tracks. In addition to providing this link, the bridge also aims to turn the station area into an attractive place to visit and form a new recreational space above the railway line with an expansive view of the city and harbor.

Elastic design guide rather than a tight local plan

While the development plan includes detailed and specific descriptions of the built environment in the new area, the actual local plan is much looser. Instead, catalogues of possibilities, almost like architectural design manuals, explain how the individual areas should be addressed to ensure high architectural quality. These catalogues serve as a framework for the dialogue among landowners and for the ongoing development and adaptation of individual building projects with regard to architecture, budgets, ambitions etc.

Knitting on a local scale

Metaphorically speaking, Vandkunsten’s approach to urban planning is not dissimilar to repairing a well-worn but cherished knit sweater or shawl. We pick up the good stitches to knit a denser city that incorporates modern elements with the best of the existing qualities and features. In the case Køge Coast, this  involves combining the charm and existing scale of the old city with contemporary needs for mobility, attractive commercial zone as well as retail spaces.

Stage 0 – a consistent theme for urban development

The development of Køge Coast unfolds in 13 stages. The initial stage, Stage 0, which is now completed, aimed to let local citizens take over and explore the project area over a five-year period. During this phase, among other contributions, Vandkunsten created the temporary route ‘The Thread’ (Tråden), where a series of temporary urban spaces and activities enabled cultural and other activities along the route to leave permanent traces and thus serve as a foundation for the future development of the area.

Interdisciplinary team

In a lengthy and comprehensive project such as Køge Coast, Vandkunsten brings in a competent interdisciplinary team to handle the job. The team has extensive experience with complex political processes and is generally equipped to take a constructive approach and ensure continuous progress in development projects that involve many different stakeholders.

Photo of temporary urban space, the View (’Udsigten’: Martin Håkan)

Selected for the Biennale

The comprehensive transformation plan for Køge Coast is process based urban planning with people and community at the center. Therefore, we are honoured that the project was selected to represent Danish architecture at the Venice Biennale 2016.

With your feet in the sand

Development areas are adjacent to the coast and recreational pathways and hangout spaces frame good times for inhabitants of the neighborhood as well as the town. We are commisioned by realestate clients to design housing  on several plots. The first homes on the Southern Harbor ‘SH-1’ are ready to receive their owners in May 2017

Project facts


Project name: Køge Coast (Køge Kyst)

Category:Commercial, Housing, Planning

Client: Køge Kyst P/S (REALDANIA and City of Køge)

Location: Køge

Gross area: 320.000

Date: 2010 - 2035

Status: Under development


Program: Housing, retail, infrastructure, urban space culture house

Activity: Masterplan, local development plan, local planning, housing, landscape, user involvement, client consultancy.

Job type: 1st Prize in competition

Contact: Jan Albrechtsen, jal@vandkunst.dk

Project group: Pernille Schyum Poulsen, Rikke Møller Andersen, Kristian Svejborg, Olmo Ahlmann, Kristian Martinsen, Camilla Libonati, Thomas Nybo Rasmussen, Susanne Schelde, Christian Stahlfest Holck Skov, Morten Dam Feddersen, Flemming Ibsen, Søren Nielsen, Martin Erik Andersen, Jan Albrechtsen

Employees: Morten Dam Feddersen


Landscape: KAB, 3B, Domea 

Engineer: Tyrens AB, Esbensen, Sloth Møller

Contractor: -

Consultant: Center for idræt og arkitektur (KADK), Albæk Byggerådgivning, ICP, Claus Bech-Danielsen, Lise Gamst