BaneGaarden: Dilapidated Barns in Green Transformation
Just behind the train tracks, through a pedestrian tunnel from busy Enghavevej, you’ll find a surprising sanctuary. An old industrial area taken over by rampant nature. Here, BaneGaarden serves as a gastronomic gathering point and recreational area for the city’s users.
In the early 1900s, nine wooden barns were erected by DSB (Danish State Railways) on a plot just east of the railway system, winding in and out of the Central Station. The purpose was to dry and store timber cut from a sawmill nearby. However, as the years went by, the barns’ function became obsolete and in the 1950s they were abandoned and left to themselves. Both the buildings and the surrounding area were slowly but surely taken over by wild-growing nature and decay.
From Decay to a Green Urban Oasis
A renovation project was initiated by Aarstiderne founders Søren Ejlersen and Thomas Hartung, with support from Realdania and the property owner, DSB Properties. Rønnow Architects took the lead in transforming the wooden barns and the area – now known as BaneGaarden – into a new culinary hub with a focus on sustainability.
The old wooden barns are reminiscent of the main street in a Western film, but you won’t find a pistol-swinging sheriff here. Instead, the area harbors a cafe, restaurant, bakery, and a variety of food stalls offering delicacies. In addition, various cultural events, workshops, and learning programs are held, all aiming to inspire a greener mindset among the visitors. The wild nature that had grown around the wooden barns over the years remains untouched. You can also find blackberry bushes, willow installations, and a garden with chickens and bees in this green oasis.
The transformation of the old wooden barns has been done with respect for their original history, craftsmanship, and material use. The architects’ mantra was ‘craftsmanship over haste’, which is why the barns have been restored using the original joining techniques. From a sustainability perspective, natural building materials have been used to the fullest extent possible, and the facade boards have been recycled and refreshed with a special historical buttermilk paint.
In addition to the renovation of the nine wooden barns, a master plan has been created for the Railway Town. And although there is still much to look forward to, the place is definitely worth a visit. Next to BaneGaarden is the temporary student village CPH Village. Also, the charming – and slightly secret – Den Gule By (The Yellow City), a series of yellow-painted houses originally built for DSB’s workers next to the enormous central workshop.