Enghaveparken: Dryshod in the footsteps of Arne Jacobsen

Urban spaces

Photo: Astrid Maria Busse Rasmussen

The nearly 100-year-old park in the trendy Vesterbro district has recently been renovated and today plays a vital role in the city. In case of torrential rainfall, water will collect in the park, helping to minimize damage over a large area stretching from Valby to Vesterbro.

As a place of respite from Vesterbro, one of Copenhagen’s most vibrant districts, Enghaveparken has remained largely unchanged since 1929 – until now.

As part of Copenhagen’s progressive climate adaptation efforts, the neoclassical park is becoming a key asset in slowing and retaining water from the thunderstorms that Copenhageners have dubbed ‘cloudbursts’.

Multi-functional dams benefit the surroundings

Renowned anthropogenic landscape architects Tredje Natur won the design competition for it with a multifunctional strategy that combines clever water management with sensory and recreational opportunities.

At the heart of the park’s abilities to handle 10- and 100-year rain events are three integrated levee walls to the park’s east, south and west boundaries. When combined with a closed underground reservoir, an equivalent of 10 Olympic-sized swimming pools of water can be retained. Less extreme downpours utilise a variety of ‘softer’ interventions.

Tiled water gutters create a network of streams transecting the park and shallow rose garden with three-metre-deep multi-pitch basin was designed with stepped sides that can host roller hockey, football and cultural events on dry days, and puddle-splashing children on wet.

Completing the park’s transition will be 100 community plant boxes for growing local fruit and vegetables.

Arne Jacobsen began i Enghaveparken

A small sensation will appear when Enghavparken reopens in 2019. World renowned Danish architect Arne Jacobsen actually began his career at Enghaveparken, drawing several small pavillons and other structures. These will now be brought back to the park. It is curious to think that Jacobsens structures are adhering to the neoclassical style of the park. Shortly after he began his own practice and evolved into the most prominent modernistic architect in Denmark.

Near Enghaveparken

Taking a stroll down Sønder Boulevard, you can visit the absolute favorite church of the younger Copenhageners, Absalon’s Church. Since 2015, the church has served as a community center adorned by the artist Tal R. Diversity is always in focus here, with daily communal meals, concerts, films, lectures, and much more.

A short walk down Enghavevej will lead you to the venue VEGA. The iconic building from 1956, designed by Vilhelm Lauritzen, serves as an all-embracing meeting place for the labor movement. In 1994, the building was protected with significant help from the artist Bjørn Nørgaard, who referred to it as the ‘Sistine Chapel of Vesterbro.’



  • The fact that Arne Jacobsen’s projects in Enghaveparken are his first ever is itself very unique. Almost as unique is the fact that the music pavilion is his only neoclassical work. A year later, he opened his own practice, laying the foundation for one of history’s most important modernist architects.