Kaktus Towers: Prickly Architecture


© Rasmus Hjortshøj

The Copenhagen skyline now boasts two new pointy additions: Kaktus Towers. Their pointed balconies twist upward 80 meters into the sky, engendering both breathtaking views and hot debates.

Near Dybbølsbro Station, you’ll find two towers that distinguish themselves from most other buildnings in Copenhagen. Kaktus Towers are constructed around a central core, and acquire a complex and sculptural expression thanks to a facade that twists at each floor level. The building’s exterior consists of almost 500 pointed balconies that coil themselves around the entire structure, clearly referencing the spiky desert plant. The jagged appearance is softened by a facade that reflects the last rays of sunlight in a golden hue – a sharp contrast to the building’s otherwise harsh appearance.

Crooked Angles

Housing nearly 500 small apartments, Kaktus Towers offer one to two rooms, complete with their own balcony. The sharp angles and sloped walls create a challenging space to decorate with traditional furniture. This is why the apartments come equipped with multifunctional fixtures and furnishings. The bedroom can be transformed into a living room, and the desk into a dining table. The idea behind the towers was to create a blend of private life and community – which is why the buildings house shared facilities such as a gym, kitchen, laundry room, and outdoor barbecue area that ensure residents interact with each other. The aim is that these shared areas will cultivate a sense of community among the residents and help alleviate the loneliness that expats or city dwellers living alone may experience.

Controversial Architecture

Once completed, Kaktus Towers received a mixed reception. Their unique appearance caused the most debate – were they ugly or beautiful? The rental prices and construction quality were also hot topics of discussion. Perhaps that’s the nature of cacti – they can be prickly. It was the same case in Esbjerg, where the first version of Kaktus Towers was completed in 2021. And it will likely be the case if BIG fulfills their vision of constructing similar, eye-catching high rises in other cities.

Near Kaktus Towers

The two towers are part of Copenhagen’s answer to New York’s High Line Park – a green, elevated, and publicly accessible park that stretches from the towers, passes the Tivoli Hotel, and ends at the SEB Bank headquarters. Diagonally across from Kaktus Towers, you can see the Bicycle Snake, a bike bridge that winds around Fisketorvet to connect Dybbølsbro with the Brygge Bridge, creating a shortcut for a multitude of cyclists. The Bicycle Snake concludes at the outermost pier of Havneholmen, where you’ll find the Aller Media House: a triangular wedge made of glass, steel, and aluminum.


Copenhagen, Vesterbro


BIG - Bjarke Ingels Group


Høpfner A/S
Catella Group




LM Byg