Photo: Kontraframe

This new canal district in Sydhavnen has strong Dutch references. Variations in the facades counter any sense of remoteness and uniformity.

Sluseholmen – or The Lock Island – is named after the lock that regulates water in and out of Copenhagen’s southern harbour entrance.

Much of the city’s industry once existed here, as shipping loading bays, factories and processing plants. Today a new type of life dominates, where some 1,350 households enjoy a waterside location and convenient access to the city.

Amsterdam, Venice, Christianshavn – this is how the architects describe Sluseholmen’s inspiration, and it’s instantly apparent. Eight housing islands sit snug on the edges of the harbour, their quaint canals connected only by bridges and encased by wharfs.

Formed of subtly off-angle apartment quadrants, each with a semi-open courtyard at its centre, residents can enjoy both the intimate water channels and vibrant common areas from either side of their apartments. Sand pits, playgrounds, picnic benches, BBQs, vegetable boxes and open lawns host a unique community atmosphere, whilst shared kayaks and a local harbour bath provide incentives to delve into the water.

Directed by the master plan, each quadrant shares the same shell structure but varies by façade design and materials. Envisaged by 25 architectural firms, these façades create that classic Amsterdam feeling – a key ingredient in forming identifiable neighbourhoods throughout the quarter.


Copenhagen, Sydhavn


Soeters Van Eldonk Ponec architecten
Gröning Arkitekter


JM Danmark
Sjælsø Gruppen
By & Havn