Remember Superkilen? With the award winning red square, the bike highway and the giant octopus? Our first glance was in August 2011, back when the floors were red, the trees were alive, and it all looked so promising. It managed to stay presentable and appear in working order, just long enough for the fancy opening shots, and the many prestigious awards. And then it fell apart.
First obvious problem was the epoxy floor that to the architects surprise turned slippery when wet. In the wintertime this led to heavy salting that in return killed almost all the trees. The City of Copenhagen just took a considerable chunk out of the city budget to fix the floor, but the trees are not so easily replaced. And who knows if anything can even grow there?
This is unfortunately a common problem here: architects throwing in trees not suited for the climate, and/or with poor living conditions, causing them to succumb quickly. The criteria seem to be, the chosen trees just have to grow fast and look nice for a short period of time. Like the poor imported palm trees by the giant octopus on the black part. I will spare you the pitiful sight.
The red square, not so red anymore. Same spot, before: here.
And while we are at it, perhaps it wasn't the best idea to place a huge loudspeaker system in the middle of a square, and invite everyone to share their playlists? Unless you really don't give a damn about the neighbors.
Other things to be aware of, when designing a public square: where does the sun set? In Copenhagen this is where the light deprived citizens will gather. They will sit on the dirty floor uncomfortably close to others, just to suck up the precious rays. Don't block that spot with a bike rack, okay? That's just spiteful.
And, even if this wasn't the sunset spot, it is inconveniently placed, only very few people use it. It is simply too far from where you need to go. Check out the telling (lacking) traces in the snow below, same spot in the wintertime:
The mirabelle plum tree behind this wall is in safe distance, and still alive. Proving how important trees are to the public space. Just imagine this picture without it. Ugh.
The first harbinger of spring. It is a basic human need to be able to follow the changing seasons, in the city. We need the trees to absorb the noise, filter the polluted air, keep our basements dry and create oxygen. And, we need the confetti:
Architects should not be rewarded for destroying trees, and making their living conditions impossible.