Orestad Station / downtown area (ii)

Orestad is planned to have 20,000 residences,  and 80,000 jobs,  and 20,000 university student places when it’s finished.

This new suburban city was started in 1993.  The city owns 55% of the development corporation and 45% is owned by the national government. It had several false starts and considerable criticism of the very modern, rather cold, planning model.

The first office building opened in 2001; the first residential building opened in 2004. There is now over 3000 apartments built. Old cities like Copenhagen and Paris have difficulty in locating large-floorplate buildings in the “old city” so there is a strong demand for such office buildings in the ‘burbs.

Daniel Libeskind did the master plan for the downtown Orestad,  that area centered around the Field Shopping Center. Copenhagen has at least two new indoor shopping malls on the Rideau Centre and Bayshore scale. The downtown Orestad area will be the focus of the next several stories here on WestSideAction.


Arriving by metro in Orestad Station, one passes a whole parade of architecturally significant or unusually shaped buildings. I suspect the planners thought people arriving would have their mouths open in awe. I think rather less thought was given to the livability of the resulting places.

Descending from Orestad Station there are bus stops, a separated cycle track, and across the street a huge indoor shopping mall and giant parking garage:

There is a water feature running under one of the guideways in the downtown area. On the right is a pedestrian promenade:


Twice repeated was this dock-like decking designed so that people could interact with the water. Notice that they don’t think railings are required. Within the seating circle there are holes so that you can dangle your feet in the water:

I do wonder how toddlers will engage with this water feature…

Notice in the above two pictures and below,  how dead the vegetation is under the elevated guideway.

Along the pedestrian promenade, there were some office buildings, a school and library, some apartment buildings and other ingredients of a planned, mixed use downtown area.

It was a long linear area. Many storefronts were not in use or looked like temporary pop up shops. There was significant pedestrian activity on a weekday, along with a surge of students leaving the downtown high school.

One large building contains both a high school and the Orestad public library. I appreciate having students in the urban core as they enliven the area. Students should not be segregated out in isolated land uses:

The buildings in the core frequently were at right angles to the pedestrian walkway so they could put more uses closer together. But then the buildings were separated enough so that you could admire their facades.

But what is that on the windows?

There is taped up broken glass all over the building:

Many of the buildings in Orestad had definite fronts and separately designed backs. As we will see the fronts tended to be architecturally wild and the backs rather plain. And the front of each building faces the back of the next one:

Next: some apartment buildings close up, including interiors, and prices…

One thought on “Orestad Station / downtown area (ii)

  1. Should NCC/Lebreton learn from this? Is your timing incidental; or? Note: I wonder whether the NCC ever considered having a name architect/planner do a master plan with a physical layout and then have the bits filled in by qualified developers a bit each year. This might have avoided the bind we seem to be in now at the Flats.

Comments are closed.