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    Copenhagen vs. Christiania

    By TADS
    Apr 3, '07 2:36 AM EST

    After Madrid and Amsterdam, I met up with two classmates in Copenhagen. In Winter, the city hibernates but we were still able to see some of the focal buildings and streets including a well-known church by Jorn Utzon. Medieval age Copenhagen was heavily fortressed and remnants such as large ponds (from the old moat) and guard towers remain. The skyline is also dotted with a variety of spires from the stock exchange to the many churches.

    Interior of Jorn Utzon Bagsvaerd Church.

    Main train station with SAS building by Arne Jacobsen.

    Copenhagen Royal Palace


    At the urban scale, we took interest in an on-going relationship between the squatter settlement of Christiania and the city of Copenhagen. Christiania started in 1971 when a small group of people took over an abandoned military barracks. Since then it has developed into an independently governed community with its own government and many flourishing businesses including a famous bicycle company. The settlement works by a populist model where every resident must agree to the addition on a new residence.

    The city has been very tolerant of Christiania until recently as the government has turned increasingly conservative. In the past two years there has been a huge crackdown on drugs and a much stronger police presence. Not surprisingly the city has also halted new construction and started to develop plans of its own. It has been amazing that Christiania has lasted this long because of its proximity to downtown and direct adjacency to a revitalized waterfront which includes the central library, opera hall, a college, and rows of new office blocks. -Aaron T(A)DS




    New office blocks along waterfront

    Copenhagen Central Library


    • squaresquared

      Did you get to see the Gemini Residence (MVRDV's converted silos)?

      Apr 3, 07 10:33 am  · 

      Christiania is one of my favorite places in the world. The character of the neighborhood is truly special...Glad you were able to see it.

      Apr 3, 07 11:27 am  · 

      I lived on the island of Amager, just south of Copenhagen. Ok, so it was a study abroad, but it was for a whole semester! I absolutely love this city, and it's beautiful yet unamiable people (except, of course, after midnight, when the jagermeister brings them out of their shells!) I was there from Janury to May of last year (2006). If anyone is considering a visit, I fully reccommend it instead of the overrated Amsterdam and their stupid red lights! Happy travels.

      Apr 3, 07 11:26 pm  · 

      I love your description and the picture of Christiania , you shuldn't be surprised when time uncover that what will happen there, the visions and the possible solutions how in fact, Christiania is so much stronger by newthinking and innovation ,eco. responsibility --- just everything that carry value. See the bad guy's want to build expensive flats and they think the building industrie want the sites nomatter what cost, that it is only about selling the sites cheap to one particular building firm -- where in fact the same firm are more than willing to cowork with the Christianits , those living in Christiania while they know that what tha industrie need, is newthinking and innovation ---- the most silli ones want to reinstall it into a park looking as in 1782 when it was a millitary area where you would be shot if you went for a walk --- they call that resturation even no one want a duck in a huge lake and boring parks where you can go and see nice architecture. --------- Yes I am danish and live just across Christiania check our Galleri Silver Screen at Google.

      Apr 4, 07 4:51 pm  · 

      did you do it DIS? i was there in '05 so amazing.

      Apr 5, 07 4:48 pm  · 

      I was at DIS in 99..and yes..copenhagen is amazing. Anybody who has not experienced this nordic culture should go. The Danes are wonderful people and Copenhagen is such a beautiful place to be..and any urban designers out there should subscribe to some of the priciples employed in the city...(i.e...policy to REDUCE the amount of parking in the inner city each year, in order to encourage people to take public transportation!)..unheard of in our car-centric culture here in the states, but the results are a more walkable, inviting, wonderful urban environment.

      Apr 6, 07 6:43 pm  · 

      DIS '02. many many visits to Christiania. Copenhagen is great, one of my favorite cities on the planet. i really enjoyed Finland as well...

      Apr 7, 07 3:30 pm  · 

      I just came across this blog in researching Christiania. I also studied at DIS this past year in 2007-2008 and lived on Amager. I LOVED the culture there and visited Christiania every other day, literally. I loved how it is a self-sustaining community based on their firm beliefs. I recommend visiting Christiania because it is one of the last areas in Scandinavia that has not been "globalized".

      Nov 11, 08 7:18 pm  · 

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