Nordhavn and Orientkaj Metro Stations

Copenhagen / Denmark / 2020

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The two metro stations possess distinct visual characteristics that reflect the character of the
urban areas they serve. Tracing the outline of a shipping container, the overground Orientkaj
station celebrates the large-scale volumes and brutalist features of the dockland’s industrial
past but opens up to reveal a passenger-focused, human-scaled detailing on the inside. The
underground Nordhavn station borrows from the design vocabulary of the recently-opened
Cityringen metro line – for which Arup led the architectural design - with the distinctive red
cladding of transfer stations.
The above ground Orientkaj station has been designed as a prototype for future stations under
the ongoing development of Copenhagen’s Nordhavn – a new city district - also designed
by Cobe - which will add over 1,500,000 m² of sustainable mixed-use buildings and provide
homes for 40,000 residents and workspaces for another 40,000.
“Nordhavn is a city of sustainable mobility, where it is easier to walk, bike or use public transport,
than it is to drive your own car. The two metro stations unlock the potential of this new
Copenhagen city district enabling more efficient and sustainable transport between the individual
neighbourhoods, and to the rest of Copenhagen, while adding a new chapter to the story
of the Copenhagen harbour front”, says Dan Stubbergaard, architect and founder of Cobe.
The two metro stations opened on 28 March 2020, with trains running from Copenhagen
Central Station to Nordhavn in just four minutes. The two metro stations are expected to have
9,000 daily users by 2025.


Orientkaj station: harbour scale meets human detailing
Anchored by bold concrete claws onto the Copenhagen harbour, the station is designed as a
glass, concrete and aluminium box commandeering panoramic views over Orientkaj dock. As
a prototype, Orientkaj station is designed to make a statement, offering a model for any future
overground stations in the Nordhavn development. Despite the station’s scale and sharp outline, the architects’ passenger-focused approach is highlighted by the detailing inside, from the
lighting to the material palette.


Serving a mixed-use urban area with offices, transformed warehouses and new housing
developments, Orientkaj station needed to be distinctive enough to become a local landmark,
while blending in with the white surrounding buildings. Anticipating a possible future high-rise
development next to the station, the architects have used anodised aluminium panels on all
façades as well as roof and soffit: placed at angles, the aluminium cladding catches the colours
of the sky and ensures the station offers beautiful lines of sight from all angles.
Views from the station platform have also been a key design consideration: the large, glass
platform screen doors mean that on a clear day, passengers can look across the Øresund
into Sweden. Two rotated, concrete staircases connect the station to the ground level. Under
the station, the 33-metre long concrete spans and V-shaped piers minimise the station’s footprint
while maximising the open, flexible urban space to accommodate a range of future uses,
including bike lanes and a public urban space along the waterfront.
Inside the station, the vast rectangular hall is column-free, supported by the external concrete
frames. Skylights mimicking the shed roofs found in the area’s former industrial buildings allow
natural light to flood the station during the day, while integrated luminaries give a pleasant
light at night. The scale of the brutalist concrete exterior is juxtaposed with polished detailing
inside, adding a practical materiality to the station: white hexagonal mosaic covers the stairs
and lift towers, while corners have been rounded for a softer, more human-friendly finish.
Nordhavn station: design goes underground
Nordhavn station provides design continuity with the Cityringen M3 metro line, which opened
in 2019, to create a seamless travel experience for passengers travelling between the two
lines: platform length, information systems and wayfinding are the same, while the interior
façades are clad in the red tiles characteristic of Cityringen’s interchange stations.
An underground transfer station at Nordhavn S-train lies under a busy traffic artery. Intuitive
wayfinding was a key design consideration for this underground station with clear lines of
sight between the underground station and the transfer tunnels, allowing users to see all the
way through to the other side, enhancing the feeling of comfort and safety.
Folded ceramic panels also provide a sense of movement, building to a great reveal in the
transfer tunnel: the angled wall claddings reveal a different hue changing from white to red as
passengers move through.
Continuing another design theme from Cityringen, the new metro station’s origami ceiling has
been designed to reflect light throughout.


Nordhavn station
Client: Metroselskabet
Year: 2013-2020
Size: Platform 44 x 7 metre
Architects: Arup and Cobe
Architectural finishes: CAS JV
Engineers: RambøllArup JV
Contractor: Metnord
Lighting design: Arup
Landscape architects: Cobe, Sleth and Polyform


Orientkaj station
Client: Metroselskabet
Year: 2013-2020
Size Platform 44 x 9 metre
Architects: Arup and Cobe
Engineers: RambøllArup JV
Contractor: Metnord
Lighting design: Arup
Landscape architects: Cobe, Sleth and Polyform


Elevated railway
Client: Metroselskabet
Year: 2013-2020
Architects: Arup and Cobe
Engineers: RambøllArup JV

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    The two metro stations possess distinct visual characteristics that reflect the character of theurban areas they serve. Tracing the outline of a shipping container, the overground Orientkajstation celebrates the large-scale volumes and brutalist features of the dockland’s industrialpast but opens up to reveal a passenger-focused, human-scaled detailing on the inside. Theunderground Nordhavn station borrows from the design vocabulary of the recently-openedCityringen metro line – for...

    Project details
    • Year 2020
    • Work finished in 2020
    • Status Completed works
    • Type Underground Stations
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