Skyscrapers versus sunbathers

The new Postgrunden development is expected to make 4,700 workplaces and raise around 43 million kroner in annual tax revenue. But its 115-metre tower may block the sunlight on Islands Brygge at the height of the summer

You’re sitting on Islands Brygge at the height of the summer – basking in the final rays of sunlight after a day of swimming and sunbathing – when you’re cast into shadow. But the sun hasn’t set behind the horizon – it’s behind an enormous skyscraper.

This could be the result of the decision to approve a new development, Postgrunden, beside Copenhagen Central Station. The plot of land currently houses the 100-year-old red-brick Copenhagen Central Post Building and the 40-year-old sorting facility Postterminalen. In 2015, former owner PostNord sold both for 900 million kroner to Danica Pension, which is leading the redevelopment.

Copenhagen Central Post Building will be transformed into a luxury hotel, while Postterminalen will be torn down to make way for commercial buildings and 520 homes – of which 100 will be affordable social housing.

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In November, City Hall’s Technical and Environmental Committee approved the developer’s plan, which will include five round towers rising 52, 54, 67, 93 and 115 meters tall.

It’s the tallest tower that is expected block the final 20 minutes of sunlight on parts of Islands Brygge – a hugely popular and unique bathing site in the middle of the city – on the longest day of the year, according to calculations from architects Lundgaard & Tranberg.

Only the Social Liberal Party (Radikale) and the Red-Green Alliance (Enhedslisten) voted against the developer’s proposal on November 6, preferring that the towers be lower.

Mette Annelie Rasmussen, a member of the Technical and Environmental Committee for the Radikale, told Berlingske that it was a “sad day”.

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“As it looks now, we are knowingly building in a way that will detract from other Copenhageners. I don’t think that’s the right way to go,” she said, adding that it the plan could have been improved if the developers were given one more chance to make changes.

“Every time we sat at the table with the developers and investors, we have been able to develop better solutions.”

The reason the towers need to be so tall, argue the developers, is to create as much open public space as possible between and around the new buildings. Their ambition is that the new development will create a better urban connection between the Central Station and the Kalvebods Brygge development along the harbour.

READ MORE: Artificial island proposed to connect Copenhagen

Jakob Houggard from the Social Democrats (Socialdemokratiet) argues that the benefits of the development will outweigh the brief loss of sunlight on Islands Brygge. With 4,700 workplaces projected to be created in the development, the municipality expects it will raise around 43 million kroner in annual tax revenue.

“You can’t build in Copenhagen without casting a shadow,” Houggard told Politiken newspaper. “We are talking about a shadow that will pass for five minutes late in the day. I think we can live with that. The shadows caused by Postgrunden do not justify blocking a project that can create 5,000 new jobs, homes, and all the other benefits of the project.” M

News, Urban

By Peter Stanners

Co-founder and Editor-in-chief. Occasional photographer.

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