Pompidou-Inspired Design Turns Multi-Story Carpark into Green Community Space

Pompidou-Inspired Design Turns Multi-Story Carpark into Green Community Space

Park ‘n’ Play in Copenhagen will incorporate a rooftop garden, pond and playground

Vashti Hallissey
  • 18 july 2014

Copenhagen has a reputation for being the greenest city in Europe and now even its car parks are growing flowers. JAJA Architects has reinvented the multi-story garage as a leisure space with a plant covered façade and a rooftop park where children can play and adults can relax.

The Park ‘n’ Play won a competition by the Copenhagen Port and City Development to design a site in the upcoming Nodhavn area. On its completion in 2015, it will be an imposing building which offers much more than just a space to leave vehicles.

JAJA Architects website states:

The project re-invents the parking structure, and makes facades and roof accessible and inviting to the public. As an urban space, the new parking structure tells a story of an active city, and our project challenges the traditionally mono-functional use of a carpark.

The Park ‘n’ Play is nothing like the standard, dreary multi-story carpark. It’s a stunning building that will feature a landscaped garden, a children’s playground with swings and climbing frames and a pond.


The building is based on a structural grid and its sharp angles are softened by the green façade of plants that will conceal the cars from view. The plant boxes are staggered to correspond with the spacing of the columns behind.

The iconic staircase of the Centre Pompidou in Paris was the inspiration for the most eye-catching features of the building, two external staircases on the north and south sides of the structure. These take people from the ground floor to the rooftop garden without needing to enter the building, and will provide views of the city along the way. The walls behind the staircase will tell the story of the area’s industrial city, with a frieze by Copenhagen graphic designers RAMA Studio.

The Nodhavn area of the city is known as the Red Neighbourhood, due to its characteristic red brick buildings in the harbour. The Park ‘n’ Play will pay homage to this trait with concrete that is tinted a similar shade.

Following the red theme of the building, there is also a red thread that runs throughout the exterior of the building to help visitors navigate the space. Beginning as a handrail on the external staircases, it follows the route to the rooftop garden where it becomes a sculpture.

JAJA Architects tells Dezeen:

As a sculptural guide it almost literally takes the visitor by the hand, and leads along the stairs to the top and through the activity landscape on the roof. Here, it becomes a sculpture and offers experiences, resting spaces, play areas and spatial diversity. Activities along the red thread could be traditional such as swings, climbing sculptures etc., but also more architectural elements such as fencing and plants, which can emphasise or establish spaces while providing shelter from the weather.

The Park ‘n’ Play is an excellent example of the way architecture can turn an unglamorous and overlooked space, in this case the carpark, into somewhere that people want to spend time. Hopefully, we will see more architects following suit to make design for people first and vehicles second.

The Park ‘n’ Play

[h/t] Dezeen, Inhabitat

Images: Inhabitat


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