Towards the Hybrid of a Pulsating City and an Active Harbour


Marina project1

Illustration: COBE

The project proposal from COBE Architects


Marina project2

Illustration: COBE

The project proposal from COBE Architects


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Photo: Kolding Havn

Ready for transformation


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Photo: Kolding Havn

There's plenty of space for the Marina city project in Kolding.


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Photo: Kolding Havn

Kolding Harbour


Starting with the development of Aker Brygge in Oslo at the beginning of the 1980s, a pulsating marina area now seems to be the new norm for metropolises and medium-sized cities, including the home city of DANISH™, Kolding, which is on the verge of creating an even new typology: the hybrid harbour.

Kolding is a medium-sized Danish city located 100 kilometres north of the German border, right next to the island of Funen. In recent years, the city government, the harbour administration and other stakeholders have taken the first small steps towards fusing the inner-city area with the harbour area next to it.

City life with dwellings, shops, cafés and recreational areas, including a myriad of pedestrian streets, are about to be merged with Kolding’s top-tier professional harbour. This ambitious exercise faces many challenges, such as how to make people’s home and leisure time co-exist with cranes, trucks and other aspects of a working heavy-duty industry.

Danish architects COBE in collaboration with Kolding Municipality have put forward a proposal for the Marina City project, which acts as a starting point to realising the wish to combine the city’s two marinas into one as well as extending the inner city feeling towards the seaside. Today, the two marinas can handle 500 boats each, but when combined in the future, the new marina will be the biggest marina in Denmark outside of Copenhagen.

“The fjord of Kolding has been important to the city for thousands of years, and the significant coastline has also always played an important part in Kolding’s history. With the development of Marina City, we want to unite Kolding with its historical fjord in a part of town, where the city, water and marina meet,” says Dan Stubbegaard, architect and creative director at COBE, the architects behind the Marina City project.

Marina project1

Illustration: COBE

According to Jan Krarup Laursen, Head of Planning at Kolding Municipality’s city development department, the merging of the harbour and city will be carried out in order to provide easy access to the water, while also making Kolding more attractive as a marina city.

“The whole plan is divided into two separate projects, Marina City on the south side of the fjord, which is an urban development project incorporating a new quarter, a larger marina and recreational areas, and then the inner harbour area, where the challenge is to transform the harbour, while maintaining the existing business activities in the area,” says Jan Krarup Laursen.

Dan Stubbegaard continues the explanation of what will happen to the area around the marina. “The public promenade, which will run from central Kolding to the inlet, will effectively lead the city to the coast, passing squares, urban spaces and a large fjord park, and will create attractions for both residents and tourists.”

In order to develop an exciting and attractive cityscape by the fjord and the marina, 400 dwellings will be established along with a series of other functions connected with the new marina.

”Marina City is a genuine example of how to combine a pulsating city area with an active industrial harbour as a neighbour. Although there will be a need to create a bit of noise shielding, apart from that, we are seeking to combine the existing harbour with the new quarter,” says Jan Krarup Laursen.

At Kolding Harbour, the company governing the harbour, CEO Anders Vangsbjerg Sørensen looks with excitement at the new plans for developing both Marina City as well as the inner harbour area.

“These things ought to live side by side. Once, I read an unscientifically written article claiming that people rather want to live with a view, where you have something to look at compared to views where you only see the sea or an empty field, for example. An industrial harbour gives people something to look at, a vibrant hub of activity. To me, it’s only a plus if you live in an apartment with a stunning view if you can additionally hear a gull scream or see a freight ship now and then,” says Anders Vangsbjerg Sørensen.

Vangsbjerg’s own vision is to create probably the biggest floating inner harbour area in the world. Build on pontoons will be an area filled with cafés, street food markets, small basins and recreational spaces, which will rise up and generate a zone where people can chill out and enjoy life.

“The hybrid area encompassing normal city life and an industrial harbour is absolutely possibly and will gain from both typologies. The inner harbour basin isn’t utilised anymore, and soon the surrounding areas will call for ideas and plans from architects and developers, so that this part of the harbour will slowly be transformed to a more social and attractive part of the city,” says Anders Vangsbjerg Sørensen.

The municipality agrees.

”Our vision is to create easy access to the water with all the advantages and plusses of being close to the waterfront. We have to. That’s the new coast city norm – utilising the harbour and waterfront of the city is demanded by both citizens and potential inhabitants,” ends Head of Planning at Kolding Municipality, Jan Krarup Laursen.

The goal of DANISH™ is to promote Danish architecture and design in a broad perspective, and demonstrate all the potentials in these fields.

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