Superkilen wins the Aga Khan Award for Architecture 2016

October 2016
The Superkilen project in Copenhagen, Denmark, is one of the 6 winners of the prestigious 2016 Aga Khan Award for Architecture. Superkilen is a half a mile long urban space wedging through one of the most ethnically diverse and socially challenged neighbourhoods in Denmark, developed by architects BIG-Bjarke Ingels Group, artists Supeflex and landscape architects TOPOTEK 1 in collaboration with the local – predominantly Muslim – community, "a public space promoting integration across lines of ethnicity, religion and culture".
"A meeting place for residents of Denmark’s most ethnically diverse neighbourhood and an attraction for the rest of the city, this project was approached as a giant exhibition of global urban best practice. In the spring of 2006 the street outside the architects’ Copenhagen office erupted in vandalism and violence. Having just gone through the design of a Danish mosque in downtown Copenhagen, BIG chose to focus on those initiatives and activities in urban spaces that work as promoters for integration across ethnicity, religion, culture and languages. Taking their point of departure as Superkilen’s location in the heart of outer Nørrebro district, the architects decided they would approach the project as an exercise in extreme public participation. Rather than a public outreach process geared towards the lowest common denominator or a politically correct post rationalisation of preconceived ideas navigated around any potential public resistance, BIG proposed public participation as the driving force of the design. An extensive public consultation process garnered suggestions for objects representing the over 60 nationalities present locally to be placed in the area. The 750-metre-long scheme comprises three main zones: a red square for sports; a green park as a grassy children’s playground; and a black market as a food market and picnic area."
The Aga Khan Award for Architecture is given every three years to projects that set new standards of excellence in architecture, planning practices, historic preservation and landscape architecture. Through its efforts, the Award seeks to identify and encourage building concepts that successfully address the needs and aspirations of societies across the world, in which Muslims have a significant presence. The prize, established in 1977, is considered to be one of the most important awards in the field.
Read more about Topotek1 and their contribution to the Superkilen project in DAMNº53