NOW Awards

Monthly Global Curated

Sourced from a global network of design directors, executives and influencers.

Help us keep ratings fair

We ask for your email and name to reduce the occurence of people adding multiple ratings for the same entry

Image Credit : Rasmus Hjortshøj


Project Overview

The new City Circle Line (Cityringen) metro, expands Copenhagen's existing system - marking the city’s largest construction project in more than 400 years.

Project Commissioner

Metroselskabet I/S

Project Creator

Arup / Cowi / Systra

Project Brief

Leading the architectural design, Arup took a user-centric ethos at every turn, and utilised an intuitive-minimalism, inspired by the Scandinavian design tradition, which has led to spacious, light-filled stations with distinctive internal façades that echo the local spirit of the areas they connect to.

Arup led the architectural work across the 17 stations, approaching each station as a gigantic ‘kit-of-parts’. This led to a very cost-effective and rational design and construction system, one that still possesses individual elements as it creates seamless journeys from street to platform.

Each station has a unique identity, supported by intuitive wayfinding that makes the metro easy to navigate, even for children. The sculptural wall panels and cladding act as internal façades to facilitate passenger navigation, and reinforce each stop’s unique identity. Paying homage to the areas they serve, stations feature colours and materials that echo the neighbourhood above ground, such as the use of beautiful, fossil-embedded sand-coloured limestone panels at Marmorkirken, or the application of bold red cladding to identify the transfer stations.

Arup's vision was that every element must work hard. Beyond their functional use as air vents, the asymmetric, sculptural skylights allow natural light to flood the stations, revealing the pared-back design while providing an element of visual excitement for city dwellers above ground. In a similar dual-use approach, the lighting design is fully integrated with the architecture and uses the feature ‘origami ceilings’ as reflectors, complemented with bespoke LED lighting that helps avoid glare.

Project Need

The new line seeks to encourage more residents out of their car and onto a more environmentally-friendly mass transit network. Now that more than 16 kilometres of twin-bore tunnels and 17 new stations have been completed, Cityringen ensures that a majority of Copenhagen’s residents will be within 600 metres of a train or metro station.

User Experience

A major metro extension represents long-term disruption to any city, but a careful programme management ensured shop-owners, residents and visitors could go about their daily lives unaffected during 8 years of construction. The required geotechnical and tunnelling engineering was planned in exacting detail too, carefully overseen through an extensive network of monitoring points.

Cityringen is a great example of elegant and intuitive rail design, based on listening to the needs of Copenhagen’s citizens, and building on the strengths of the city’s existing system. It proves that the architecture of rail systems can contribute greatly to a city’s identity, with a design that can be maintained cost-effectively, long into the future.

Government projects celebrate the courage of both commissioners and creators design projects across the government, education and other publicly funded sectors.

The space category celebrates the design process and outcomes of planning, designing and constructing form, space and ambience that reflect functional, technical, social, and aesthetic considerations. It includes architecture, interior design and landscape design as well as set display and exhibition design.

More Details