Disused railway renovated to become a multifunctional community space and manage stormwater

An old railway area in Aalborg, Denmark, has now become a multifunctional landscape with apartments, shops and urban open spaces. Playing fields operate as stormwater tanks during heavy rain.

The old railway area in Aalborg has not been used in nearly 20 years. Now, the area has gone through a thorough renovation with a focus on local diversion of rainwater. The long rails have become urban open spaces with parks, playgrounds and fields for football, basketball and beach volley, while the old station buildings have been turned into family and youth residences, educational institutions and shops.

For the new neighborhood to handle huge quantities of water, it has been necessary to create brand-new solutions. The ground has been elevated to collect rainwater in waterbeds, channels and pools. While city areas have been elevated, the park areas lie as niches between the areas. The paths are also elevated in order to create natural pools that can be filled when needed.

Instead of hiding away future rainwater in sewer lines deep in the underground, Werk Architects (earlier Polyform) has chosen to accentuate the water and make it part of the new green and sustainable urban city space. As a sub-consultant, NIRAS has been in charge of all engineering disciplines and the technical design of Werk Architects’ vision. Furthermore, NIRAS has provided supervision, site management and client advisory services.

multifunctional community space

With this project, the client (DSB Ejendomme and Grundejerforeningen Godsbanearealet) has obtained a solution with an overall focus on rainwater management, while still preserving the historical value of the railway period.

Primary contact
Jens Brandt Bering

Case location

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