Skip to content



Climate change adaptation

Flood prevention


Karen’s Minde Axis climate adaptation unlocks social sustainability

26. February 2024

Solution provider


Schønherr is an architectural firm whose primary areas of expertise lie within urban and landscape architecture, strategic and physical planning, infrastructure, climate architecture, and cultural heritage. The firm's approach is that the cultural and natural values ​​of the city and landscape are tools for addressing the major societal challenges of our time.

More from Schønherr

Want to see this solution first hand?

Add the case to your visit request and let us know that you are interested in visiting Denmark


The Karen’s Minde Axis project responds to various challenges, i.e. biodiversity, circularity and preservation, social issues, etc. But first and foremost, this is a flood prevention design. Due to its topographical location, several larger rainwater catchment areas have to meet the sea through the Copenhagen Harbour. As a result, densely populated, low-lying urban areas become a battle ground, where the rainwater coming from the backlands gets backed up, damaging both the natural and built environments. One example of this is the Copenhagen district of Sydhavn. Home to both fast-rising housing and rail development, while historically a workers housing district, Sydhavn has experienced much division, and it’s now separated into two distinct narratives of Old Sydhavn and New Sydhavn.

The scopes

Project area size: 3.7 ha

Rainwater volume: 15,000 m3


Through a series of meetings and workshops, local enthusiasts have influenced the design, activities, and choice of materials in the project. Out of respect for the embedded unique qualities in the area, the strategy has been to only add while subtracting as little as possible from the existing framework. With the various challenges faced in the district, the ambition with the Karen’s Minde Axis was to achieve synergies across sectors by having a holistic approach. The climate adaptation and urban space project Karen’s Memorial Axis in Copenhagen combines rainwater retention with the development of parks, urban spaces, and nature, catalysing a facelift of a neglected district.

The team

Clients: HOFOR and Municipality of Copenhagen
Responsible consultant: Schønherr
Sub-consultants: WSP and Vida Local
Contractor: Ebbe Dalsgaard A/S


With our award-winning rainwater management project, we created a social green corridor, with a yellow-tiled open catchment area, where a unique grassroots spirit meets culture, nature, and wildlife. The new 2,500 m2 rainwater basin contributes positively to the biodiversity of the area and will significantly increase fauna species variation. Since inauguration in May 2023, the Karen’s Minde Axis has become a local meeting space for both events and informal gatherings. As a result, the area has gained tailwind, improving the social narrative of the district, while also proving itself up to the task of handling the extreme rainfall events that caused 2023 to be a precipitation record-breaking year.



The awards

Best of Copenhagen 2023, Urban Space category winner
Building of the Year 2023, shared first place in the category Outdoor Space
DANVA’s Climate Award 2023
Beautification of the Capital Award 2023
Urban Plan Award 2023, “The lifting of Sydhavn”
…and more!