What to see at Copenhagen Capital of Architecture 2023
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What to see at Copenhagen Capital of Architecture 2023

From the Danish Architecture Center ‒ hub with a series of unmissable activities ‒ to a long line-up of exhibitions, events, debates and tours making Denmark's capital a leading attraction for a whole year

What to see at Copenhagen Capital of Architecture 2023
By Editorial Staff -

Welcome to Copenhagen World Capital of Architecture 2023: northern Europe's most welcoming city will be starring center-stage in international architecture for a whole year. Over 300 shows, events and festivals, but above all initiatives focusing on the design and planning world, with an array of guided tours to discover exhibitions, historic buildings and edifices with exceptional technological and aesthetic features.

After Rio de Janeiro ‒ the first metropolis that secured, in 2020-21, the title Unesco awards every three years to cities with supreme attention to quality in building, urban planning and environmental sustainability ‒ the Danish capital has now been chosen to spotlight its excellences, those from today as well as from its not-so-recent past.

The departure point for some of the core events is the Danish Architecture Center, which is itself already a venue worth visiting, along with BLOX, part of the Copenhagen Cultural Quarter in the inner port area in the heart of the capital and just a short stroll from what is known as the Black Diamond ‒ the architectural evolution of the Royal Danish Library in a contemporary key, and now the symbol of the new Copenhagen. Choosing from the many impressive shows and enticing museums, here's what to see in Copenhagen during its year as crowned capital of architecture 2023.


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The Danish Architecture Center exhibitions

The DAC (Danish Architecture Center) will be the main venue to most of the events focusing on the realm of architecture. These include ‒ until 10 April ‒ an exhibition celebrating the centenary of Vilhelm Lauritzen Architects, an icon studio thanks to its modernist Copenhagen projects such as the one for the airport. Another is the Made in Denmark show ‒ from 24 March ‒ with an absorbing tour drawing visitors into contact with the nation's Viking origins and guiding them through to the contemporary age, stopping off at key moments in Danish architectural history. This will provide the chance to delve deeper into the various levels of scale and style, from urban spaces and buildings to infrastructure and landscape architecture, plus opportunities to meet the architects to explore projects of the near future. The method opted for to present the most famous constructions is interesting: cinema sequences literally enveloping onlookers and submerging them in a creative and engaging experience, almost making them feel as if inside the buildings.




Another at DAC ‒ from 17 November 2023 to 1 April 2024 ‒ is the show Aware, held in conjunction with the design studio 3XN: this all-round installation explores and experiments with what is sometimes referred to as 1:1 architecture, setting out from the idea that the spaces we move around in influence us and therefore we need to reflect on how they do this so that we can understand their impact on our physical and mental health, our well-being and the environment.


>>> Take a look at the new project by the 3XN studio for the Astoriahuset: 'Astoria House' ‒ a neo-Renaissance historic building in Stockholm


The weekend 25-26 March is circled on the calendar for another initiative staged by the Danish Architecture Center: Open House Copenhagen. This event provides the opportunity to explore more than 40 of the city's historic buildings, energy plants and private homes that are normally closed to the public. In this case too it will be interesting to be able to meet many of the designers of these buildings: they will narrate how their projects took shape and will reveal the behind-the-scenes operations during debates and meet-the-architect events.

>>> Explore the new KAB headquarters: a building combining home and office in the heart of Copenhagen


Panum Instituttet

A visit to Copenhagen City Hall ‒ an edifice changing the city's skyline

Another must-see exhibition is at one of Copenhagen's most important buildings, its City Hall, which extensively changed the urban skyline when it was completed. For this reason, the tour accompanies visitors from the first design stages by the architect Martin Nyrop through to discovery of some of its most hidden corners featuring examples of the Danish Skønvirke, a distant relative of Jugendstil and Art Nouveau.

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Life Form ‒ the 10th edition of Copenhagen Architecture Festival

An unmissable appointment is the Copenhagen Architecture Festival, staged 1-11 June at the city's Art Hub. Now it is marking its 10th anniversary with the edition Life Form, offering three live shows and a series of digital initiatives. This unique event was preceded in February by the Copenhagen Light Festival, one of the most important of its kind in Europe.



'Sustainable Futures – Leave No One Behind' at World Congress of Architects 

Nonetheless, the undisputed main attraction of 2023 will be the World Congress of Architects, held 2-7 July at the Bella Center, one of the leading ‒ and cutting-edge ‒ congress centers in northern Europe, acting as a magnet for over 10,000 sector professionals. The title Sustainable Futures – Leave No One Behind underscores the theme that will be the core of this international discussion on how architecture and urban development can contribute to meeting the United Nations' 17 Sustainable Development Goals. Speakers will include the Pritzker Laureate Francis Kéré.


>>> Read the introduction to the article on the Burkina Institute of Technology by Kéré Architecture


All images in the gallery by Astrid Maria Rasmussen, courtesy of the City of Copenhagen

Cover image: The Little Mermaid statue | Photo by Guy Percival, Creative Commons CC0 1.0 Universal, Public Domain Dedication

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