Rabalder Parken
Skatepark saves Danish city from future floods

Even the biggest skeptics of climate change cannot deny the reality of increased flooding. It’s time we take the necessary steps to counter the damage. Danish architects, Nordarch, have created a recreational oasis that secures the Danish city, Roskilde, from future flooding. As these heavy rainfalls only occur a few times a year, the drainage system is cleverly disguised by a park that celebrates human motion.

On July 2, 2011, a cloud burst inundated Copenhagen with 6 inches of rain in less than three hours, flooding cellars, streets, and key roads. The torrential downpour caused 6 billion Danish kroner (USD$1.04 billion) in damages, and the Danish city of Roskilde was similarly in peril until Søren Nordal Enevoldsen of Nordarch designed an inventive solution.

In an area previously monopolized by concrete factories and storage facilities, Roskilde’s MUSICON area now has a fun, flirty, and critically a waterproof makeover. Since the area is prone to severe flooding only a handful of times a year, Enevoldsen thought it would be a shame to dominate the landscape with a drainage system. Similarly, not providing a draining system would have been catastrophic, since the area is slowly burgeoning into a vibrant residential and commercial neighborhood. So, ideally the area would be both people-centric as well as disaster-proof.

Enevoldsen and his team thus designed Rabalder Parken, a heavy-duty drainage sustem that simulatenously serves as a recreational oasis for skateboarders and other lovers of leisure. The entire complex, which includes an impressive skatepark, parkour equipment, fitness area, as well as hang-out spots furnished with grills, trampolines AND a performance stage, is fully integrated into the existing water canal system that stretches through a series of hills and brings the rain water to the adjacent lake. In fact, the skatepark IS the pool that can hold the equivalent of 10 Olympic sized swimming pools of rainwater in times of flooding.

People need to learn to co-exist with nature’s whims. And architects need to build with both people and nature in mind. Rabalder Parken is an inspiring example of the two agendas becoming perfectly aligned. It sends the message that we do not need to compromise on our requirements from public spaces in order to accommodate climate change. We can in fact fuse them to produce creative and fun solutions.