Old industrial buildings on the Paper Island, Copenhagen
The popular Paper Island is going through a needed renovation

Safeguarding the future of Paper Island

NIRAS is involved in efforts to maintain and develop the popular yet down-at-heel island. Work is already under way for NIRAS' consultants, both on land and in the water.

21. Feb 2018

Most Copenhageners know Paper Island, or “Papirøen” as it is called in Danish, for its popular “Copenhagen Street Food”, and the redevelopment of Paper Island – or Christiansholm as it is also known – has been on the cards for many years.

The island has been developed and expanded numerous times, and several of the quays are old and worn:

“We need to ‘wrap up’ the island to ensure that it is actually able to withstand the new constructions and the impact of the building work,” explains Morten Luther, Project Manager from NIRAS. He is charged with overseeing the project, which involves demolition, environmental management, harbour work, excavation, utilities and infrastructure.

In view of the diversity of the tasks, Morten Luther has enlisted the help of colleagues ranging from road, traffic and marine experts to anthropologists, environmental experts and a map specialist. 

Dealing with the infrastructure issue around the island

To ensure future residents and tourists easy access to the island, parts of the road from Prinsessegade/Danneskiold-Samsøes Allé and to the island itself must be rerouted and raised. This resulted in an unusual cooperation:

“Road specialists at NIRAS initially worked with our anthropologists and urban planners to solve the Gordian Knot around Trangravsbroen bridge. The bridge is special because it has three “legs”, and it is crossed by a throng of cyclists, not to mention tourists and pedestrians, making their way both to Holmen and Paper Island,” explains Anne Gjedved, Expertise Director at NIRAS.

The analysis, in which users were asked how they perceived the area and the current traffic solution, then formed the basis for preparation of the actual road project.

Concealed old cables and new utilities

Paper Island generally presents technical challenges, such as old oil-cooled 132kV cables:

“The cables supply large parts of Copenhagen, so we we’re not allowed anywhere near them,” Morten Luther points out.

NIRAS is also working on modernising and bringing new utilities to the island, i.e. district heating, electricity, water and wastewater, all the way out to Trangravsvej, which runs around the island itself.

From underwater and environmental studies to the mapping of all buildings

The project also demanded that Senior Consultant and Commercial Diver Jens Skovsgaard from NIRAS pull on his wetsuit to examine the island’s quayside and prepare a condition assessment.

“Jens dived into the cold water and used ultrasound to measure the thickness of the quay wall,” says Morten Luther. 

Demolition experts have also mapped all the buildings and checked them for pollution to ensure that they can be demolished safely.  Geotechnicians and environmental experts have completed geotechnical and preliminary environmental studies to assess the soil conditions. And a map specialist has 3D scanned wooden beams from the old halls, which are to be reused in the new halls, as there are no drawings showing their design.

A lot of space needed – not to mention a construction site – where space is at a premium

For Paper Island to undergo modernisation – and redevelopment – a construction site is needed:

“We will get around this by filling in on two sides of the island, 10–15 metres out from the island to give us some temporary space,” continues Morten Luther, who is also advising on how to create a cofferdam, a space as large as possible, inside the island.

NIRAS is also designing a 4,000 sqm wooden wharf of varying height around the island to provide recreational areas where visitors can have an ice cream, drink a coffee and enjoy the revamped urban space.

Facts about the renovation

  • In 2012, CØ P/S acquired the right to develop Paper Island,and in February 2016, the architectural firm COBE won the project competition for a new master plan for Paper Island. The plan has not yet been approved as a district plan. NIRAS is providing consultancy services – in the first instance to the client and then to the turnkey contractor. 
  • NIRAS has prepared the conceptual design, project proposal and the detailed project plan for the redevelopment of the island
  • Experts at NIRAS have been involved with demolition, environmental management, harbour work, excavation, utilities and infrastructure. 
  • NIRAS has also been responsible for the required regulatory procedures of the project as well as coordination of the project with cable owners, etc.
  • During the conceptual design and project proposal phases, NIRAS will provide consultancy services to the client. 
  • After that, NIRAS will advise the turnkey contractor during the main project.