rails in front of building block
Rainwater is the overall theme in the new urban open space in Aalborg.

The railway area in Aalborg

Rainwater, urban open spaces and basketball combined on old railway

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

DSB’s old railway area in Aalborg has not been used in nearly 20 years. Now, the area has gone through a thorough renovation with focus on local diversion of rainwater (in Danish: LAR).

The long rails have become urban open spaces with parks, playgrounds and playing fields for football, basketball and beach volley, while the old station buildings have been turned into family and youth residences, educational institutions and shops.

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.

Thought-through terrain
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.

The urban open space is not only beautiful, but also very practical. The playing fields also function as pools during heavy rain – it is  a quite unique solution. The channels have gaps in different heights, flooding the playing fields in a prioritized order –first the beach volley field, then the football field and the basketball field.

Engineer Jakob Badsberg Larsen who made the hydraulic solutions on the channels and the pools.

When the rain falls, it is lead through a system consisting of many layers:

  • Green rooftops on buildings delay the diversion of rainwater from the roofs.
  • Runoff water and surface water from the urban open spaces is collected in open channels and lead to waterbeds in the urban open spaces.
  • During heavy rain, the water is lead through the channels to the park areas, where larger channels distribute the water to other waterbeds and 3,000 cubic meters of pools in the parks.
  • During extreme rain, the whole park can be used as one big pool.

With this project, the client has obtained a solution with an overall focus on rainwater management, while still preserving the historical value of the railway period.