Park 'n' Play Rooftop Playground, Lüders, Copenhagen

Park 'n' Play Rooftop Playground

Since last year’s late summer, a new playground called ‘Park ’n’ Play’ towers above Copenhagen’s harbour scenery in bright red. What is special, is that it is located 24m above sea level on the roof of a car park and it thereby sets new standards in the way people think about designing public spaces.

Park 'n' Play Rooftop Playground as seen from the air

A challenging project for a modern city district
This project’s challenge was to create centrally located parking facilities that would optimally integrate into the surroundings of the modern Nordhavn city district. In a few years from now, Nordhavn will welcome thousands of new inhabitants as the latest urban development project in Copenhagen enters its final stages. An ambitious project such as this calls for equally ambitious parking facilities and recreational spaces.

Families playing and relaxing in Park 'n' Play Rooftop Playground

An innovative solution for a parking and public recreation space
The architecture firm JAJA Architects solved this challenge in cooperation with UNO and Berliner. ‘The project re-invents the parking structure, and makes facades and roof accessible and inviting to the public. As an urban space, the new parking structure tells a story of an active city, and our project challenges the traditionally mono-functional use of a car park’ explains Kathrin Susanna Gimmel, the leading architect and co-founder of JAJA.

Children playing in Park 'n' Play Rooftop Playground

Inspired by the staircases on the exterior of the iconic Centre Pompidou in Paris, a flight of stairs rises up from the ground floor across the long sections on the north and south side of the car park up to the roof. The red handrail of the stairs continues on the roof and is integrated like a ‘red thread’ in the various play structures. It thereby serves as a key element in the swings, benches and monkey bars. It finally leads visitors to the absolute highlight of the rooftop playground: a nearly 8m-tall rope climber with a helical net. The rails, ropes, trampolines and mounds are used for play as well as fitness training and the rooftop has become a popular place for children and adults alike.

Aerial view showing play area and steps up to Park 'n' Play Rooftop Playground

The practical knowledge of rooftop installation
The challenge in constructing the helical pyramid was to use the existing roof structure as a solid anchor without damaging the properties of the roof’s cladding’, says Marius Kotte, Director of the Berliner Seilfabrik’s department of Construction & Development. ‘The solution was the large number of a total of 16 anchor points. That way, the arising tensile forces are optimally distributed and the permeation of the roof structure was minimised.’

Children playing on large helical pyramid rope climbing frame on Park 'n' Play Rooftop Playground

It is also noteworthy that the structure only has a maximum fall height of 2.10m despite its total height of nearly 8m. That is thanks to its shape: as the flat nets are wider at the bottom than at the top, a net would always catch you should you fall.

Wide aerial view showing scale and conext of the Park 'n' Play Rooftop Playground