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Massive climate proofing and an ambitious transformation of Svendborg Harbor

Den Blå Kant

Den Blå Kant (The Blue Edge) kick-starts an ambitious resiliency transformation of Svendborg Harbor. The project is based on a comprehensive strategy, climate proofing the harbor and expanding the many existing cultural environments by creating additional recreational urban spaces, each their distinct identity – among these a marina, a harbor park and a promenade along the quayside.

Visualisation of the transformation of Svendborg Harbor, den blå kant.

Facts about the project

  • Client

    Svendborg Municipality

  • Assignment

    Svendborg harbour

  • Place

    Svendborg, Denmark

  • Status


  • Size

    8 hectares

  • Collaborators

    Sweco, EFFEKT, WTM, ArcGency

A transformation of Svendborg Harbour

In June 2018 a team consisting of Årstiderne Arkitekter, EFFEKT, WTM Engineers and Arcgency was appointed winners of “Den Blå Kant” competition, which initiated an extensive transformation of Svendborg Harbor. The project developed for the municipality of Svendborg, covers an area of 8 hectares, and will be executed in stages over the coming years.

The vision for the project is to secure the harbor from storms and flooding while creating coherence across the harbor, strengthening the existing cultural environments and adding new recreational and social value to the harbor area and to the city. Here, we have worked extensively to ensure that the solutions are adapted to the existing local environments and the location-specific conditions along the harbor edge in such a way that the current maritime and social activities can continue are not obstructed while construction is ongoing.

Climate proofing the harbour

Today Svendborg Harbor is exposed to floods and extreme climate events. Therefore, one of the main ambitions of the ‘the Blue Edge’ project is to establish a climate-proof barrier on the outer side of the harbor which will protect the inner harbor against raising water levels of up to three meters.

‘We have succeeded to position the climate proofing barrier on the outside of the inner harbor. This way, we ensure an accessible inner harbor with a direct connection to the water for both locals and visitors – the visual and physical contact between the city center and the water remains as we avoid a large physical barrier along the harbor front.’ Christian Bøcker Sørensen, architect

Most of the suggested flood solutions are integrated as design and activity elements in the new urban spaces in the harbor. The aim is to connect the city center with the harbor environment while at the same time supporting Svendborg’s vocation as a sports city. The new facilities include a new harbor bath, a promenade, a workshop with maritime leisure facilities and a new harbor park that can host a great variety of activities.

Seamlessly integrated climate protection

The climate protection strategy is a combination of several technical measures seamlessly integrated into the new recreational urban spaces and harbor basins. A combination of locks and dikes placed on the outer part of the harbor and Frederiksø ensure both a direct connection from Svendborg city center to the water and the preservation of the harbor areas. In addition, the suggested solution introduces a new bridge combined with a flood control facility as well as polder locks placed on the seabed at the entrance of the harbor. During high tides these locks are activated to protect the entire inner harbor.

The new pedestrian and cycling path runs continuously along the inside and across of the harbor, ensuring that the individual cultural environments are tied together and that the connections across the harbor communities are strengthened.

Protecting the unique maritime heritage and cultural environment of the harbor

Today Svendborg Harbor consists of various maritime cultural environments, each with its special character – from the historical wooden ships harbor to the industrial gasworks central and the southern harbor, characterized by low-rise buildings with high conservation value and maritime leisure facilities.

  • Visualisation of the transformation of Svendborg Harbor, den blå kant.
  • Visualisation of the transformation of Svendborg Harbor, den blå kant.
  • Visualisation of the transformation of Svendborg Harbor, den blå kant.
  • Visualisation of the transformation of Svendborg Harbor, den blå kant.
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A sensitive approach

“It was important to us to assume a particular sensitive approach towards the great cultural, maritime and industrial heritage of Svendborg and the transformation of the harbor must therefore be carried out based on the existing unique environment and special character of the area. The existing diversity is the starting point for further development, where we will underpin and strengthen the values of each individual area, so that the harbor will offer opportunities for even more user groups in the future”  – Christian Bøcker Sørensen, architect.