Christiansborg Palace - security measures

keeping public spaces at once public and safe

"Christiansborg Slotsplads is now secured against vehicular terrorist attacks. With the mild, yet authoritarian security solution from GHB Landscape Architects, we finally have a worthy example of a strong and peacekeeping architecture in public space. A comfort to the soul in the midst of the feeling of general urban anxiety and a guard against the populist build-up of fear. And it´s not a barrier." - translated quote from Anne Pinds review in Politiken, January 29th, 2019.

Christiansborg Palace houses members of the Parliament, the political parties, the Government, the Supreme Court and The Royal House of Denmark. At the same time, many parts of Christiansborg is open to the public and the square is a frequent gathering place for democratic protesters. The security solutions therefore has to balance between protection of potentially at-risk individuals/agencies and public access.

Christiansborg Palace is located on Slotsholmen in Copenhagen, which has an 800 year-long history as Denmark’s centre of power. The square has been designed as a visually calm space, where the equestrian statue of Frederik VII, who in 1849 gave up absolutism and signed the constitution, is given its full potential. The floor makes for an easy accessible and coherent surface, where people can gather.

Circular Design
Bullets of granite stands in a circular shape on the square. They are carved from Nordic granite - the same material as used on the facade of Christiansborg. The primary security element is thereby an integrated part of the design as well as the urban space. With their smooth surface and human scale, they encourage touch and playful interaction.

The string-of-pearls-formation is broken three places by security bollards that ensure access for official vehicles.

The Palace Square has had its cobblestone pavement replaced by equivalent light granite cobblestone, which creates a coherent surface and connects to the adjacent square in front of neighboring Thorvaldsens Museum.

Circular Economy
As part of a conscious strategy to minimize waste and make the most of resources, the 200.000 cobblestones is re-used material partly from the previous pavement, partly from the storage facilities of the Copenhagen Municipality. The granite tile pavement along the facade consist of material re-used from existing granite tiles and border tiles from the previous square pavement.

Photos: The Agency for Culture and Palaces

Client
The Danish Parliament and The Agency for Culture and Palaces
Realization
2013-2019
Collaborators
Sweco, ÅF Consult, professor Steen Høyer and HOFOR
Role
Lead consultant
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