Copenhagen’s new Metro is a thing of beauty Copenhagen is putting a unique, costly redesign of its busiest and oldest subway system into effect
As another weather system plunges the region into bitterly cold weather, Copenhagen commuters facing frozen commutes are being treated to a glimpse of some of the monolithic wings of the city’s new subway.
Initially designed to replace a system which was more than 100 years old, the new Copenhagen Central-Central Metro Line 1 is a thought-provoking and expensive transformation of the city’s oldest system. It will be officially opened on Wednesday.
The 1.6km (930m) tunnels were built, in collaboration with the team at Tokyo-based Murata Asahi, in 2009, following a 10-year planning process and an enormous technical undertaking. The project is being funded by Denmark, Norway, Sweden and the US government.
But the Metro Line 1 is more than an engineering feat. It has revealed Copenhagen’s design in a way never attempted before, from its safety barriers and food cupboards to the ventilation system and materials chosen to house them.
The Metro Line 1 food pantry looks remarkably like the interiors of meat shops in Denmark. Photograph: Sophia Evans for the Guardian
Among the 150km (93.6 miles) of rail tracks laid in the tunnels, surfaces were lovingly transported to Denmark from Paris and Paris-based architects collaborated on the stations. Many of the Metro Line 1 stations have a design that is not quite Danish but rather European. At Nørrebro station, the rail beams were built in France.
Metro Line 1 is more practical than the older Metro. But the decision to redesign the entire system, with all new pieces, was no easy one. It involved the wholesale desilting of an existing metro shaft, and re-edging entire tunnels.
Oslo’s Metro is probably the most talked-about example of a huge project designed purely for the purpose of sustainability. Photograph: Arne Dam/AP
But it seems to have paid off for the city, and, perhaps most impressively, for those living in the metro’s 50 or so planned local stations.
Copenhagen residents will have to put up with much busier stations than they are used to, but a Metro Line 2 is being planned to help expand transport capacity in the city. So while Copenhagenians may have to contend with longer journeys, it seems to be worth it.