Sønderborg Harbor Masterplan
Gehry Partners, LLP

November 03, 2008 /

Sønderborg, Denmark

Photo: arcspace

Last week Frank Gehry presented his first Masterplan in Northern Europe to the city of Sønderborg.

The Sønderborg Harbor Masterplan proposes to transform the former industrial waterfront into a vibrant urban development by creating a sense of density and activity, focused around an Urban Square. The development extends along the waterfront and incorporates landscape parks, mixed-use areas, residential and office buildings, a hotel, recreation facilities, and cultural buildings.

Photo: Claus Thorsted

Photo: arcspace
Frank Gehry, Peter M. Clausen, Chairman of the Board, and Jan Prokopek Jensen, Mayor of Sonderborg.

Photo: FOGA

Photo: FOGA

The focal point of the revitalized urban waterfront is the four buildings at the corners of the Urban Square. The Kunsthalle and Cinema are located on the city side of the Urban Square to carry the activity that connects the Urban Square with the historic city. The Hotel and the office building are located at the water side of the Urban Square to mediate between the smaller-scale historic buildings of Sonderborg and the larger-scale hospital and university complexes.

Photo: FOGA

Photo: FOGA

By concentrating the new development around the Urban Square, it allows for a lower-density distribution of the office and residential buildings. This approach maximizes open space for culture and recreation and allows the continuation of the existing landscape as an Urban Park along the waterfront.

Photo: FOGA

Photo: FOGA

Photo: FOGA

The development is unified by a series of unique landscape spaces, creating a series of Urban Parks. These parks are linked by the Harborfront Promenade which extends the north end as a pedestrian bridge, completing the waterfront promenade and connecting both sides of the harbor.

Photo: FOGA

Photo: FOGA

When Gehry Partners approached the project in 2006 they immediately produced several schemes for the site that reflected the multiple ways to address the urban and architectural challenges.

Through a series of work sessions in Denmark and in Los Angeles the project team distilled the various participants ideas and needs into the final Masterplan.

Photo courtesy Sønderborg Harbor Company
Photo: arcspace
Photo: FOGA
Photo: FOGA
Photo: FOGA
Photo: FOGA
Design Partner Edwin Chan

Photo: FOGA

The schemes were presented in the form of physical models, 3d computer models, and diagrams. The multiple options shown provoked discussions to assist the Harbor Company with refining their needs and goals.

Gehry Partners also worked closely with Landscape Architect Melinda Taylor to establish an integrated urban and landscape vocabulary that is at once ecological, functional, and animated, and is conceived to meet the outdoor and recreational needs of Sønderborg's current and future inhabitants.

Drawing courtesy Sønderborg Harbor Company
Site Plan

Photo courtesy Sønderborg Harbor Company
The Sønderborg Site

The presentation exhibition will be on view at arcspace Gallery in Second Life.


Facts about Sønderborg Harbor Masterplan

Masterplan Architect:

Gehry Partners, LLP

Partner in Charge:

Frank Gehry                         

Design Partner:

Edwin Chan                                                

Project Partner:

Larry Tighe                       

Project Architect:

Yoram LePair                  

Principal Project Team:

Matthew Fellows
Taek Kim
Fernando Olvera
Project Team:
Earle Briggs
Frank Weeks
Alan Banina
Andreas Finke
Paul Kibayashi
Jae Jeon
Landscape Architect:
Melinda Taylor and Associates


Melinda Taylor, ASLA   

Project Designer:

Erik Rieder, Associate  


Donna Pungprechawat


Sønderborg Harbor Company

Last updated: December 19, 2013

See also

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