The Copenhagen Islands Project : When Nature Floats in the Rhythm of the City

Step onto MAST ‘s floating oasis and experience a new connection between the city and nature through the ‘Copenhagen Islands Project’.

In the everyday life of Copenhagen’s harbor, you will find roaming boats, leisurely people and seabirds, along with floating islands created by MAST. These minimalist-style aesthetic islands are not fixed in any location but gently drift with the sea breeze and waves, freely available for public use.

Photo from MAST

How does this city, known for its bicycle culture and modern design, carve out the necessary natural spaces amid its bustling streets?

Photo from MAST

In a hidden corner, an old shipyard has been transformed into the base for MAST . Here, architects Magnus Maarbjerg from Denmark and Marshall Blecher from Australia join forces to explore the infinite possibilities of aquatic architecture, dedicated to weaving innovative and sustainable living environments for the city.

Photo from MAST

Through ‘The Copenhagen Islands Project’, MAST has created a series of aquatic landforms. These green, sustainable lands bloom on the water’s surface, injecting new vitality into the city.

The islands are made from recycled plastic and FSC-certified sustainable timber, handcrafted using traditional wooden boat-building techniques, and designed in modular 20 square meter spaces to reduce carbon emissions during production. Floating on the clear waters of Copenhagen’s harbor, these islands not only provide a flawless, pollution-free landscape but also add more public space along the city’s waterfront.

Photo from MAST

From KBHØ1, each island boasts a unique landscape design, becoming a paradise for biodiversity. They attract bees, butterflies, and other diverse species, providing rare natural connection area in the city, increasing urban greenery, and demonstrating how to address the residential challenges posed by global climate change and rising sea levels. The islands are planted with local flora and trees, providing habitats for wildlife and birds. Beneath the islands, new habitats for seagrass and mollusks create ideal living conditions for fish and other marine life.

The ‘Copenhagen Islands Project’ also includes multifunctional public spaces, such as floating swimming pools, gardens, and picnic areas. The islands are connected by specially designed waterways, allowing residents and tourists to easily move from one island to another, enjoying different natural and cultural experiences.

Photo from MAST

These healing aquatic lands create swathes of green dreams, embodying a vision of harmonious coexistence with nature, inspiring the globe—even in the busiest city centers, there is room for sustainable development.

In Segrate, east of Milan, a former old quarry is planned to be transformed into a central park. MAST has converted this forgotten place into an oasis that connects surrounding communities, offering residents a sanctuary to return to nature, inviting people to slow down, take a deep breath, and converse with nature.

Photo from MAST

The plan envisions a series of buildings around the lake, including a spa, a restaurant, and a boat rental station, all connected by wooden walkways. These structures will use local timber to naturally integrate with the surrounding environment. In the center of the lake, there are floating islands that provide unique spaces for outdoor performances, picnics, and private events. Additionally, a fine dining restaurant is situated on the lake’s edge, allowing diners to enjoy panoramic views of the islands while eating.

In 2023, MAST collaborated with the local Maldivian organization「The Eco Org」 to avoid land reclamation and protect coral reefs and marine ecosystems. The Maldives, consisting of 1,200 low-lying tropical islands, has seen an increase in land reclamation projects in recent years due to tourism growth and a shortage of usable land. These projects typically damage coral reefs and alter ocean currents, and involve transplanting large numbers of mature trees and palms from other islands. Floating villas avoid this destructive practice by being anchored in the expansive protected lagoon areas around the Maldives, minimizing impact on the marine ecosystem and showcasing their commitment to sustainable architecture.

7 floating experiences you ought to try in Copenhagen

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