Augustenborg Harbor

Status: Local Plan Development, 1st Prize in EUROPAN 10
Site: Augustenborg, Denmark
Client: Municipality of Sønderborg
With its rich history and beautiful natural landscape, Augustenborg has the potential to play an important role in the further growth and development of Als. The city lies at an important point along the main traffic artery connecting the ferry terminal at Fynshavn across the island, and benefits from a close proximity to thriving Sønderborg.

This relationship to Sønderborg, as well as its location compared to other Als cities puts Augustenborg in a unique position to be a significant node within the middle of the island. The existing natural landscape, which includes dense forests and the scenic Augustenborg fjord, also contributes to the city’s unique character.


Construction on the marina side is to be kept low and green in order to preserve the continuity of the distant landscape. The city side of the harbor is built into a dense urban core, inspired by medieval walled cities.

The buildings create a perimeter around a variety of connected public spaces with the exposed grid structure acting as the gate.


The industrial facilities which currently define the harbor once played a more important role in the economy of Augustenborg, however the scale and use of those structures are now the primary barrier between the residents and the water that has such a profound influence on the culture in the city. While the large structures are particularly imposing, that physical presence has left an indelible mark on the city that is an important aspect of Augustenborg.


By preserving some of the existing industrial structures, and infusing them with some of the cultural relevance of a castle, it is possible to create a vibrant new extension of the city. Historic Augustenborg Palace initially dictated the shape and growth of Augustenborg, but now a Modern Castle is required to establish a true city center in Augustenborg that can serve the entire region’s cultural and technological needs.


The new city center will seize the waterfront from industry and provide more intimate moments of interaction for all people within the natural environment.


Augustenborg Palace shaped the growth of the city with its symmetry and axes. The industrial facilities currently define the city’s relationship to the fjord. By concentrating new and upgraded cultural institutions within the existing industrial infrastructure, the repurposed buildings can assume the gravity of a medieval castle in order to influence Augustenborg’s morphology. The new cultural node then serves as a physical city center that also establishes a strong relationship with the water.


The public plazas of the medieval city maintain a link to Augustenborg Palace and connect the path across the embankment to the different utility spaces and a nature path on the marina side.
The two different uses are defined individually by wood and concrete and collide at a harbor bath located on the embankment.