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Cityringen Nordhavn branch; Cityringen Nordhavn branch;

Copenhagen M4 line –Nordhavn branch, Copenhagen

Metro extension powers Copenhagen's docklands regeneration

The Nordhavn extension of Copenhagen’s M4 metro is a dual track line branching off from the Cityringen metro, which opened in 2019. This new branch will unlock the potential for the Nordhavn masterplan by developing a transport hub for a docklands redevelopment in the city. Designed to be both passenger-focused and highly durable, the two new stations on this branch will connect an additional 11,000 passengers daily to the Copenhagen metro network. 

Arup’s role as part of the Joint Venture with Ramboll, and in collaboration with COBE, for the Nordhavn metro includes architecture, geotechnics and structural engineering, passenger modelling, construction planning, and fire and life safety of the project. We were responsible for the design of the bored tunnels, the cut and cover tunnels and subway station box at Nordhavn, plus the elevated trackway and station at Orientkaj.

As part of a separate joint venture team, Arup has a continuing major role for the next phase of the M4 metro project, which will see it extend in the south of the capital to the district of Sydhavn, helping increase mobility and reduce congestion.

Project Summary


2 new stations

1.9kmlong twin-bore tunnel

9,000 passengers by 2025

New connections

The new branch connects the existing Cityringen M3 line to the M4 line’s new Nordhavn metro station via a 1.9km long twin-bore tunnel which then rises through a cut and cover tunnel and embankment, to an elevated viaduct and overground station at Orientkaj. Passengers will now also be able to transfer between the main line system to the metro via a new pedestrian interchange tunnel at Nordhavn station.

Nordhavn station: design goes underground

At Nordhavn station we have created design continuity with the recently-opened Cityringen line to create a seamless travel experience for passengers travelling between the two lines: platform length, information systems and wayfinding are the same, and the interior façades are clad in the red tiles characteristic of Cityringen’s interchange stations. Once again, stations on the line possess distinct visual characteristics that reflect the local communities they serve.

An underground transfer station at Nordhavn S-train lies under busy Kalkbrænderihavnsgade – a key traffic artery. Intuitive wayfinding was a key design consideration. Our design team created clear lines of sight between the underground station and the transfer tunnel, allowing users to see all the way through to the other side, enhancing the feeling of comfort and safety. Re-using another design idea from Cityringen, the new metro station’s origami ceiling has been designed to reflect natural light throughout.

Orientkaj overground station: connecting the port

The new above ground station at Orientkaj celebrates the large-scale, brutalist features of industrial design and port/harbour structures: bold concrete claws bolt the station onto twin concrete viaducts housing the tracks, supported on 33-metre span, v-shaped  concrete piers that minimise footprint and maximise the open, flexible urban space underneath.

Inside the station, the vast rectangular hall is column-free, supported by the external concrete frames, with glazed skylights that mimic the shed roofs found on former industrial buildings in the areas. Our guiding principle was to achieve a bright and safe passenger experience. A white mosaic on the station’s stairs and lifts provides a friendly and welcoming visual experience.

Externally, anodised aluminium cladding is used on all facades as well as roof and soffit, to ensure the station looks appealing from all angles, anticipating the future high-rise developments around the station.

Serving an office area with larger buildings, the station needed to be distinctive enough to become a local landmark, while blending in with its surroundings – all while allowing clear lines of sight. Views from the platform were also a key consideration: the large, glass platform screen doors mean that on a clear day, passengers can look across the Øresund into Sweden.

At dusk and at night, the lighting design makes the elevated station glow from the inside, rendering it visible from afar. The two sculptural staircases are submerged in light, guiding passengers safely up to the platform level.

Nordhavn station Nordhavn station

New metro, growing city

Metro systems are great motors for a city’s growth, connecting people and areas to opportunities and investment. Our design thinking always takes this city-wide perspective, looking for ways to maximise the wider socio-economic benefits new systems might bring. These new stations are just part of the wider Nordhavn Masterplan, which will redevelop Copenhagen’s docklands, adding over 1,500,000m2 of sustainable mixed-use buildings, the largest development in northern Europe.