With Coastal Imaginaries, the Danish Pavilion at the 2023 Biennale addresses the issue of rising waters, trying to provide answers to important questions

The Danish Pavilion at the 2023 Biennale is entitled Coastal Imaginaries and addresses global challenges such as storm surges and rising seas. The project seeks answers to important questions:

  • How to protect coasts and safeguard the climate through nature?
  • How to apply these principles in different places of the world?
  • How could the coast of Copenhagen evolve?

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“We need ideas based on hope and an optimistic vision of the future, letting new ways of seeing nature and new worldviews manifest in the transformation of the coastal landscape. We have to travel back in time to find the landscapes of the future.

All over the earth, throughout history, we can find examples of nature-based design, re-reading the various local traditions of adapting to live with water.

These are always rooted in a deep understanding of the specificity of the places in which they operate,” says curator Josephine Michau.

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The two historic buildings of the Danish Pavilion

The Denmark Pavilion is made up of two historic buildings: that of Carl Brummer from 1932 and that of Peter Koch from 1958. The projects on display deal with the theme of rising seas and storm surges which in this century will change our coastal landscapes, due to climate change.

In addition to their ability to protect the coasts, the solutions presented are recreational areas and habitats for other animal species, but also places of CO2 storage, and source of food and materials.

Complicated challenges require a multidisciplinary approach

Curator Josephine Michau developed the project in collaboration with the Schønherr studio of landscape architecture and well-known researchers and students from various Danish institutions, including the architect and landscape architect Anna Aslaug Lund, the architect and teacher DavidGarcia, the students of the master course Architecture and Extreme Environments of the Royal Academy.

The set designer and artist Christian Friedländer and the sound designer Peter Albrechtsen, internationally recognized artists, will translate parts of the research into a sensory experience and space.

The curator

Josephine Michau is co-founder and director of the Copenhagen Architecture Festival (CAFx) . The aim of the Festival is to explore, discuss and communicate architectural and urban challenges, promoting critical thinking. Architecture is not just bricks, spaces and structure. It is sensual, bodily, social, political, historical and psychological. Architecture is human and affects every aspect of life. In 2019, he received the Henning Larsen Foundation Award.

Denmark Pavilion, Biennale 2023, in brief