Water Mirror Play Sct Olai Square

Roskilde DK

Type Commission
Role Main consultant
Client Roskilde kommune
Size 1,200 m2
Project Start 2013
Status Completed 2015


Sct Olai went from being a non-space to providing Roskilde with a timeless urban space for a relaxing break. Here, the subtle use of new and re-used materials of high quality lends identity and atmosphere to the quiet square that runs parallel to a busy pedestrian street.


The new square consists of only a few elements – a granite pavement, granite slabs for accessibility, a brick wall, a small stream in cast iron and the Bjørn Nørgaard sculpture ‘Ragnarok’. Sct Olai’s square and passage were built as part of Kulturstrøget, a network of the main cultural attraction in Roskilde, and the design needed to support this.

Sct Olai Square
Two rows of rectangular granite slabs along the western side of Rosenhavestræde and the north side of Sct Olai Stræde serve the needs of the psychically and visually disabled.

Just a few elements in high-quality materials   

All materials used are long-lasting and the cast iron highlights the tactility of the rough granite, setting a new contemporary frame. The materials

blend in with and complement the surroundings. We repurposed granite stones that were originally part of the pavement around Roskilde Cathedral.

Water Element Sct Olai Square
Bench and Brick Wall Sct Olai Square

A brick wall creates a new façade  

The square was missing a façade to the east, so we introduced a brick wall that separates the parking from the square. We chose the dark brick ‘Gotland’ for its colour and durability. We moved every other row forward to create visual interest. The floor slopes from Algade towards the

museum and the wall having the same top level from start to finish allows it to function as a 50 cm seating wall at its lowest point. The direction of the wall is broken along its course, to form a series of seating niches with benches orientated towards the afternoon sun.

Shadow on Brick Wall Sct Olai Square
People playing on brick wall Sct Olai Square

The trickling sound of water  

A small stream flows from a water feature at Algade in a cast-iron canal. The water runs across the square and ends around the ‘Ragnarok’ sculpture in front of the museum.The flat steps of the canal create a trickling sound

and draw your attention to the water, thus underlining the quiet character of the square as opposed to the busy Algade. Placing the water feature close to Algade invites shoppers and passers-by towards the square and the museum.

Water Mirror Sct Olai Square

The transformation is part of a strategy to create more variation in the city centre by designing spaces that highlight the cultural institutions and urban spaces that are without commercial character.

As such, Sct Olai now provides a break from the shopping street and room for reflection and conversation.

brick wall Sct Olai Square
brick wall facade Sct Olai Square
water element Sct Olai Square

A strategy to create varied urban spaces

The square sets a new frame for the museum with a new dynamic between museum, restaurant and square.Before, it was a non-site just a parking lot and the backside of the shopping street. Now, it is an important link in the culture network.

The transformation is part of a strategy to create more variation in the city centre by designing spaces that highlight the cultural institutions and urban spaces that are without commercial character.