Updated 23.03.20 |
Signe Moeslund Mains

Photo Credit: SNE Architects

If you make a park when you have to establish climate protection anyway, you save a lot of money. Rabalderparken in Roskilde successfully combines recreational areas with technical facilities for the drainage of rainwater. SNE Architects and COWI were in charge of the design of the area while GHB Landscape Architects was in charge of the overall landscape plan and the design of the popular ‘water steps’ in the park.

“I am proud to live in a country where architects think like you. You used positive thinking and solved the problems resulting from climate change in a way where engineering, environment and people form a synthesis.” Ida Auken, former Minister for the Environment, Roskilde Avis, 31 August 2012


Rabalderparken is an area that provides the new neighbourhood in Roskilde, Musicon, with both activities and rest. At the same time, it serves as a technical facility for rainwater drainage. According to Vandplus-Sekretariatet, it has been possible to create both economic benefit and recreational value thanks to successful collaboration between the utility supplies, the municipality and the stakeholders in the area.

“Ultimately, the combined facility turned out to cost only DKK 10 million more than what a rainwater system would have cost. That is a much smaller amount than what a similar park for recreational use alone would have cost.” Vandplus-Sekretariatet 2015.

Rainwater Management

The large-scale facility in Rabalderparken consists of a long canal that ends in three rainwater reservoirs which, according to Vandplus-Sekretariatet, can contain about 23,000 m3 of water. The facility is designed for a 10-year event, which means that all reservoirs and canals will statistically only be full once every ten years. The park has given the skaters in Roskilde a new place to be while at the same time protecting the new neighbourhood against flooding. All reservoirs in the park together cover an area corresponding to a football field, but they can contain as much water as 10 swimming pools.

Photo of Rabalderparken by GHB Landscape Architects & SNE Architects. Photo Credit: SNE Architects
Photo Credit: SNE Architects

About the case

Rabalderparken is established on an old industrial area and built around a 445-metre long canal which can be used by skaters, BMX riders and roller skaters. The areas along the canal provide ample opportunities for recreation, unorganised play and activities, where the excess soil from the excavated canals and reservoirs has been used for hills and banks.

All reservoirs in the park together cover an area corresponding to a football field, but they can contain as much water as 10 swimming pools. The park also has a slide, trampolines, hammocks and fitness equipment. The citizens of Roskilde have welcomed the park; a necessary technical facility which has become a local gathering point in the new Musicon neighbourhood.

Read more about Rabalderparken by GHB Landscape Architects