Image by Chris_J

Architectural and spatial design

 
When we come to help you improve your city, we don’t come out of nowhere.

UBLA is based is Copenhagen, Denmark and there is no doubt, that we are a product of our city.

Islands Brygge Copenhagen

The ‘Islands Brygge’ district in Copenhagen — a recently developed part of the city. Image by Fc Nikon

Repeatedly proclaimed the most liveable city in the world — and the capital of the happiest nation on the planet, Copenhagen has done a lot of things right in the past decades.

Not bad for a city who endures many months of wind, rain and cold before it is finally allowed to show its true colours around the first of May each year.

Quick to abandon the worst ills of modernism, Copenhagen has pursued a people-first strategy for a very long time. From the world’s first transformation of a major street to a pedestrian-only safe haven in 1962 to its world-famous, and seemingly endless, bicycle lanes, Copenhagen knows how to cater to its sons and daughters.

As a result, Copenhageners are generally happy, safe, friendly, industrious and proud of their city.

COPENHAGEN IS DOING SOMETHING RIGHT

Nº 1

Most liveable City // Monocle Magazine

Nº 1

Happiest nations on Earth // U.N. (SDSN) World Happiness Report

“The movement to invite people back to city spaces that began in Copenhagen has spread to cities around the world.”
Charles Montgomery in ‘Happy City’

Spaces that engage

When we visit your city, we view it with an ambition to create spaces and structures that will generate the same sentiment. Urban design and architecture that will make the people of your city want to engage with their built environment.

We do this by analysing the context of any space we are involved in. Not just the data, but also its history and its culture — and the goals, dreams and aspirations of the people who use, or will use, the space.

Once we have fully understood this, we sit down and apply our set of tools to generate scenarios and determine how these would affect a variety of parameters, such as perceived safety, traffic flow, beauty, liveability and trade.

Each assignment is different, but our designs are always accompanied by visualisations that make it easy to comprehend how any new structure(s) would affect the space in question — and the surrounding city.

For the here and now — and for the future city

And no, we are not just exporting Copenhagen. The capital of Denmark has made many errors too, and not everybody is walking around in a perpetual state of bliss. There is work to be done there as well, and our team has travelled to, worked in, and lived in, dozens of cities around the world to learn the best from each.

Neither are we coming simply to pedestrianise everything. Although cars need to exist on the terms of their inventors, of people, they are a very useful tool for a lot of those same people. Of the car’s three major ills: noise, pollution and danger to walkers, two could be removed in a matter of years — once battery technology and infrastructure allow the electric car to take over the domain of the combustion engine.

This sums it up, really. We need to create cities that improve the quality of life here and now — but at the same time look to the future and balance the needs of the entire city.

And that is what we do.

Our core design principles

 

Humanized cities

Humanized cities

The city is the physical frame within which people live their lives. In the engaged city the urban space is designed not only for function but also for making it pleasurable for human beings to perform that function, whatever it may be.

Mixed-use

Mixed-use

Dividing cities in residential, commercial and cultural zones creates uninspiring homogeneity and increased need for transport. The engaged city is the mixed-use city.

Car control

Car control

Cars are a very convenient way of moving around, but in densely populated environments their presence has serious implications for everybody not in cars. In the engaged city, cars exist on people's terms — and not the other way around.

Cyclism

Cyclism

The bicycle is a fantastic instrument. Effective city transportation with no air polution, no sound polution and very little risk to pedestrians. The bicycle must be prioritized in the engaged city of the 21st century.

Greenery

Greenery

The presence of greenery has profound effects on city dwellers — increasing both happiness and perceived safety. The engaged city incorporates greenery, and not just in separate park areas.

Variety + surprise

Variety + surprise

Grids and uniformity do not go well with human nature. In the engaged city, rational infrastructure is combined with variety in scale, shapes and sizes.

Love the local

Love the local

Each city should embrace its local characteristics — be it a particular building material or a way of planting trees. The engaged city has a clear identity.

365 days cities

365 days cities

The engaged city is a great place to live both summer and winter. Urban design should facilitate this through finding clever ways of weaving together the outdoors and the indoors, coolness and warmth.

Our design services

 

<div class="service-des-header">Urban design</div>Space design

Urban design
Space design

We design urban structures and spaces — or start out by supplying you with a catalogue of ideas for the future of a given space

<div class="service-des-header">Urban design</div>Strategic advice

Urban design
Strategic advice

Cyclism? Mixed-use? Connecting spaces? Small improvements? We will take a strategic look at your city and offer inspiration for future plans.

<div class="service-des-header">Urban design</div>Keynotes

Urban design
Keynotes

How to move your city in a direction that people will truly embrace? We offer keynotes and talks about designing structures and cities for people.

How we work with communications