Rabalder Park, Denmark

Rabalder Park, Denmark

When is a playground not just a playground?  When it can hold up to 23,000 cubic meters of rainwater! Designed by Danish landscape architects Nordarch, Rabalder Park fulfills a dual purpose as both a playground and a rainwater harvesting system.  More after the jump.

The park is located on the site of a former concrete factory in the Musicon area of Roskilde in Denmark. It combines all the usual amenities of a park – fitness equipment, bike and jogging paths, parkour equipment, trampolines, a performance stage, areas for hanging out and barbecuing – with a water canal and a huge concrete skate bowl that doubles as a floodwater retention pool. 

The entire development is fully integrated into the surrounding natural water system, allowing the park to alleviate flooding of nearby areas by diverting and holding the rainwater that would otherwise be pouring through roads and into people’s homes. 

The park forms part of a much larger regeneration scheme for this former industrial area of Roskilde. Musicon is intended to become a creative, vibrant and experimental part of the city, providing housing, office space, educational facilities, an indoor skatepark, studios for artists, a folk school and a museum of rock music.

Rabalder Park was recently nominated as a finalist in this year’s Index: Awards. The park also won the Danish Town Planning Prize in 2012. 

How else can PLAY be integrated within your city? The PLAYscapes design competition – hosted by Building Trust International – aims to explore such questions and others. Read more about the competition and how you can enter, here.

Tell us what you think!  Leave a comment below…

All images courtesy of Nordarch.

Published in Blog



  2. Interesting dual use.  Wondering:

    1. Is there some type of “filter” before the canal / skate area that collects debris, silt, etc before it enters the skate bowl / holding pond? How much clean up is needed following a rain event?

    2. How long is the water retained in the skate bowl and how does it drain out?

  3. Hi Barbara, here’s what the designer says in response to your questions:

    1. The water is only from the adjacent streets and roofs, so the water is not that dirty. There’s a sort of filter (about an inch betwen the bars) in a small tunnel before the water enters the skate-able part of the canals.

    The skateable handicap ramps are also shaped to fit the sweeping machines, that comes down and cleans.

    The canals are not dirty after a bit of rain – Only if it rains a lot.

    There’s also free brooms for the skaters to use and since skaters hate pebbles etc. they are fairly good at cleaning.

    2. The skate bowl is only estimated to be filled with water every ten years in case of a super heavy rain fall. So it is basically a “worst case scenario” precaution. If that happens it will empty back into basin 2 via a drainage hole at the bottom of the bowl after a couple of days.

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