Kastrup Sea Bath, Copenhagen, Denmark

Source Mads Farsö.


White arkitekter AB

Type of Area

Outdoor public swimming pool or lido

Land/water interaction

Sandy beach

Built Environment Types

Moderately built
Moderate green

Scale of Impact

District/ neighbourhood

Intervention Scale (Spatial)

Single object

Project Types

Urban design
Seafront development

Urban/ Rural

Sub-urban area

Visibility and Openness

Fully open
Full horizon

The Snail in the Sea

This structure which provides sheltered access to the sea at Kastrup beach, Copenhagen, was completed in 2005 to designs of White Arketekter of Sweden. It has become affectionately known as ‘The Snail’ and consists of a circular raised enclosed platform and a pier leading out to it, a new beach and a service building containing toilets and accessible changing facilities set into the circular structure.

All functions provided are therefore incorporated into the one structure. The idea of the form was a response to the exposed north-facing beach where shelter is needed; the wooden pier meets the bathing structure and continues into the south-facing circular enclosure, gradually rising above sea level and ending in a 5m high diving platform. The circular shape creates a focused interior that provides shelter from the wind and the perfect protected retreat for swimming and sunbathing.

A continuous bench runs along the inner pier wall, providing lots of seating for resting and relaxation. It was designed to be fully accessible and inclusive, open at all times (it is illuminated at night and free of charge. It is constructed of an extremely durable African hardwood called azobé. For disabled users it is possible to make use of special wheelchairs to go into the water for a swim. The site was a former brownfield and lies close to the Amager beach park described elsewhere on this site (link). 

The main approach to the design of this intervention was to “bring the land into the sea”, and the intervention does this by providing access to deeper water away from shallow beaches. It therefore enables many ways to enjoy water in a controlled and overlooked site and at the same time creating an environment fully surrounded by the sea.

Good Accessibilty to the “Snail”

Source Mads Farsö.

Perception and Meaning

Place identity

Health and Wellbeing

Place affordance
Increases physical activities

Sense of being away

Interaction with Water

Tactile: Fully in water