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Refshaleøen is one of the most industrial neighborhoods in all of Scandanavia, a result of the ongoing co-evolution of Power and Industry. The shipbuilding industry has been a contributor to Copenhagen economic production for many centuries. With the advent of the steam age, shipbuilders working in steel increasingly sought further outlaying districts from the city center. Refshaleøen provided a vast area of land at the urban periphery that allowed for a scale that was no longer urban. The scale of modern ships is beyond the scale of the human. Shipbuilding also demanded vast quantities of power. Steel had to be re-rolled and re-shaped. Denmark’s largest shipbuilder (and largest corporation) Burmeister og Wain established their workshop here in 1872. The land was shaped into edges set against the water. This was what the launching of ships demanded. The shaping of the terrain at Refshaleøen is really the shaping of a relationship between land and water. In a land of omnipresent water, the void below sea level is filled by potential: potential energies as much as potential disasters. The line of windmills that extends from Refshaleøen out into the waters of the Oresund is part of a network that now supplies 16% of the Danish power grid with energy derived from wind-driven generators. Though Burmeister og Wain continues as a manufacturer of marine engines through their combined entity Man B&W Diesel, the shipyard at Refshaleøen has been shuttered since 1993. Formerly the largest shipyard in all of Denmark, the Burmeister og Wain structures at Refshaleøen now house Scandanavia’s largest indoor golf range.

--rick miller