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.