Blog post

A neighbourhood with space for water - Architects use terrain-based surface water measures to create a scenic neighbourhood

Feb 8, 2022

by Sara Lerer,

At the development site Hulemarken in Ringsted, Denmark, Vandkunsten Architects used SCALGO Live to shape the landscape in a way that helps incorporate sustainable and recreational surface water management from the start of the project.

Figure 1: Hulemarken, as the empty field is is right now with just a few a farm houses. The terrain is slanting towards the south and east, where water gathers in natural depressions.

Thomas Nybo Rasmussen, partner at Vandkunsten, says:

“Water plays a vital role in the project as the goal is to build a new neighbourhood that is based on the existing landscape. Therefore, it was important for our creativity to get an understanding of how surface water moves and interacts with the terrain.”

Vandkunsten used SCALGO Live to study natural flow paths and depressions on the site (Fig. 1), which they could then use as a starting point when designing a new residential area that can manage different rains.

“We wanted to make surface water a resource and make it a natural part of the landscape and the neighbourhood. With terrain editing and volume calculations we were able to shape basins and wet ponds into one functioning cohesion, that improves biodiversity and quality of life,” says Thomas Nybo Rasmussen.

"SCALGO Live gave us the possibility to try out different project ideas and validate design concepts early in the project, which made us less dependent on engineering consultants along the way."

Figure 2: The first sketch to be used in local planning. There is now a row of wet ponds in the south part of the area as well as ditches along the roads and behind the houses.

Thomas Nybo Rasmussen continues: “Contour editing has been a big asset in the design process. It's always a back-and-forth situation. SCALGO Live interacts well with other design tools, and we can import and export to make the workflow a lot easier,” he adds.

Figure 3: The final plan for the area complete with houses and recreational areas.

Vandkunsten used SCALGO Live, not only to design for managing smaller rain events (up to 5-year return periods), but also to map how the area will cope with extreme rain (50- and 100-year return periods). Here, visualizations in SCALGO Live provided an easy and fast way to communicate results to project participants and other stakeholders.

“Architects are used to account for factors such as accessibility, lighting, and sound at the start of a project. In Hulemarken, surface water is just as important. And that will most likely be the case in all projects in the future.”

Want to learn more about how SCALGO Live can help you plan and design when working city planning? Contact Sara at or +45 88 77 26 59