What makes housing in Copenhagen diverse?\

Each year all our staff are invited to go on a research trip; themed to a sector or service we offer. In 2015 one group visited Copenhagen to take a closer look at housing...

Copenhagen is Filled with Water

The manner in which buildings relate to the urban waterways in Copenhagen has become more exclusive to domestic properties. Urban housing blocks usually sit back from the water's edge, allowing public permeability, but recent developments such as Slushenholmen create a direct relationship with the water. Step out into your back garden and you might get wet!

Refurbishment and Unique Shared Spaces

The creative re-appropriation of industrial buildings into housing in Copenhagen is seen on a number of schemes. Typically, the original industrial forms establish whether housing layouts and gauge are feasible, but the scope for radical re-imagining exists because the depth and scale of the industrial buildings is not perfectly aligned to housing. As such, interesting shared spaces emerge which might, on a new build, not exist due to efficiencies.


Interesting spaces at Gemini residences

Alternative Communities

Christiania is a self-proclaimed autonomous neighbourhood on an old army Barracks near the centre of Copenhagen. The Christiania residents lead a radically alternative lifestyle to most city dwellers and as a result ignore the usual zoning, building regulation and economic restrictions that govern the development surrounding this area. Ultimately this has led to some fantastically interesting self-build homes that would not have otherwise been constructed in Denmark.

Christiania self-built homes

Frogs and Bricks

Bricks are readily used as the base material for many residential projects in central Copenhagen. The decorative potential of brick is used to introduce texture, pattern and detail to elevations. Using a combination of techniques and a variety of standard and bespoke bricks this robust material is showcased and celebrated from the expressed window reveals in Dronningegården to the exposed frogs of Krøyers Plads.

Utilise Spare Capacity

Copenhagen is a low rise city. Building at height is taboo. However, expansion to the south of the city is viable, and has recently been overhauled by BIG. VM Houses and the Mountain which flank Amagerfælled Nature Reserve, are linked to the city directly by a cycle super highway. There is further potential at Kalvebod Fælled, a reclaimed seabed and post-war military base where 8Tallet is located. Urban planning and strict regulations have maintained a comfortable density in Copenhagen.

The Mountain by BIG

Expansion possibilities at Kalvebod Fælled

8Tallet by BIG

Did you also know?

Several years ago the Bjarke Ingels Group (BIG) proposed a new high density housing, retail, office and hotel model in Copenhagen named ‘Lego Towers’. Their physical model is composed of lego blocks and Bjarke claims that 'Lego proportions are the golden ratio of architecture.' This proposal was a precursor to BIG’s Lego Visitor Centre in Billund which is currently under construction.

“Lego proportions are the golden ratio of architecture”

Lego Towers proposal courtesy of BIG

Lego Towers proposal courtesy of BIG

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