BIG completes affordable housing with chequerboard facade in Copenhagen

Prefabricated wooden boxes are stacked to create 66 low-cost apartments in this housing scheme by Bjarke Ingels Group.

BIG completes affordable housing with chequerboard facade in Copenhagen

The modules are stacked five high and arranged to form a gently curving footprint that spans one side of a courtyard in the city’s Dortheavej neighbourhood. Alternate blocks are recessed to provide every home with its own south-facing terrace, accessed via glass doors that span the full 3.5 metre height of each segment of the facade. 

Bjarke Ingels’ Danish firm was asked to design the Dortheavej Residence for the Danish non-profit housing association Lejerbo, as part of a plan developed by urban designer Jan Gehl for the area in the northwest of the city.    

One of the key requirements was that the site remain permeable, to allow people to walk through the building to a public space in the centre. To achieve this, BIG introduced three wooden frames at the point where structure bows to provide passageways through the base of the block. 

The passages, which are lined in timber and warm-toned lighting, are aligned with an opening at the other side of the courtyard to create a clear route through the site. 

“Conceived as a porous wall, the building gently curves in the center, creating space for a public plaza towards the street on the south side and an intimate green courtyard towards north,” said the architects. 

Bjarke Ingels Group, Dortheavej Residence, Copenhagen, Denmark, 2018
Bjarke Ingels Group, Dortheavej Residence, Copenhagen, Denmark, 2018

Inside the timber-covered boxes, apartments ranging from 60-115 sqm are well illuminated by the glazed street-facing facade, but afforded privacy by more opaque walls facing the recreational space. 

The spaces are finished simply, with wooden floors, white walls and fittings, and exposed concrete ceilings. 

Project name:
Dortheavej Residence
Copenhagen, Denmark
Architect :
Bjarke Ingels Group
Partners in charge:
Bjarke Ingels, Finn Nørkjær
Project managers:
Ole Elkjær-Larsen, Per Bo Madsen
Alberte Danvig, Alejandro Mata Gonzales, Alina Tamosiunaite, Birgitte Villadsen, Cat Huang, Claudio Moretti, Dag Præstegaard, Daruisz Duong Vu Hong, David Zahle, Enea Michelesio, Esben Christoffersen, Ewelina Moszczynska, Frederik Lyng, Henrik Kania, Høgni Laksáfoss, Jakob Andreassen, Jonas Aarsø Larsen, Karl Aarso Larsen, Katerina Joannides, Krista Meskanen, Laura Wätte, Lucas Torres Aguero, Maciej Jakub Zawaszki, Maria Teresa Fernandez Rojo, Michael Schønemann Jensen, Mikkel Marcker Stubgaard, Nigel Jooren, Rasmus Pedersen, Robinson Neuville, Sergiu Calacean, Taylor McNally-Anderson, Terrence Chew, Tobias Hjortdal, Tobias Vallø Sørensen

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