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BIG completes curvy affordable housing for low-income families in Copenhagen

Denmark Architecture News - Oct 9, 2018 - 05:35   9336 views

BIG completes curvy affordable housing for low-income families in Copenhagen

Bjarke Ingels' firm BIG has completed a new affordable housing in the northwestern part of Copenhagen, creating "generous" public spaces, large interior spaces, and high ceiling in the interior of the building. The 5-story building is situated in the area characterized by car repair shops, storage and industrial buildings from the 1930s–50s. 

BIG completes curvy affordable housing for low-income families in Copenhagen

Named Dortheavej Residence, the new housing fulfills the commitment of BIG for "Homes for All". Commissioned by by Danish non-profit affordable housing association Lejerbo in 2013, the project brief for BIG was to create "much needed affordable housing and public space in the area", while keeping the pedestrian passageways open and the adjacent green yard untouched. 

The building includes 66 new homes for low-income families, featuring unprecedented 3,5 meter ceilings, generous floor-to-celing windows and outdoor terraces, realized on a strict budget. 

BIG completes curvy affordable housing for low-income families in Copenhagen

The characteristic of the building draws upon a checkered pattern of Dortheavej is based on a singular prefab structure. BIG's building is 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 the north. 

BIG completes curvy affordable housing for low-income families in Copenhagen

On the street level, the building is opened up to the street and allows the residents and general public to pass seamlessly into the courtyard. 

BIG completes curvy affordable housing for low-income families in Copenhagen

"Affordable housing is an architectural challenge due to the necessary budget restrictions. We have attempted to mobilize modular construction with modest materials to create generous living spaces at the urban as well as the residential scale," said Bjarke Ingels, Founding Partner, BIG. 

"The prefabricated elements are stacked in a way that allows every second module an extra meter of room height, making the kitchen-living areas unusually spacious." 

BIG completes curvy affordable housing for low-income families in Copenhagen

"By gently adjusting the modules, the living areas open more towards the courtyard while curving the linear block away from the street to expand the sidewalk into a public square. Economical constraints often lead to scarcity—at Dortheavej, we have managed to create added value for the individual as well as the community," Ingels added.

BIG completes curvy affordable housing for low-income families in Copenhagen

On the exterior and interior, the housing modules repeat along the curve and are stacked to the height of the surrounding buildings. The stacking creates additional space for each apartment to have a small terrace, providing a setting for healthy, sustainable living. 

BIG completes curvy affordable housing for low-income families in Copenhagen

On the sunny south side, balconies retract and add depth to the façade while on the northern side, the facade is even. Long wooden planks cover the façade on all sides, highlighting the modules and alternating to accentuate the checkered pattern.

BIG completes curvy affordable housing for low-income families in Copenhagen

BIG completes curvy affordable housing for low-income families in Copenhagen

Large floor-to-ceiling windows in the apartments allow lots of daylight into the units and outside views to the green courtyard or the surrounding neighborhood. The size of the apartments ranges from 60-115m2 and the materials are all kept very simple with wood and concrete in light colors dominating inside and out.

BIG completes curvy affordable housing for low-income families in Copenhagen

The north facing façade looks towards an enclosed green courtyard which residents of Dortheavej and the neighboring buildings can use for recreational activities.

BIG completes curvy affordable housing for low-income families in Copenhagen

"Our ambition was to create affordable apartments by the world’s leading architects. Together with BIG, we have succeeded in creating sustainable, safe and functional homes that see eye to eye with the people who live in them," said Jan Hyttel, President, Lejerbo Copenhagen.

BIG completes curvy affordable housing for low-income families in Copenhagen

BIG completes curvy affordable housing for low-income families in Copenhagen

BIG completes curvy affordable housing for low-income families in Copenhagen

BIG completes curvy affordable housing for low-income families in Copenhagen

BIG completes curvy affordable housing for low-income families in Copenhagen

BIG completes curvy affordable housing for low-income families in Copenhagen

Project facts

Architects: Bjarke Ingels Group

Location: Copenhagen, Denmark

Partners in charge: Bjarke Ingels, Finn Nørkjær

Project managers: Ole Elkjær-Larsen, Per Bo Madsen

Area: 6800.0 m2

Project year: 2018

All images © Rasmus Hjortshoj 

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