At Vandkunsten Architects we design architecture for people. Our houses are designed for the ways that people live, work, play, and think. Housing, buildings, and cities must be at eye level and make room for communities.
Welcome to the housing lab
House in the harbour
The site is Teglværkshavnen in the Copenhagen Harbour. Large scale, large building volumes and large spaces between buildings. Qualities at the water’s edge are: the water! the reflections, the long views and the big skies. However, the entire district appears unstructured. It is wind-swept and dominated by large commercial headquarters. Our building complex is designed for this context. We attempt to establish a humanist medium scale among the commercial mastodons. A number of precisely defined building volumes with living units that are designed for living and fit into the large-scale surroundings.
Freetown Christiania is not for sale!
When the National Agency of Palaces and Properties invited selected architectural advisors to propose a development plan for Christiania, Vandkunsten Architects was encouraged by Christiania’s negotiating team to prepare a proposal titled ‘Christiania is not for sale!’. We viewed Freetown Christiania as a living lab for testing alternative ways of living and building and so refused meet the expectation of keeping the expansion within the specified area. Instead we proposed an alternative expansion plan as well as different scales and densities based on the unique landscape around the fortifications. This became a memorable process that put Christiania’s consensus democracy to the test and taught us that even obviously good plans with sustainable ambitions are not feasible if the recipient does not wish to be disturbed.
Transitions between archipelago and the city
Since 2000 the development of Oslo has followed the Fjord City masterplan for areas fjord waterfront. The Opera House was built according to this plan. In 2012 Vandkunsten Architects won the competition for two plots in the Bispevika area neighboring the Opera neighborhood. It is currently under construction. The new residential area is located on the waterfront in central Oslo. Contrasting the dense and high buildings behind it, we have used characteristics from natural archipelagos that is a series of spatial transitions – from the open sea to the calm inland waters – and to the little rock you climb with the feeling of being the very first.
Housing in solid wood
Timianhaven i Havdrup består af 44 almene rækkehuse opført i CLT. 6 blokke med 35 to-etagers boliger og to blokke med 9 boliger i en etage. Boligernes areal varierer fra 42m2 til 105m2. Desuden opføres et fælleshus på 125m2. Boligerne opføres i massive træelementer (CLT) og beklædes med teglskaller og lærketræ. Timianhaven (Thyme garden) in Havdrup is built in CLT, cross laminated timber. The 44 units range between 42m2 and 105m2, and between one and two storeys. The residents of the non-profit project has a community house as well.
New homes in the old torpedo boat workshop
The MTB hall was built in 1954 as a place for repairing and maintaining boats for the Danish Navy, especially motor torpedo boats. The architecture reflects the prevailing enthusiasm at the time for large structures in reinforced concrete and steel with a main space of 32 x 160 x 15 metres. When the Danish Navy abandoned Holmen, an islet in Copenhagen Harbour, in the 1990s, the area was selected for urban development. The building tycoon Kurt Thorsen saw the potential for converting the huge empty concrete structure into a residential complex and approached Vandkunsten Architects. We preserved the rough construction elements and designed homes around a large street that is open to the sky, close to the city and directly on the waterfront.