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.
Nature moves in
Village with an ambition for growth
The town of Årslev/Sdr.Nærå of 3.700 citizens is experiencing a remarkable 20 percent growth in the last decade, which is uncommon for rural Danish towns. The town has a strong community and it is surrounded by nature. The ambition is clear for the town and it wants to attract another 1.200 residents or 10 percent before 2030. This is the reason why the municipality of Faaborg-Midtfyn launched two competitions in 2018. Vandkunsten won one of them with a clear concept for developing a town and creating an identity, which balances between urbanity and nature. Embracing the open landscape, the main idea is to let the town grow in urban islands in surrounded by nature. This is possible because the density of the neighborhood clusters is high. The major benefit is the direct access to nature by basically all units. Inspired by the masterplan laytout of the numerous manors in the region, each cluster will be developed with urban typologies such as a local square and passageways. Each cluster has its architectural identity from the local landscape, such as the Hill, the Stream, and the Woods.
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.
Living together in modern co-housing
A start-up approached Vandkunsten Architects with a vision to create a series of modern co-housing villages with plenty of shared facilities, and community feeling. Vandkunsten has developed a comprehensive building system and a series of site-specific master plans for the client. The cohousing concept offers endless variations on a theme and the different spatial-unit designs are used as an architectural tool for providing variation in the village and flexibility for its inhabitants. The formal design creates a separate identity and adds new spatial qualities to the houses. The buildings themselves and life within them promote a special concept for the community. Eco-Villages are currently under development in Lejre, Albertslund and Ørestad. The Eco-Village concept consists of small, compact living units with small front gardens – put together as row houses on a shared lot. The architectural concept is realized through the usage of affordable box modules A generous influx of light is ensured by the building depth of no more than 7.5 metres. Extra rooms can be added to this basic module and be combined to form a variety of layouts to satisfy different needs: from the tiny micro-unit – intended as student digs, single-parent homes, or senior residences – to the largest unit of 125m2, with enough space for several play rooms and nurseries. 12% of the built floor space is shared, in the form of a large community house and several smaller facilities distributed across the development. These can be used as music rooms and workshops, teenage dens and tool sheds
Local community built in wood
Built in wood, the 100 units in Fjordparken were part of the experimental Casa Nova Consortium to develop processes and prefabrication for wood-based construction. With offset units, they all have corner qualities and great views to the fjord. The project has gallery access held by solid wood and shielded by a large roof overhang. The project was built by in 2002 for a non-profit and a private cohousing client, Himmerland Boligforening and Andelsforeningen Marina Fjordparken. The latter was formed for the occasion has proven its community strength over time as it was named best cohousing 2019 by the Danish cohousing associtation.
Low-rise, high-density architecture in Swedish
On the Kattegat coast, just north of the Swedish city of Helsingborg, lies the idyllic town of Viken. An old fishing hamlet, not dissimilar to Skovshoved or Dragør in Denmark, places rich in local pride that attract visitors from near and far, who come here to experience the idyllic village atmosphere. Here, on a former school plot in the centre of town, Vandkunsten was commissioned to design a modern housing development with respect for the traditional setting. Around the turn of the millennium, Vandkunsten had been working mainly with low-rise, high-density architecture in non-profit housing. At Viken, we had the opportunity to translate these basic principles into a private project commissioned by an ambitious client, the co-op housing association HSB Västra Skåne. The development consists of 58 homes. Traditional, simple types that could be sited just about anywhere. But right here, in this idyllic setting, they come into their own, with their uniform and coherent expression. The high density encourages interaction and meetings in the narrow alleys and passageways. Classic Vandkunsten dogmas, but also virtues that have been practised in the hamlet since the 17th century.